Dogs are our best friends. And just like human best friends, dogs also share a lot in common with us. While there are a lot of common biological things, they need to be handled a little differently. All the rules that apply on humans, don’t necessarily apply on dogs as well. Both women and female dogs have a menstrual cycle. However, even though there are some biological similarities, there are differences as well. These differences must always be accounted for. Knowing when female dogs will age also helps to understand whether changes occurring in female dogs are normal or due to an illness. However, one must not jump into conclusions and just link menopause with a dog’s age, just like we do with women. Let’s find out more about it.
Do Dogs Have Menopause?
What is the Estrous Cycle in dogs?
Basically, dogs do not go through menopause like women do. In other words, the condition called menopause, which occurs with the end of the production of some hormones in women, does not occur in dogs. The hormones that cause menopause are estrogen and progesterone. In women, the absence of a menstrual cycle for 1 year is considered menopause, and pregnancy does not occur after menopause. In dogs, the situation is handled completely differently.
Female dogs have a cycle just like humans do. The so-called estrous cycle in dogs occurs every 6 to 9 months, depending on the dog’s age, breed, and health. Unneutered female dogs have their vulva swollen during heat and blood comes from their vaginal openings. Although this situation is considered as menstruation in dogs, the process is not like in humans. The menstrual period in dogs lasts between 10 and 27 days. This process is part of the estrous period. The estrous period can last up to 4 weeks in total. The estrous cycle, or estrous time in the reproductive cycle, is the time given to female dogs when they are ready to mate and become pregnant.
Do female dogs go through menopause?
If you just go by the estrous cycle of dogs, you might think that the answer to your question is yes. However, the situation is much different than expected and menopause does not occur in dogs. Unneutered female dogs go into heat once or twice a year for the rest of their lives. As the number of estrous cycles increases in older dogs, the risk of pyometra also increases. Pyometra is a serious condition that can endanger life. When pyometra symptoms are seen in dogs, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian without wasting time. Pyometra is an infection in the uterus, causing vaginal bleeding. This situation can easily be confused with the anger cycle by dog owners.
When do dogs hit menopause?
Some owners of non-neutered dogs may not realize how often their dog is in heat. They may also think that their dog is in menopause when there is no vaginal bleeding for a year. However, older dogs that have not been neutered do not go into heat as often as younger dogs. The time between periods of heat gradually increases, but this does not mean that they have entered menopause. Therefore, there is no definite answer to the question.
Vaginal bleeding in dogs is not just caused by anger or pyometra. Urinary tract infections, bladder stones, bladder cancer, uterine cancer, tumors and other inconspicuous conditions can cause vaginal bleeding. Bleeding can occur especially when urinating or after lying down for a long time.
Estrous in Neutered Dogs
In sterilization procedures, the reproductive system of dogs, especially the ovaries and uterus, is removed. This procedure is called ovariohysterectomy. Spaying is usually done at 6 months of age. In some cases, only the ovaries or only the uterus are removed. However, even after such a procedure, vaginal bleeding does not occur in the estrous cycle. Neutered dogs do not enter the heat period, there is no vaginal bleeding, pregnancy does not develop and pyometra is not seen.
What are the risks associated with unneutered dogs?
Unneutered dogs are at increased risk for certain diseases, but many owners are unaware that not neutering can pose health problems for their dogs. Unneutered dogs are more likely to develop health problems such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and pyometra. These are conditions that can seriously endanger the dog’s health. For this reason, it is recommended that female dogs be neutered. This has nothing to do with dogs hitting menopause, it’s just for their general health and well being.