Stage 2 – Estrus
Estrus is the fertile stage when ovulation occurs. Breeders use testing to identify this stage and to be able to mate the breeding dogs in time. This stage usually lasts about five to nine days* (but that can vary!).
The female’s hormone levels change, during ovulation a number of eggs will be released from her ovaries and she will become available for fertilization. The female may now become more receptive to a male’s attempts to breed her. During the Estrus bloody discharges often change color to a light pinkish tone and can even stop.
Stopped bleeding therefore is no reliable sign that the dog is no longer fertile, because bleeding varies a lot among individuals.
Please note: If you have noticed the typical signs of heat in your dog as well as bleeding, once the bleeding stops that does NOT necessarily mean that your dog is NOT fertile any longer. In fact she could be in the middle of her Estrus stage and be most fertile. Therefore if your dog has bled and you notice the bleeding stopped: Wait at least 2 weeks after bleeding has ceased completely, before you allow your dog to meet males again.
Also you should keep a close eye on all of the other signs, as they are usually more reliable than the bleeding.
BTF: “Steve, how can owners avoid accidental pregnancies with their pets?“
Steve Gogulski: “The reason many people end up with an “accidental” breeding resulting in pregnancy is because so many people have no clue that when a female stops bleeding she is often at peak estrus and the most fertile. This is often when uneducated owners let their guard down and refrain from supervised watch over their female. A male can smell a dog in heat from 3 miles away and a seasoned stud can tell exactly when a female is ovulating. If the estrus levels are high enough a male will climb walls, dig and escape from a yard, or jump and even break through fences in order to get at a female to breed.”
How long are female dogs in heat?
BTF: “Steve, another very interesting question about the heat cycle in dogs surely is ‘How long will my female be in heat?’
Steve Gogulski: “This is another time frame that varies with each female with each phase of their estrus cycle. (As breeders) we conduct ovulation tests daily on every female in heat that we have scheduled to breed and are shocked by the variances from one female to the next. Some will actually only be in ovulation for 3 days which makes timing critical for breeding while other females remain in ovulation for 10 days with high estrus levels. The same goes for the Proestrus stage phase which never has a set amount of days. This is why it is so very difficult to provide people with a solid answer on time lines for any female. Many people will explain to others that a dog’s heat cycle is only for a week or two because they are only thinking about Peak Phases while others will answer the question in medical terms of an entire estrus cycle.”