The Oestrus Cycle

Most female dogs come into heat at about 6 months of age. However, they can come on as early as 4 months and as late as 12 months.  From then on they will cycle approximately every 6 months.

The first sign of coming "Into Season" is often swelling of the vulva. This swelling can occur a week before bleeding, or the day before.  Other signs of heat include humping other dogs and/or objects and licking around the vulval area.

Normally she will be fertile on approximately day 12-18 after the bleeding starts (usually when the bleeding has slowed and thinned to pink).  But a bitch can remain in heat until day 21.  Each dog is slightly different but usually heat averages 2-3 weeks.

Many people think that when a dog has stopped bleeding they have come out of heat, but in a dog it actually means they have ovulated… therefore be careful of an unwanted mating and pregnancy.

It is not recommended to spay your dog when she is in heat as the reproductive system is a lot more vascular at this time and the chance of bleeding increases. Therefore we recommend spaying approximately 4-6 weeks after the bleeding stops.