Dogs in heat

Published by
min read

Female dogs are "in heat" when they have entered the fertile part of their reproductive cycle. A heat lasts for 3 weeks on average and a dog will usually go into heat every 6 to 8 months.

Most breeds have their first heat at about 6 months old but it may be earlier or later.

A heat can usually be identified when there is some bleeding from the vagina, a swollen vulva or increased urination. Female dogs do not produce very much blood however, and in a small dog you may not even notice the bleeding.

Unwanted attention

The first thing you will notice if you have a bitch in heat is that she will attract un-castrated male dogs within a very large radius. Her behaviour will change too, so while she normally wouldn't let males mount her, she almost definitely will while in heat.

Additionally, male dogs will go to surprising lengths to get to a female in heat. While your bitch is in heat it's inadvisable to leave her unsupervised outside, and you'll need to keep her on the lead at all times while on walks. In general, other pet owners you encounter will be able to control their dogs, but the scent of a female in heat can cause aggressive behaviour in some dogs.

Bleeding

The second concern is bleeding. If your dog is producing enough blood to cause a mess you may want to restrict her to easy-to-clean, un-carpeted floors. Just leaving her outside is a bad idea unless you want her to have male visitors (and potentially puppies).

Unless you intend breeding, it is best to have her spayed. Spaying will prevent her from going into heat.

There is some debate about when it is best to spay your bitch. Some veterinarians will advise to let a dog have one heat while others will spay as early as 6 months. Ask your vet which course of action they think is right for your dog.

Related Articles

  • Strange Behaviours You've Probably Noticed in Your Dog

    While head tilting has never been studied scientifically, according to Mental Floss, dog behaviourists have a number of theories as to why your dog sometimes cocks his head to the side when you speak to him.
  • Separation-Anxiety

    180680638 Many dogs can develop a form of separation anxiety. Use these tips to help ease their anxiety and grow your relationship together.
  • Why do dogs eat grass?

    If you've ever noticed your dog eating grass you might be a little concerned. Learn common reasons why dogs eat grass.
  • Managing your puppy when she is in season

    180680638 If your female puppy hasn't been spayed, you may notice some changes in her when she comes in season. Learn the signs that she is in season.

Related products

  • Hill's™ Science Plan™ Canine Adult Advanced Fitness™ Lamb with Rice

    Hill's&#153; <span class='nowrap'>Science Plan™</span> Canine Adult Advanced Fitness™ Lamb & Rice is formulated to support digestive health and lean muscle. With clinically proven antioxidants and highly digestible lamb.
  • Hill's™ Science Plan™ Canine Adult with Chicken

    Hill's&#153; <span class='nowrap'>Science Plan</span>&#153; Canine Adult Savoury Chicken is formulated to support lean muscle and healthy vital organs. With clinically proven antioxidants, lean proteins and omega 3's.
  • Hill's™ Prescription Diet™ s/d™ Canine

    For the nutritional management of dogs with urinary tract disease. Urinary tract disease in dogs is often caused by the formation of mineral-based crystals and stones in the urinary tract that can cause discomfort, bloody urine and even life-threatening obstruction. For dogs, struvite crystals generally cause urinary tract disease. <span class='nowrap'>Prescription Diet</span>&#153; s/d&#153; has been formulated by veterinarians to help resolve struvite crystals and stones in your dog. Struvite forms as a result of urine that's saturated with protein, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium combined with an improper urine pH.
  • Hill's™ Science Plan™ Puppy Mini Chicken

    Hill's&#153; <span class='nowrap'>Science Plan™</span> Puppy Healthy Development™ Mini Chicken is formulated to support immunity and mobility, for puppies who prefer a smaller kibble. With clinically proven antioxidants and DHA.