Bitches in season - The top ten most frequently asked questions





If you own a bitch (female dog) that is unspayed, then once she reaches maturity, she will come into heat regularly, once or twice a year. This is referred to as being ‘in season.’ If you are intending on breeding from your dog, then you will of course need to keep her entire in order to enable this, and so will need to learn about what it means when she comes into season, how to manage this, and how to take care of her. Caring for a bitch in heat is more involved and complicated than caring for a spayed bitch, and if you do not intend to breed from your dog at some point, having her spayed is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.

If your bitch is entire, read on to find out the top ten most frequently asked questions about bitches, the heat cycle, and what you need to know.



1. What is being in heat or ‘in season?’



What we call ‘heat’ in bitches is the natural oestrus cycle of the unspayed bitch. It is roughly the canine equivalent of periods (menstruation) in people. When your bitch is in season she will be able to conceive a pregnancy, and she will give off cues and scents that will attract entire male dogs.



2. When do bitches first come into season?



Juvenile female dogs usually undergo their first heat cycle from the age of around six months old, although for some dogs they may make it to upwards of one year old before they will first come into season. If your bitch has had her first birthday and still not undergone a heat cycle, you should ask your vet to check her out to ensure that there are not any problems preventing it from occurring.



3. How often do bitches come into season?



This will vary from dog to dog, but generally, bitches will come into season once or twice a year. Every six eight months or so is about the average, although there are significant levels of variation between individual bitches and between different breeds.



4. How long will my bitch be in season for?



Bitches generally come into and remain in heat for around three weeks at a time, although again this is very variable and anything between two weeks and four weeks is considered normal. If your bitch remains in season for more than four weeks at a time, consult your vet for advice as there may be an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.



5. How will I know when my bitch is in season?



Your bitch’s back end will often be visibly larger and darker looking than usual, with the vulva swollen and the tail often raised. Your bitch will also be discharging blood, although often not in any great quantity, particularly for smaller breeds of dog.

Her behaviour may also change, with her appearing more clingy and needy than usual, and you may also have to deal with the annoying issue of all of the male dogs in the area and from some distance around hanging about outside your house.



6. At what stage can I breed from my bitch?



Your bitch can only conceive a pregnancy (and generally, will only accept a male dog mounting her) while she is in season. Your bitch can get pregnant at any time during her heat cycle, although the most fertile stage of the cycle is considered to be between days ten to fifteen from the beginning of the cycle.



7. Can I breed my bitch during her first heat cycle?



Theoretically, your bitch will be perfectly capable of conceiving a pregnancy during her first season, so you must take care of her and keep her away from entire male dogs during this time. However, it is not recommended to breed from a bitch under a year old, as she will not be fully developed or mature, and you should wait through at least one season and until your bitch is at least a year old before you consider breeding from her.



8. How do I keep unwanted male dogs away from my bitch when she is in season?



This is a big challenge! Entire male dogs from quite some distance away will be able to scent that your bitch is in season, even if you keep her restricted to the home and the garden. Any loose dogs in the area are likely to congregate outside of your home, and restrained male dogs will often go to some lengths to get free and come and offer themselves up as potential suitors.

You can still walk your bitch while she is in season, but you will need to do so with extreme care. Not only will any entire male dogs be making a beeline for her, but she will be equally keen to mate with them. Keep your in-season bitch on a lead at all times, and try to limit your walks in areas where other dogs are around.



9. Can my bitch be spayed while she is in season?



If you have decided to have your bitch spayed and you do not intend to breed from her, it is important that you don’t ask your vet to do this if you know that your bitch is in season or close to coming into season. Spaying while in season is more risky than at any other time, as the uterus, vulva and womb will all be inflamed and rich with blood, making spaying more difficult and risky than it is at other times. Unless there is an urgent reason for spaying while in season, your vet will probably refuse to spay your bitch until after the heat cycle has finished.



10. As my bitch ages, will she undergo the menopause?



As your bitch gets older, she will remain able to conceive while in season right up until the end of her life. Her fertility may decline somewhat, but she will not undergo a menopause in the same way that people do. When your bitch gets older, it is important to have her spayed even if she has had a couple of litters, to prevent her from having any more or undergoing the potential complications that conception in elderly bitches can entail.








Join the Conversation

Do you like this article? Have something to say? Then leave your comments.







 
About UsContact UsTermsPrivacy PolicyLink to UsRescue BannersAdvertising
 
© Copyright - www.Pets4Homes.co.uk (2005 - 2014)
Other pet websites sites we operate    |Pet Forums|PetsLocally