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FAQ: Reproductive Cycles

  • When do dogs and cats first come in heat?
    • The average age for a female dog or cat to come in heat for the first time is 7 months
  • How often do they come in heat?
    • The average for female dogs is once every seven months.  The average for female cats is once a month between spring and fall, unless they are pregnant.  Some female cats cycle year-round.
  • How long are they in heat?
    • Dogs are usually in heat for about three weeks.  Cats are usually in heat one week unless they become pregnant.
  • How long are they pregnant?
    • The pregnancy length of both dogs and cats is 63 days.
  • How can I tell if they're in labor?
    • The first stage of labor is pacing, restlessness, and nesting behaviors.  Active labor begins with forceful abdominal contractions.
  • How long should they be in labor?
    • The first stage may last up to a day; active labor should last no more than 1 to 2 hours for the production of a puppy or kitten.
  • How long should mothers nurse?
    • It's best if mothers nurse for six weeks.
  • How long after giving birth do they go into heat again?
    • The average length of time from giving birth to being in heat again for cats is 1 to 2 weeks after weaning.  For dogs it is 7 months from the beginning of their last heat cycle.

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