When do Bernedoodles go into Heat and When Should you Spay/Neuter?

Bernedoodles are actually a relatively ‘new’ breed which are already one of the most popular breeds of doodle in the USA.  It is hard to find certain information on them due to the fact they are not yet recognized by Kennel Clubs. The reason for this article is to provide in-depth information regarding Bernedoodles, heat, spay/neuter options, and how to recognize the signs your Bernedoodle may be going into heat.

Bernedoodles go into heat at around 6 months old. Smaller breeds can go into heat earlier than this, and some larger breeds do not come into season until 8 to 12 months old. Spaying should be done between 4 months and before her first season. Neutering should be done anytime between 4 months and 9 months.

The following article makes for some very interesting and informative reading. Look out for further down where we spoke to several different Veterinary Staff to get their advice. There is still so much to learn about this breed so getting the opinions of Veterinary Practices was interesting.  There were some surprising findings along the way and we hope you enjoy this article as much as we enjoyed writing it.

What Does Being in Heat Mean?

Being in heat (also referred to as ‘Estrous’) is the fertile period of the female dog’s reproductive cycle where estrogen levels increase and then quickly decrease again. During this stage mature eggs are released from the ovaries. The heat cycle is the same process for all dog breeds, the length of each stage of the cycle may however vary. There are 4 stages to the heat cycle.

  • Stage 1: Proestrus Stage

The first stage is known as the Proestrus stage, this can last anywhere between 3 to 17 days. The initial indication of the Proestrus stage will be the swelling of the female’s vulva. There may be a bloody discharge at this time. During this stage the female may attract the attention of males but will not be receptive to them at this point.

  • Stage 2: Estrus Stage

The second stage is the Estrus stage and can last anywhere between 3 to 21 days. This stage is at the point of your female dog becoming fertile. Blood flow at this point typically lessens, and at this point, females will become receptive to males.

  • Stage 3: Diestrus Stage

The Diestrus stage is the third part of the heat cycle and when the dog’s fertile cycle finishes. This stage can last anywhere between 60 to 90 days. However, if the female has become pregnant then this stage will last through until the birth of the puppies (approximately 60 days).

  • Stage 4: Anestrus Stage

The final stage is the Anestrus stage and it is typically referred to as the dog’s resting stage. This is the longest stage in the cycle, lasting between 100 to 150 days. Once stage four is complete the whole cycle begins again.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is About To Go Into Heat?

There are many ways that indicate your Bernedoodle may be about to enter the heat cycle and it is important to be receptive to your dog’s usual personality so that you can pick up any changes quickly and realize the reason why.

  • Physical Signs

At the start of the heat cycle, your Bernedoodle’s vulva will swell. Bloody vaginal discharge may be apparent, and your dog may need to visit the garden more often for that call of nature. You may notice they lick their genital area more often.

  • Behavioral Signs

Your Bernedoodle may be clingier and more nervous. You may even notice that their tail is tucked in, rather than hanging naturally. Their appetite may change, they may eat less, they may eat more. When your Bernedoodle is ready to breed, male dogs will pick up on her scent, so it is very important to be aware of this stage. It may be surprising to learn that a male dog can smell a female dog on heat from 3 miles away – isn’t that just incredible?

How Often do Bernedoodles go Into Heat?

We decided to take this question to a few Veterinary Practices, to see if their advice added a different perspective at all.  The first vet nurse we spoke to told us that it can, and does, vary from breed to breed. It can also be dependent on the size of the dog. Additionally hereditary factors can determine her cycle. She explained that larger dogs can go into heat every 8 months.

The second practice we spoke to said bigger dogs can perhaps go into season just once in a 12 month period. They also explained that most dogs do not go into season more than twice a year.

The third practice echoed the first two, supporting that it does vary due to the different factors involved.

How Do I Care For My Bernedoodle in Heat?

It can seem quite daunting to care for a dog during their heat season but all it requires is some extra attention and being cautious, especially in the great outdoors where opportunities are endless! Keeping your Bernedoodle from getting pregnant will mean keeping a very watchful eye during outside time, even in the garden. (Remember – 3 whole miles a male can seek her out).

Tune In To Your Bernedoodle’s Needs

While you are not around to keep your dog company, a great idea is to leave them some entertaining toys to amuse themselves within your absence. They may want more sleep than usual, or they may follow you around the house seemingly restless. Some dogs may even become agitated and it’s important to realize this is quite a normal part of the process. Your Bernedoodle may need help cleaning while losing blood, and you might find it handy covering any favorite pieces of furniture! Appetite patterns may also change for a little while.

When Should you Spay Your Bernedoodle?

The best time to get your Bernedoodle spayed is once they have stopped growing. Important hormones are needed to grow efficiently which can be lost during the spaying process. Every Veterinary Practice will have its own requirements, so it is best to seek advice from them in the first instance.

Some owners will have their Bernedoodle spayed before their first heat and some will wait until they are older. It is a personal decision from which you must do your own research and speak to your own vet to determine when is the right time for your dog.

What Does the Spaying Process Involve?

Spaying takes place under a general anesthetic and a small incision is made into the female’s abdomen. Spaying involves the removal of both of the ovaries and the uterus through this incision (some vets remove only the ovaries, technique dependent). After a spay, your Bernedoodle should be kept in a quiet space, with limited exercise on the leash. They will most likely have a cone collar on to stop them from licking in their operation area. Your Bernedoodle is likely to be back to their normal selves within 5 to 10 days

When Should You Neuter Your Bernedoodle?

Neutering your male Bernedoodle is again recommended once they are fully grown. Neutering can reduce the risk of cancer, and also significantly reduces the risk of prostate disease. It can also help stop your dog from venturing away when out on off-leash walks.

What Does the Neuturing Process Involve?

The neutering process involves a general anesthetic and the procedure involves removing both testicles.  After your Bernedoodle has been neutered they will again most likely be wearing a cone collar. They will also be on restrictive exercise and will need a peaceful spot to recuperate. Keep an eye on the wound and all being well they will be back to their usual selves in around 14 days.

The following video gives a good general overview of postoperative pet care.

Related Questions:

How Many Puppies Do Bernedoodles Have?

There is not a definitive answer to this question and the litter amount can vary greatly. Due to the different sizes of the breeds, the number of puppies can vary anywhere between 2 puppies to 12 puppies.

How Much Does A Bernedoodle Puppy Cost?

Again this varies quite considerably due to the different sizes of the breed. It can also depend on the colorings – tri-colored Bernedoodles are typically the most expensive in the breed. Prices range somewhere in the range of $2500 to $6200. It is so important to find a good, decent, reputable breeder and be wary of paying a low price for your Bernedoodle. Do your homework, and perhaps put that vacation on hold for a bit!