Animal Health


Bitch in heat - Basic care during the summer

Animal Health

The Bitches' Heat  is the period when the female accepts to mate with the male. The female dog is exposed to hormonal changes that alter her behaviour: she may be more affectionate and playful, besides demanding more attention than usual and that you pamper her more. There may be a loss of appetite, or notice that she is more tired in some cases.

At this stage, your best friend is ready to have offspring and fill the house with puppies, so your main objective at this time will be to look for a male dog to reproduce.

the bitches heat
The bitches heat

How long does the bitches heat?

In small breeds, the first heat in bitches usually appears between 5 and 8 months.

In larger bitches, it usually occurs when they are about one year old.

The duration of the heat in a bitch usually oscillates between 2 and 4 weeks, independently of the breed.  It appears every 6 months, that is twice a year.

The way the heat is manifested varies from breed to breed but usually follows the following guidelines:


1st Heat

Usually occurs around 7 months and can vary between 4/5 and 11 months (variation related to the bitch's breed).


Duration / Frequency

2 times a year, every 6 months


Oestrus Cycle (4 phases)

1st Anestro - Inter-calving period. One. A sexual rest period lasting, on average, 6 months, (can vary from 2/3 to 10/11 months).

2nd Proesto - It precedes the heat. At this time the bitch is unreceptive to males, the vulva swells and presents a slow bloody vaginal discharge (Approximately 10 days).

3rd Estrus / Oestrus -Period in which ovulation occurs and the bitch can get pregnant (lasts up to 3 weeks).

4th Diestro -is the period after estrus and before the female enters the period of reproductive inactivity.

Care during the heat

Keeping the dog indoors

During the period of heat (oestrus), the bitch is highly receptive to mating. It is very important the strict supervision of the time on the street. She should not be walked without a lead and even in the yard it is important to keep a close eye on her.

Giving extra attention to the animal
Giving extra attention to the animal

Giving extra attention to the animal

It is normal for bitches in the heat to have changes not only physically but also psychologically. Some bitches may become more still, more inactive, while others may become agitated. Based on the animal's behaviour we can choose to let it sleep, if it wants to sleep, or play with it if it is agitated.

Practice good hygiene
Practice good hygiene

Practice good hygiene

One of the main symptoms of the previous phase (proesto) is bloody discharge, and the amount varies from bitch to bitch. If you want to avoid staining your furniture, floor etc, it is recommended to use nappies or trousers. If you don't want to use nappies you can restrict the bitch's movements to one room of the house only.

Keeping an eye on your appetite
Keeping an eye on your appetite

Keeping an eye on your appetite

During the heat it is normal for bitches to experience changes in appetite. Regardless of the increase or decrease, it is essential to provide a nutritious diet to keep animals healthy.


If you have no interest in your bitch mating, you can pursue two options:

The sterilisation of the bitch
The sterilisation of the bitch

1. The sterilisation of the bitch

In addition to preventing the onset of heat, neutering prevents the onset of other diseases and possible tumours.

The use of the pill
The use of the pill

2. The use of the pill

It is also an option, but less recommended. Studies show that these drugs alter the hormonal mechanism and increase the incidence of breast tumours.


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