Hall Place Veterinary Centre

Bitches In Season

DogTHE JUVENILE BITCH

Bitches usually have their first season at around 9-12 months of age, but may be variable. Generally it can occur earlier in smaller breeds of dog, and is highly dependent upon the time of year and the day length. The presence of other bitches in season, or of male dogs, can bring a bitch into season early.

In immature animals, mounting of other animals or even furniture or toys is not usually because of a sexual motivation, but is usually related to early social dominance behaviour or practice social interactions.

SIGNS OF A BITCH IN SEASON

Usually the season lasts a total of three weeks, with the most fertile period being between day eight and day fifteen. On average, a bitch will have a season every six months. As the season develops, you may notice the following signs:

Restlessness and variable appetite
Increased frequency of urination on the walk
Apparently skittish behaviour and poor recall
Increased vulval swelling and reddening
Attractiveness to male dogs, although at first not interested herself
Bloody vulval discharge and “spotting”
When becomes fertile, will tease male dogs, mutually sniffing one another, standing with hindquarters facing the male and slipping her tail to one side

PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE

Try to keep the bitch supervised, or absolutely secure from getting out or having access to an entire male dog
Take on short walks, on the lead. Try to walk from a car, rather than directly from your house (male dogs may become directed to your property!).
Avoid dog walking routes commonly used by local dog owners

We recommend neutering bitches that are not intended for breeding, at 3 months after a season. Earlier neutering significantly decreases the risk of the bitch ever getting mammary cancer.

ACCIDENTAL MATING

Mating can occur very quickly. The male usually mounts the female, thrusting with the pelvis and achieving a copulatory lock that may last upto 10 to 45 minutes. During this period, the bitch and the dog are tied together at the rear end and cannot be separated. They will separate themselves given some time.

If unintended mating does occur, it is not set in stone that your bitch will have to have a litter. Speak to a vet or a veterinary nurse to discuss options for terminations and unwanted pregnancy.

Should you wish to discuss any of these issues in more detail, please consult your veterinary surgeon.