The heat in the bitch

Like all mammals, bitches are cyclists; from puberty they alternate periods of sexual activity (heat) and so-called periods of rest. Heat always raises a lot of questions from owners: from what age? How long ? How many times ? We will try to answer these questions and more!

What exactly are heat?

When she is in heat, your dog will see her vulva swell and redden a little, but also lose sero-hemorrhagic fluid (liquid and tinged with blood).

From what age is a bitch in heat?

The range of appearance of the first heat is between 6 and 24 months . The first period of heat corresponds to the entry into puberty, it is from this moment that the bitch is able to reproduce.

The age of onset of the first heat depends mainly on the breed of your dog. Smaller bitches grow faster and shorter, so they are sexually mature faster than taller bitches.

Here are some indications of the age of onset of the first heat:

  • Around 5 – 6 months: dwarf and small breeds, for example: Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Dachshund

  • Between 6 and 8 months: medium breeds, for example: Epagneul Breton, Beagle

  • Between 12 and 15 months: large breeds, for example: German Shepherd, Labrador

  • And up to 24 months for giant breeds like the Newfoundland or the Saint Bernard.

How long does the heat last?

Your dog’s heat lasts an average of 21 days , or 3 weeks, and it will return every 6 to 7 months.

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These are averages, some bitches may be in heat for 18 days and every 8 months and others 21 days every 5 months. It will therefore be necessary to ensure the regularity of the cycles, but also of their duration, keeping in mind that the heat must never last more than 5 weeks.

Remember to note the start and end dates of heat in your dog’s health record for example, you will be able to easily see if there are any abnormalities in rhythms or durations. If you see anything abnormal, see your vet who can perform tests to make sure everything is okay.

You might think that as you get older, the heat fades and eventually disappears … Well not at all! There is no menopause in the bitch. This means that from puberty and until a very advanced age, the bitch can reproduce and have young. However, after the age of 8, fertility decreases considerably and gestation is strongly discouraged.

How does heat manifest itself?

When a bitch is in heat, everything is different and can even be a bit complicated.

Everything is done to attract males to her: smell of waste, pheromones … and as much to say that these gentlemen dogs are not insensitive far from it!

If your dog stays quietly at home, or in the garden, the males do not hesitate to run away and travel long distances to find their sweetheart! All means are good to get to the young lady: hole under the fence, climbing the gate, detour through the neighbor’s garden … the males compete in ingenuity in these cases. Be very careful, it is not because you have a large dog like a Labrador and the neighbor has a Yorkie that there is no risk, on the contrary!

During the 3 weeks of heat, your female will attract males, but she will only agree to be covered for the second week (approximately).

Heat or no heat?

The question to ask yourself is: do you want your dog to have cubs?

If the answer is negative, then the best solution remains surgical sterilization , more heat, more risk of protrusion. Surgical sterilization also has other advantages: prevention of uterine problems …

But if the answer is YES, then you will have to take your pain patiently for a while to allow you to live serenely with a bitch in heat until the mating.

Read also: Sex and mating in dogs

The decision to breed your bitch is sometimes a crush, you want her to have young, that she know motherhood … But think carefully before making such a decision, many problems can cloud your dream: breeding unwanted, difficulties during the birth, no owners for the puppies … Weigh the pros and cons and do not hesitate to seek advice from your veterinarian.

Attention any loss of abnormal colors (yellow, greenish …) or blood in kind must be the subject of an emergency consultation with a veterinarian in order to establish the origin of these losses. </p

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