Meeting and Mating: The Reproductive Cycles in Pets

When it comes to your pets, their frisky nature can lead to more than just play. If your pets are not spayed or neutered, this could lead to pregnancies as your home can get overrun with new arrivals. Learn about the reproductive cycle of pets if you plan to breed them or when you want to avoid any unexpected surprises. 

Female Cycles in Pets 

The female cycle is different between cats and dogs, yet both types of pets do have the same 4 stages of the female cycle, called proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus. Here is a breakdown for each pet. 

Dogs: The first season that dogs go into heat, called oestrus, is between the age of 10 months to 18 months. The female dog will go into heat about every 6 months. They can ovulate spontaneously as the female dog doesn’t have to ovulate. 

Cats: The first season that cats go into heat is between the ages of 4 months to 12 months. A female cat will go into heat seasonally after having exposure to 14 days to 16 days of light every day during the spring, summer, and autumn. 

4 Stages of the Oestrus Cycle 

  • Proestrus: This stage is where the female becomes attractive to the male but will not begin the mating process yet. The vulva will swell as there is bleeding. Dogs go through proestrus for 0 to 27 days although the average is 9 days. Cats go through proestrus for 1 to 2 days. 
  • Estrus: Ovulation occurs during this stage as the mating begins. It can last from 4 days to 24 days for dogs and 2 days to 19 days for cats. 
  • Diestrus: This is the period where no mating occurs for cats or dogs. They may have a false pregnancy during this time. If the mating leads to pregnancy, a cat will gestate for about 63 days as dogs will gestate for an average of 64 days. 
  • Anestrus: This is the time when sexual inactivity takes place after the active stages of estrus. It is the recovery period for the uterus. 

If you believe your pet may be pregnant, you can take them to the vet. The vet can test for which stage of the reproductive cycle that your pet is in.