can a spayed female dog still mate

can a spayed female dog still mate

A spayed dog can lose blood and continue to go into heat if the ovaries have not been properly removed during surgery or if there is extrauterine ovarian tissue. Although neutering is a common intervention in all veterinary clinics, for many people it continues to be an operation that raises several doubts.

We will explain to you what the operation consists of and we will answer the question “can a spayed female go into heat? ” To clarify the question, whether your 4-legged friend is spayed or if you are thinking of having them go through this operation.

Female dog sterilization: what is it?

Sterilization consists of extirpating the reproductive organs of the female dog to prevent Its period and therefore prevent It from going into heat and becoming pregnant if It were to mate. A dog usually goes into heat for the first time at about 8 months (slightly later if it’s large and a little earlier if it’s small).

Although there are those who tend to compare the heat of the dog with the menstrual cycle, the blood loss of the dog has nothing to do with what happens in female dogs. The heat of the dog can be divided into 4 phases, although only two constitute the period of the real heat, and in total it lasts about 3 weeks. The steps are as follows:

Proestro: initial phase of variable duration (from 3 to 17 days). It’s easily recognized because the animal is bleeding and has an inflamed vulva. In this period, the dog refuses males.

Estro : the dog begins to accept the male. It has a variable duration (from 2 to 20 days). The female tends to keep the tail raised, sideways and with the private parts up to show the vulva. The phase ends when she begins to reject males again.

Diestro : the female refuses mating and the male loses interest. It lasts about 2 months and ends with the birth if the dog has become pregnant, otherwise it enters the last phase.

Anestro : is a period of sexual inactivity that goes from the end of the diestrus until the next heat. Usually, a dog goes into heat twice a year.

With a pregnancy that lasts about 2 months, the dog could have two litters a year and it’s one of the most important data to take into consideration when deciding to neuter your 4-legged friend.

Usually, ovariohysterectomy is used, i.e. the removal of the ovaries and uterus, but if you want you can decide to remove only the ovaries ( ovariectomy ). The ovaries are responsible for the production of eggs and the uterus is the place where the fertilized egg implants and where the cubs develop.

Therefore, by extracting these organs, the dog will not go into heat or have puppies and the answer to “can a spayed bitch go into heat?” is no, although there are exceptions that we will see in the next paragraph.

Why does a neutered dog lose blood?

To extract the uterus and ovaries, the vet usually makes a cut a few inches long in the abdomen. In some cases, due to the constitution of the dog, the eggs are located in a deeper position, so it is difficult to extract them.

The operation must be complete and the vet must take care to remove all the ovarian tissue. Sometimes there is some left and that is why a spayed dog can go into heat, losing blood or letting males mount her. The causes can be the following:

  • Vet’s mistake during the operation as ovarian tissue remains inside.
  • Even if the operation has been carried out correctly, the presence of ovarian tissue in the peritoneal cavity can vascularize and function.
  • Ovarian tissue outside the ovaries. This is not an error during the surgery, but a phenomenon produced by the dog’s own body from birth or during its development.

Such ovarian tissue reactivations can also occur years after surgery, so choosing a good vet is very important. The residues of ovarian tissue, besides being able to induce heat in the dog sterilized as in one that it’s not, can cause infections such as pyometra uterine stump.

What to do if my spayed dog goes into heat?

Now that we have seen that in some cases a spayed dog can go into heat, what to do if this actually happens? If you have spayed your dog but are observing typical dog heat symptoms such as bleeding, inflamed vulva, behavioral changes, approaching males, or even fever, apathy, or lack of appetite, consult your vet.

To confirm or not the hypothesis, the vet will carry out a cytology to understand in which phase of the cycle the dog is. This is a simple and painless test that involves taking a sample of cells from the dog’s vagina and observing it under a microscope.

Since each phase is characterized by certain cells, it will be possible to determine whether it’s in heat or not. Other tests that can be done are ultrasound and blood tests.

If the spayed dog loses blood, a second surgery will likely be required, to be done once it’s checked for infection or after the heat is over, as more blood circulates in the area at that time and the risk of bleeding is higher.

Your vet will help you weigh the pros and cons. This intervention can be performed using the exploratory laparotomy. Hormone therapy could also be used, but it would increase the risk of breast cancer. It could also cause pyometra of the uterine stump.

Sterilization of your dog: yes or no?

The answer is yes. The risk of residual ovarian tissue remaining is minimal and the operation is successful and uncomplicated in most cases. Without making ethical considerations on the quantity of stray and abandoned dogs that exist and consequently, on the importance of adoption, sterilization implies several advantages for the well-being of the dog. Here are some examples:

  • Without ovaries or uterus, the animal is not at risk of developing any of the associated pathologies: pyometra, neoplasms, hyperplasia, or hysterical pregnancies.
  • If the operation is performed before the first heat or between the first and the second, the risk of developing breast cancer is practically nil.
  • Unwanted pregnancies are avoided.

As for contraindications to the sterilization of dogs, we find incontinence (which can be treated with drugs), some consequences of surgery, such as bleeding or anesthetic complications, and residues of ovarian tissue which, as we have seen, can cause a sterilized dog to go into heat or cause pyometra of the uterine stump.

However, these drawbacks should not suggest that sterilization should be avoided.


This article is purely informative, at shelterapet we do not have the right to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We encourage you to take your pet to the vet in case It has any kind of discomfort or discomfort.

About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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