Boston Terriers in Heat – Spaying Facts and What to Expect

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by Lily Ferreras

boston-terriers-in-heat

Have you ever wondered about your female Boston Terrier’s heat cycle and what to expect when she’s in heat? And maybe you also want to know more about spaying (and the difference to neutering), so you have an idea of expectations from the before to the after?

I’ve got you covered.

I dug deep into some research on dog’s in heat, especially when considering getting a male or female Boston Terrier. I also wanted to know more about neutering and spaying practices, their effects on your pooch, and to see if they are necessary.

Here’s what I found.

Boston Terriers Heat Cycle

Looking at the growth stages for your Boston Terrier, it’s during the last development stage, the adolescence stage (between 6 to 18 months), that your Boston will reach sexual maturity.

Between 6 to 9 months of age, sexual maturity in Boston Terrier puppies typically occurs. Dogs experience significant hormonal changes and those changes are different for male and female puppies.

Sexually mature female Boston Terriers typically go into heat twice a year, about 6 months apart, each lasting about 2 to 3 weeks.

The reproductive cycle (Estrus) in female dogs has 4 phases:

  • The Proestrus: This is the start of the heat and it lasts 7 to 10 days. The dog’s vulva swells and blood flows (similar to a woman’s period). Females attract males but will not allow mounting.
  • Estrus: This is the mating period and it lasts 5 to 10 days. Blood flow lessens until it completely stops. Females will attract and accept males. Ovulation occurs during this time, usually 2 to 3 days after mating. Your puppy can become pregnant during her first heat, so be sure to keep a close eye on her if you decide not to spay.
  • Diestrus: This is the period after the heat and lasts between 10 to 140 days (4-5 months). During this time, a dog is either pregnant or in a resting phase.
  • Anestrus: This is a resting period between diestrus and the next heat cycle.

Once the period begins, it can take a while for the cycle to become regular. Some dogs can take up to 18 months until their cycle becomes regular. But, once it does, the average is to go into heat twice a year.

However, smaller breeds may go into heat more frequently, as often as 3-4 times a year. Also, unlike women, female Boston Terriers have their estrus throughout their lives (source).

Male Boston Terriers are sexually active all year-round, but they are most fertile after 12 to 15 months of age, i.e., once they are fully physically mature.

Male dogs can start marking as they become sexually mature. They also can develop a tendency to mount and roam free.

Insiders Tip: An example of marking is when a dog makes small amounts of pee on a pole or tree during a walk to “mark” territory, rather than to empty their bladder.

Between 12 to 14 months, Boston Terrier’s will reach adulthood. They will settle into a grown-up personality (maturity and temperament) and will stop physically growing.

boston-terriers-heat-cycle

Boston Terriers in Heat FAQ

  1. At what age do Boston Terriers go into heat?

    A female Boston Terriers will go in heat for the first time when she reaches sexual maturity. This is usually when she's 6 to 9 months of age. During the adolescence (or puberty) stage, a female dog will have her first heat cycle.

  2. When do Boston Terriers get their period?

    I.e., when do Boston Terriers go into heat? After their first cycle, female Boston Terriers typically go into heat twice a year, about 6 months apart, each lasting about 2 to 3 weeks. But, it is not uncommon also for smaller breeds like Boston Terriers to go into heat more frequently, as often as 3-4 times a year.

  3. How long is a Boston Terrier in heat? Do dogs bleed the whole time they are in heat?

    Canine heat cycle, on average, can last for 2-3 weeks. The estrus cycle has four stages.

    During the first stage, called the proestrus, a dog’s vulva swells and the bleeding starts. This stage lasts 7 to 10 days, that's how long the bleeding will last. Some females will clean themselves very meticulously, so you might not see the blood.

    After that, the estrus stage starts and the blood flow lessens until stops. This is the mating period and it lasts 5 to 10 days.

  4. How do I know when my Boston Terrier is in heat?

    During the heat cycle, your female Boston Terrier will go through a number of changes, both physically and in behaviour.

    There are a few signs to watch out for. Here's how to recognize if your Boston Terrier is in heat (source):
    – Increased urination.
    – Raising her leg when urinating or when she sees a male dog.
    – Paying more attention to male dogs.
    – Becoming more affectionate or tired.
    – Becoming more aroused, alert and restless.
    – Some even run away.

  5. Do female dogs act or behave different when in heat?

    How a female dog behaves during her cycle varies from dog to dog. Each dog differs in length of heat, the discharge amount, and hormonal changes. Some may feel tired all day, while others may become restless and more alert.

    However, vocalizing is quite common when in heat. Moaning, whining, crying… all serve as a form of “mating call” to male dogs throughout the neighbourhood (source).

  6. How do I know when my dog is out of heat?

    You will know that the cycle is over when her vulva returns to its normal size and there's no more bleeding or discharge.

boston-terriers-go-into-heat

Female Boston Terrier in Heat Essentials

Here are some tips on how do you calm down a dog in heat:

  1. Make sure she still gets plenty of exercises, but let her rest if she’s tired.
  2. Keep her engaged with interactive toys.
  3. Give her plenty of cuddles if she asks for them – she might be feeling more affectionate than usual.
  4. Make sure she’s comfortable and has a quiet place where she can rest.
  5. Use a diffuser with lavender essential oil or a white noise machine if she’s restless after exercise.

In terms of hygiene, you might be wondering if you should bathe a dog in heat. There’s nothing wrong with bathing your Boston Terrier in heat, but only bathe her if she’s dirty.

If she’s clean, there’s no need of adding extra discomfort, especially if she’s not a fan of baths. Alternatively, you can use dog wipes to clean any blood from her skin.

Also, there are some essentials for female Boston Terriers in heat that you might want to consider, like diapers for dogs or dog heat pants.

Finally, both male and female Boston Terriers are at risk during canine heat, which is why a tracking device like Tractive (use the link for $10 off your first order) might come in handy.

female-dog-in-heat-wearing-diapers

Spaying and Neutering Your Boston Terrier

Spaying and neutering is a surgical approach to sterilization in female and male dogs, respectively (source).

  • Spaying: This is a veterinary surgical procedure performed under general anaesthesia, technically referred to as ovariohysterectomy. It involves removal of the female dog’s uterus and both ovaries through an incision made in the abdomen.
  • Neutering: Also referred to as castration, it’s the surgical removal of a male dog’s testes. It’s also performed under general anaesthesia but is a simpler surgery than a spay. An incision is made near the front of the scrotum, then the testicles are removed through that incision.

Spaying and neutering dogs are highly practised.

Dogs in the U.S. are routinely spayed or neutered between the ages of 4 and 9 months.

Some people think that spaying a dog will get rid of all her behaviour problems or concern that their dog will change after her first heat.

“The decision to perform this procedure is often based on convention, habit or misconception of health benefits rather than on an evidence-based assessment of each patient.”

Dr Clara Goh, a surgical oncologist at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

The pros and cons below will help you better understand questions like:

  • Will my dog be calmer after being spayed?
  • What age should a dog be spayed?
  • Are there any negative effects to spaying and neutering?
  • Will my dog’s behaviour change after spaying? Will she be calmer or more aggressive?
  • And much more!

Pros and Cons of Spaying and Neutering

Dogs Naturally Magazine (source) analysed diverse studies on spaying and neutering practices and concluded that these practices can have both positive and negative health effects on dogs.

Neutering Male Boston Terriers

Overall, neutering a male dog has more cons than pros.

  • Pros of neutering male dogs:
    • Eliminates the risk (probably <1%) of dying from testicular cancer.
    • Reduces the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders.
    • Reduces the risk of perianal fistulas.
  • Cons of neutering male dogs:
    • If neutered before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer).
    • Increases the risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 1.6.
    • Triples the risk of hypothyroidism.
    • Increases the risk of progressive geriatric cognitive impairment.
    • Triples the risk of obesity.
    • Quadruples the risk (<0.6%) of prostate cancer.
    • Doubles the risk (<1%) of urinary tract cancers.
    • Increases the risk of orthopaedic disorders.
    • Increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations.

Spaying Female Boston Terriers

For female dogs, the situation is more complex.

Whether spaying has more health benefits than problems depends on the age of the female dog and the relative risk of various diseases in the different breeds.

  • Pros of spaying female dogs:
    • If spayed before 2.5 years of age, greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumours, the most common malignant tumours in female dogs.
    • Nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra, which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female dogs. Pyometra kills about 1% of intact female dogs.
    • Reduces the risk of perianal fistulas.
    • Removes the very risk (≤0.5%) from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumours.
  • Cons of spaying female dogs:
    • If spayed before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer), same as for males.
    • Increases the risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma (a type of cancer) by a factor of 2.2 and cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of >5.
    • Triples the risk of hypothyroidism.
    • Increases the risk of obesity by a factor of 1.6 – 2.
    • Causes urinary “spay incontinence” in 4 – 20% of female dogs.
    • Increases the risk of persistent or recurring urinary tract infections by a factor of 3 – 4.
    • Increases the risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, and vaginitis, especially for female dogs spayed before puberty.
    • Doubles the risk (<1%) of urinary tract tumours.
    • Increases the risk of orthopaedic disorders.
    • Increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations.

In conclusion, if you elect to spay or neuter your Boston Terrier, evaluate if it’s the most appropriate choice for your dog in particular.

Wondering at what the best age is for a dog to be spayed or neutered?

Females dogs should be spayed between 1 to 2.5 years of age to avoid health risks. It seems prudent to wait after your female Bostons goes through her first heat cycle.

On the other hand, male dogs should be neutered after they are 1 year old. But, you should consult with your breeder and your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate age for this surgical procedure.

boston-terrier-spaying-or-neutering

Spaying and Neutering Costs

Spaying or neutering costs go from $75 to $200. Pet insurance companies don’t usually cover the cost of spaying, but you can find low-cost spay or neuter services near you on the ASPCA website.

However, having good dog insurance is the best strategy to help you with covering most, if not all, unexpected vet bills.

Petplan Pet Insurance does cover all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard, this is why I recommend them.

Prevention is key when thinking of your dog’s health.

Avoiding Unwanted Pregnancies

You might decide to completely avoid the spaying or neutering practice AND still want to avoid unwanted pregnancies for your pooch.

This is completely reasonable.

When female dogs go into heat, most owners simply manage the situation by keeping them from male dogs until their heat cycle is complete.

You can still go for walks if your female Boston Terrier is in heat. Simply put her on a leash and make sure she walks by your side. Also, go for walks when there are fewer dogs around, and keep the walks shorter.

Worst-case scenario, you end up picking your Boston and carrying her back home if another dog owner is not restricting his dog (i.e., keeping him on a leash).

Finally, the key to a happy and healthy Boston Terrier has much to do with a dog’s welfare needs. Boston Terrier Care is a great next step to take to support your Boston Terrier’s growth. 🙂

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