• Morgan Dennis

Caring for your Girl Dog in Heat

As a dog walker, I very often speak to new female dog owners and sadly, they are never really sure about the facts of their dog being in season. I also recently saw a female dog off lead, there were times when the owner couldn't see the dog, who kept coming over to my group of dogs, she was very friendly but once we eventually caught up to the owner, we found out she was actually in season!

It is not very well known (or spoken about) but, puppies can be made in just SECONDS and male dogs can pick up pheromones that your female in season is releasing from miles away, so ignoring these facts could lead to some unwanted puppies, failing that, it could lead to a very uncomfortable dog, potential dog fights & other negative situations. That being said, the information below will help set you up to be prepared for your dog's first heat.

The Facts

A heat, or season, is when a female dog becomes fertile and can become pregnant. During this heat, there are physical and behavioural symptoms that your dog will display for you to be able to tell when they are fertile. The first season will usually start at 6 months of age, smaller dogs can be sooner & larger dogs can be later and this does vary, so try not to worry if your dog hasn't had their first season by 12 months or older. They then have a season every 6 months, or twice a year. A typical season can last 2-4 weeks. Bleeding usually occurs for 7-10 days, one week after bleeding has stopped however, is their MOST FERTILE time so take extra care during this week (PDSA, 2020).


Symptoms your dog may display when she is in heat include bleeding (yellow, brown or red discharge), a swollen vulva as well as, licking and urinating more than usual. The amount each dog bleeds varies, some dogs bleed heavily and some will hardly bleed at all, some dogs are also very clean so you may not notice the bleeding, if you are worried about how much your dog is bleeding, or the amount of swelling that is present, contact your vet for advice. There should be no white discharge present, this indicates an infection and your dog should be checked over by your vet.

Females in heat can be very receptive to any canine company, male or female, they can become more anxious or aggressive or over-friendly. They can also roam to find male dogs so be careful when opening front and back doors and ensure your back garden is secure and your dog is supervised when outside, I have heard of a litter of puppies coming about after a female dog has run away from home! Because of the points above, it is important to keep your dogs away from other dogs at all times during their season. Make sure to stay away from dog parks, keep your dog on a lead and avoid busy walking times. Your dog will also be feeling confused and out of sorts, so give her loads of cuddles & games to play at home. To prevent bleeding in your house, there are different types of dog pants available to buy, disposable and reusable, pets at home tend to have a good range. It would also be a good idea to get your dog ready to wear these before their heat starts and make it a positive experience, so that they become accustomed to wearing them in a positive way. If you wouldn't like to use these then limit your dog's access to carpeted areas, sofas and beds and use towels.

I hope all of this information has been useful to you and has put you at ease in time for your dog's first season, if you still feel unsure, your vet should be able to provide you with lots of information to prepare you. Finally, give your girl a big hug from me, it'll all be over soon 💖

Thank you for reading!

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