Whelping Puppies

Can a Dog’s Heat Cycle be Induced?


Many dog owners may wonder whether estrus can be in some way induced in their female dog. Induction of estrus would be quite helpful so that breeding can be easily coordinated and planned, but Nature has its own agenda and at this time, there are no really effective or reliable approaches to induce estrus in dogs. The only possible way to stimulate a dog to go into heat that has been reported in scientific literature is a phenomenon known as “dormitory effect.”

 Dormitory Effect in Dogs

The dormitory effect derives from an alleged phenomenon that was observed in women living together in close proximity with one another (like in dormitories). It was noticed that as they spent time together in close quarters, their menstrual cycle was synchronized, becoming closer in time than several months earlier.

In dogs, a similar effects has been witnessed, in this case though it affects their heat cycle. For reasons that yet need to be understood, there seems to be a tendency for kenneled dogs to influence each other’s heat cycles.

This phenomenon isn’t only restricted to dogs who are kenneled, but has also been witnessed in two or more intact female dogs sharing the same home. A dog may get into heat, and other female dogs may follow suit.

This may occur because pheromones produced by the dogs going into heat may influence the other dogs, explains Dr. Margaret Root Krustitz, in the book  “The Dog Breeder’s Guide to Successful Breeding and Health Management. ” Pheromones are special chemical substances that trigger behavior changes in animals of the same species.

Did you know? Some breeders take advantage of the dormitory effect to house together intact female dogs with dogs who have a tendency for silent heats.

Drugs to Make Dog Go Into Heat

Often breeders wonder if there are any drugs that can be used to induce a dog to go into heat.While there are some drugs to induce a dog to go into heat, these must be used with caution and only under the guidance of a reproductive vet. There are several medical conditions that may cause a dog not to go into heat, and it’s important ruling these out first before giving any medications.

While there are several medications that can be used to induce the heat cycle in dogs their use remains questionable. There doesn’t appear to be any approved methods for heat induction in dogs. Medications that can be used to induce a heat cycle include cabergoline, metergoline, bromocryptine and deslorelin implants, but according to Merck Veterinary Manual none of these drugs are approved estrus induction use in the USA.

While chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) is used for swine, it has demonstrated to be effective in inducing proestrus in dogs but  the ovulation rate was poor. The shot is also very painful and should be given under the guidance of a vet after ruling out medical issues causing the absence/delayed heat.

Ruling Out Medical Conditions

If your dog is not going in heat, it could be you missed the signs because your dog is overly clean and has licked away discharge or perhaps your dog has undergone a silent heat. If it’s been a while since your dog hasn’t had a heat cycle, see your vet. As mentioned, there are certain medical conditions that may be preventing your dog from going into heat.

For example, cystic ovaries, uterine growths, and endocrine disorders are all disorder that may cause a dog to not go into heat, explains veterinarian Dr. BJ Hughes.  A good way to assess a dog’s over all reproductive health is by measuring progesterone concentrations and visualizing the dog’s reproductive tract via ultrasound.


Estrus induction and synchronization in canids and felids M.A. Kutzler,Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, 209 Magruder Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA

Merck Veterinary Manual, Hormonal Control of Estrus in Dogs

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