As a responsible Labradoodle owner, you need to have a complete understanding of their Labradoodle heat cycle and keep track of its schedule as this will help you prepare accordingly to provide the best care for your dog during this period and prevent any unwanted pregnancies.
So, keep reading to learn more about the different stages and timeline of a Labradoodle’s heat cycle, how to tell when your Labradoodle is going into heat, and how to take care of your Labradoodle.
When Do Labradoodles Go into Heat?
The first time Labradoodles start their heat cycle is when they reach puberty which is usually when they’re about 9 months of age. However, in some cases, they might start when they’re at 12 to 15 months of age.
They will normally go into heat twice a year, once at the start of spring then once again in the fall. The period leading up to the heat can last from 5 to 14 days, meanwhile, the period of the heat itself can last from 14 to 21 days.
The heat cycle of any dog breed includes multiple stages. Its exact timeline and any effects it has on the dog will vary depending on the dog’s age and health.
How to Tell When Your Labradoodle Is Going into Heat?
It’s usually easy to tell when your Labradoodle is going into heat as it will start to exhibit certain physical and behavioral changes that are hard to go unnoticed as long as you know what signs you need to be on the lookout for.
So, let’s take a look at the common signs that your Labradoodle is going into heat:
- The dog will be urinating more often than normal and it might have more accidents inside the house even if it was potty-trained.
- The dog will start raising its leg in an unusual position when it’s urinating or when it notices male dogs nearby.
- The dog will be licking its genital area more often than normal to relieve any uncomfortable feeling there and to keep itself clean for its mate.
- The dog will start paying more attention to nearby male dogs and release pheromones to attract them.
- The dog’s vulva will start swelling gradually until it becomes 3 to 4 times larger than its normal size.
- The dog will start releasing vaginal discharge and blood. Its amount, consistency, color, and duration will vary depending on the stage of the heat cycle as well as the dog’s age and health.
- The dog will exhibit unusual mounting behavior as it will try to mount other dogs or let other dogs mount it. It might also try to mount different objects or even your legs.
- The dog will exhibit some nesting behaviors which include pawing at its bed and blankets, burrowing into small spaces, and digging holes in the ground for its potential puppies. It will also take some of its favorite toys to its nesting area to rest with them.
- The dog will experience severe mood swings. At times, it will act affectionate and overly clingy, and at other times, it will act distant and anxious which might escalate into aggression.
- The dog will often experience a lack of energy and it will have a higher appetite than usual in order to maintain its energy level.
The Different Stages and Timeline of a Labradoodle’s Heat Cycle
The timeline of a Labradoodle’s heat cycle includes four main stages which are Proestrus, Estrus, Diestrus, and Anestrus.
Each one of these stages will last a certain period of time during which the dog goes through various physical and behavioral changes.
So, let’s take a closer look at the timeline of the different stages of the Labradoodle’s heat cycle along with the changes the dog will go through during each stage:
The Proestrus Stage
The first stage is called proestrus and it tends to last from 5 to 14 days.
At this stage, the dog will start to go through various changes in preparation for mating such as:
- The dog will start releasing pheromones which will attract the attention of nearby dogs.
- The dog’s vulva will gradually swell and the extent of the swelling might vary from one dog to another, but it will typically reach 3 to 4 times its normal size.
- The dog will try to guard its vulva from the nearby male dogs by tucking its tail between its legs or sitting down whenever a male dog approaches it.
- The dog will start releasing vaginal discharge and blood. It will be light during the first 2 to 3 days, then it will get heavier by the end of the week.
- The dog will experience some mood swings. At times, it will be affectionate and clingy, while at other times, it will be distant or even aggressive.
The Estrus Stage
The second stage is called estrus and it tends to last from 14 to 21 days.
At this stage, the dog will be highly fertile and most willing to mate. That’s why this stage is also known as the actual heat stage.
It will start to go through more changes in preparation for mating such as:
- The dog will start to welcome the approach of nearby male dogs and indicate its interest in mating by untucking its tail from between its legs and turning its rear-end toward the approaching male dog while flagging its tail.
- The dog’s vulva will start to soften until it’s a small enough size to make penetration easier, but it will not return to its normal size yet.
- The dog’s vaginal discharge and blood will change color from a bright red to a lighter pink.
The Diestrus Stage
The third stage is called diestrus and it tends to last from 60 to 90 days. However, in case the dog gets pregnant, it will last from the end of the previous stage until the dog gives birth to its puppies.
At this stage, the dog will not be fertile and it will have no willingness to mate.
It will still go through some changes such as:
- The dog’s vulva will start softening gradually, but it will still not return to its normal size.
- The dog’s vaginal discharge and blood will change color from light pink back to red. It will also start decreasing gradually until it completely stops.
- It will not welcome the approach of nearby male dogs and it will stop turning its rear or flagging its tail.
The Anestrus Stage
The fourth stage is called anestrus and tends to last from 100 to 150 days which makes it the longest of all the stages. Once this stage is over, the dog’s heat cycle starts will start over again
At this stage, the dog’s body will return back to its normal state until the next cycle begins. That’s why this stage is also known as the resting stage.
Here is a simple infographics that explains the Labradoodle heat cycle timeline simply:
By the way, I have another guide on the Goldendoodle heat cycle here that you should check out if you have a Goldendoodle as well.
How to Tell When Your Labradoodle Is Out of Heat?
As mentioned before, Labradoodles go through various physical and behavioral changes when they’re in heat.
So, the most effective way to tell when your Labradoodle is out of heat is to monitor all the changes it goes through until they stop and the dog’s body goes back to its normal state.
For example, the dog will stop exhibiting unusual mounting and nesting behaviors or showing interest in mating. Its vulva will also soften until it returns to its normal size and it will stop releasing pheromones, vaginal discharge, and blood.
How to Take Care of Your Labradoodle When It’s in Heat?
Labradoodles need to be properly taken care of when they’re in heat so they can cope with the changes they’re going through in a safe and healthy manner.
So, here are some useful tips you can follow take care of your Labradoodle when it’s in heat:
- Never leave your Labradoodle alone when it’s in heat, especially when it’s outdoors. You need to protect it from nearby male dogs to prevent any unwanted pregnancies.
- Make sure to keep your Labradoodle on a leash if you’re taking it on a walk when it’s in heat and avoid taking walks in areas where it’s likely to meet other male dogs.
- Try to mask the scent caused by the pheromones by rubbing some methanol on your Labradoodle’s tail to make it less attractive and harder to detect by nearby male dogs.
- Try to be attentive to your Labradoodle’s mood and act according to its needs. If your dog is acting clingy and affectionate, make sure to spend time with it to return its affection. If your dog is acting distant or anxious, make sure to give it some space alone until it reaches out to you.
- Try to keep your Labradoodle’s environment as relaxing and comfortable as possible. Make sure your dog has a warm and quiet area where it can sleep and rest, and also try to keep its favorite toys near to help it relax even more.
- Make sure to take your Labradoodle out for potty breaks whenever it needs and avoid punishing it too harshly if it has an accident inside the house as it’s beyond the dog’s control and harsh punishment will stress out even more.
- Make sure to improve your Labradoodle’s diet as it needs to include enough calories to satisfy the dog’s increasing appetite and help it maintain its energy levels. It also needs to include the nutrients needed to remain healthy.
- Make sure to modify your Labradoodle’s exercise routine according to energy levels. Try not to overexert your dog with any intense physical activities and give it breaks whenever it’s needed.
- Put your Labradoodle in a heat diaper, which is similar to a normal baby diaper but with a hole in the back for the dog’s tail to fit through, to absorb any vaginal discharge or blood released during the heat.
- Make sure to monitor all changes that your Labradoodle will go through while making note of the dates in order to keep track of the exact timeline of your dog’s heat cycle as this will help you know what to expect as well as prevent any unwanted pregnancies.
- Make sure to take Labradoodle to a veterinarian for general check-ups or if any unexpected physical or behavioral changes occur when the dog is in heat.
When Can You Breed Your Labradoodle?
Labradoodles start going through their heat cycles when they’re about 9 months of age.
According to experts, it’s recommended to start breeding your Labradoodle after it has gone through at least 3 heat cycles or when it’s around 2 years of age.
If you start breeding your dog when it’s too young, you will be putting at various health risks that come with pregnancy.
Should You Breed Your Labradoodles?
Breeding your Labradoodle might not always be the best option. That is because pregnancy has a big effect on the dog’s physical and mental health.
So, it’s recommended not to breed your Labradoodle if you do not have enough experience or without some professional help.
You need to make sure that you will be able to provide your dog with the best care possible during pregnancy so that it will remain healthy and deliver its puppies safely.
How to Prevent Your Labradoodle from Getting Pregnant When It’s in Heat?
If you are not planning on breeding your Labradoodle, you need to take some measures to prevent it from getting pregnant when it’s in heat.
The quickest and most effective method to prevent pregnancy in dogs is spaying, which is a surgical procedure that involves removing the dog’s reproductive organs including its ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus to permanently stop from going into heat.
However, you need to keep in mind that the spaying procedure is irreversible, so you really need to be set on your decision. To help you make this decision, I have a guide on whether you should spay your Labradoodle here, so make sure to check it out as it can help you greatly.
Another method to prevent pregnancy in dogs without spaying is to keep it away from male dogs during the heat period by any means.
To do that you need to keep it on a leash when it’s outside and avoid taking it on walks in areas where there are male dogs.
You also need to separate your dog from any other male dogs you might have at home. It’s recommended to have them stay somewhere else until the heat period is over or install a secure barrier between them inside the house like a door or a doggie gate.
If your dog accidentally mates when it’s in heat, make sure to take it to a veterinarian immediately so it can receive an injection that will prevent it from getting pregnant or terminate a pregnancy if it has already occurred.
Should You Spay Your Labradoodle?
As mentioned before, spaying is a surgical procedure that involves removing the dog’s reproductive organs.
You should spay your Labradoodle if you want to permanently prevent it from going into heat and getting pregnant.
Spaying will also help reduce the risk of various health issues that come with pregnancy as well as prevent your dog from developing any behavioral issues that come from its breeding instinct.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of Spaying Your Labradoodle?
Spaying is a very complicated and life-changing procedure for your dog, so it should only be done after consulting with a veterinarian.
You need to make sure you clearly understand both the benefits and risks of spaying your dog to ensure that the procedure will actually improve its quality of life.
The main benefits of spaying your Labradoodle is preventing it from going into heat and preventing pregnancy which is highly convenient for many reasons including:
- You can go out in public with your dog without having to worry about it running away or attracting nearby male dogs who want to mate with it.
- You will not have to deal with the dog releasing any vaginal discharge or blood that will stain your furniture.
- You will not have to worry about putting your dog at risk of any health problems related to its reproductive organs and pregnancy such as uterine infections or breast tumors.
On the other hand, there are still some risks to spaying your Labradoodle such as putting the dog at risk of developing other health problems including mast cell tumors, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament rupture, and various orthopedic issues.
Most vets recommend that you do spay or neuter your dogs if you are not going to be breeding them and allowing them to mate. The benefits of spaying or neutering your dog far outweigh the risks, and studies have consistently proven that neutered dogs live longer, happier, healthier lives than their intact counterparts.
When Is It Best to Spay Your Labradoodle?
According to various veterinarians and experts, it’s considered best to spay your Labradoodle when it’s at 1 to 2 years of age as it will be old enough to handle the procedure or be put under anesthesia.
However, there are many others who believe it’s best to spay the dog when it’s at about 8 months of age or younger before it goes through its first heat cycle.
When considering the best time to spay your dog, you need to keep in mind that performing the procedure when the dog is too young will put it at risk of developing various health problems.
Meanwhile, waiting too long after the dog has hit puppetry to perform the procedure will put it at risk of getting pregnant during the heat period.
Can You Spay Your Labradoodle When It’s in Heat?
You can spay your Labradoodle when it’s in heat even though most owners assume that once the dog is in heat, you have to wait until the cycle is over.
However, keep in mind that spaying the dog while it’s still in heat will put it at risk of some serious complications during the procedure due to the increased blood flow in the dog’s reproductive organs at that time.
How Long After Heat Can You Spay Your Labradoodle?
It’s generally recommended to wait at least 2 or 3 months after heat to spay your Labradoodle
Some owners might want to spay their dogs while it’s still in heat or immediately after the heat period is over, however, this will put the dog at risk of some serious complications during the procedure due to the increased blood flow in the dog’s reproductive organs at that time.
How Much Does Spaying a Labradoodle Costs?
Spaying a Labradoodle costs from $50 to $500 on average.
The exact cost will depend on the dog’s age and size as older, larger dogs usually require more anesthesia therefore they cost more to spay.
It will also depend on where the dog will be undergoing the procedure as reputable veterinarians and high-end clinics use more advanced equipment therefore they will cost more.
How to Tell When Your Labradoodle Is Pregnant?
To tell when your Labradoodle is pregnant, you need to look out for physical and behavioral changes like nipples swelling and getting darker, excessive nausea and vomiting, severe lack of energy, increased appetite, and mood swings. Most of these changes won’t happen until the dog is 40 days pregnant.
How Many Puppies Can Labradoodles Give Birth to?
Labradoodles can give birth to 5 to 10 puppies in one litter. When the dog is at week 5 of pregnancy, you can take it to a veterinarian to get an ultrasound scan so you can determine the exact number of puppies it will give birth to. The size of the litter depends on the dog’s size, age, and fertility level.
How Long Are Labradoodles Pregnant for?
Labradoodle are pregnant for 58 to 68 days from the day of conceiving, however, it’s very common for them to deliver on day 63. Make sure to keep track of your dog’s pregnancy schedule and look out for any signs that it’s going into labor such as a rapid drop in body temperature, restless pacing, and nesting.
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- Find my list of recommendations here.
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