Breeding, Reproductive Health Advice

How to Induce Heat in Dogs: 3 Drug-Free Ways

If you find yourself asking, ‘Why isn’t my female dog going into heat?’ there are some simple things to check. Before attempting any of these three options, you want to be certain the female has not recently been silently in heat. The best way to check for silent heat in dogs is to run a progesterone test or use a canine ovulation detector that helps identify silent heats and ovarian cycle disorders. If her progesterone is over 1 ng/dl, you cannot induce a heat cycle. Using a drug at this time will block, not induce a heat cycle. If she has had a witnessed heat cycle, you need to wait at least five months between cycles for the female’s uterus to be receptive to a pregnancy. Once both of these factors have been checked and she still isn’t going into heat consider trying these three drug-free options that could help induce heat and promote healthy breeding management.

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  1. Diet: Be certain she is on an appropriate diet. We do not recommend grain-free or raw meat diets. Royal Canin’s HT 42d is the only pregnancy diet on the market. Other quality options include Royal Canin, Purina or Hills diets appropriate for puppies, performance, or all life stages.
  2. Breeder’s Edge® B Strong™: Add Breeder’s Edge® B Strong liquid or powder to the female dog’s food ration. B Strong is a comprehensive B-complex vitamin, mineral, and amino acid supplement for dogs and cats. A vitamin B complex is key for successful reproduction, as they play a role in heat and ovulation cycles and conception rates, sperm production and drive, and healthy embryo development. I recommend mixing in the liquid or powder according to label directions.
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  4. Sunlight: Assure that your girl is getting adequate amounts of daylight or daylight-like artificial light. She needs at least 14 hours of daylight a day. Leave the lights on in the kennel and assure the light bulbs provide full-spectrum light or let her spend more time outside. In the winter, in many parts of the United States, it is not possible to provide adequate natural lighting, so I recommend looking into LED lighting for your kennel.

If you’ve tried these drug-free options and your female dog still isn’t experiencing a heat cycle, you may want to contact your veterinarian about prescription drug options that can induce heat, such as cabergoline or bromocriptine.

If you have any questions on canine reproduction, call our Pet Care Pros at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.