The heat in the bitch is a natural phenomenon that can be observed in the four-legged friends in fertile age. It is the heat phase in the sexual cycle of the female four-legged friends. But what actually happens in detail?
Fluctuity in the bitch: the course
The first heat of the bitch usually comes between the sixth and twelfth month of life - usually earlier for bitches of smaller breeds, later for larger ones. With very large dog breeds, the first cycle can only start at the age of two.
The intervals between the heat are usually between seven and nine months, possibly up to twelve months. With age, the intervals widen and the symptoms often soften - but dogs do not go into menopause like we humans.
The duration of the heat is about 21 days. The tolerance phase, in which the bitch in heat is ready for mating and admission, usually lasts only five or six days. The heat in the bitch takes place according to a certain pattern, which is divided into four phases:
Phase 1: Proestrus or the "pre-heat"
This phase of heat is quite easy for the dog owner to recognize, because at this time the bitch secretes a bloody vaginal discharge. It is particularly attractive for uncastrated males, so they hardly want to let it go.
The bitch is not yet fertile in this phase and reacts bitchily to her admirers: she dodges them, barks and can sometimes snap to get rid of them. This phase lasts an average of nine days, but can also be significantly longer or shorter, anything between three and 17 days is possible.
Phase 2: The estrus or the "heat"
The second phase of heat in the bitch occurs when the dog lady is actually fertile, i.e. ready for mating. During this process, there are several ovulations, the vaginal discharge of the bitch becomes watery.
For an average of nine days, she is now interested in her admirers. When a male approaches, it stops and turns its tail to the side. This is why this phase is also referred to as "standing heat".
Phase 3: Metestrus or the "afterburn"
Now the heat symptoms become significantly weaker or not visible in the course of the course, but a hormonal change will still ensure that you will discover some abnormalities in your four-legged friend in the next few weeks.
The production of the hormone progesterone, when the dog lady has been mated, provides ideal conditions for implantation of the embryo. It is also produced in bitches that have not been mated, and sometimes leads to hypocrisy and milk production.
Phase 4: Anestrus
This "rest phase" during the heat of the bitch takes place without any external signs and lasts from several weeks to months. It ends with the beginning of the next heat, i.e. the proestrus. The dog lady is not fertile in this phase.
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What are the signs of heat in bitches?
If the heat starts in dogs, attentive dog owners can already recognize from various symptoms that your bitch will soon be ready to mate. In addition to the bloody vaginal discharge, bitches begin to behave conspicuously.
Most owners notice that their four-legged friend loses urine more often than usual. She may even raise her leg as males do to mark. Frequent licking and cleaning of the vagina can also be an indication.
The interest of the male dogs around them increases, especially if they are not neutered. Sniffing, dancing around and inspections of the spots marked by the bitch will be observed more and more frequently.
Farewell upbringing: further signs of the bitch's heat
Even the most exemplary bitches sometimes forget their good dog training when they are in heat. Suddenly they no longer listen to their owners, run away or react aggressively to other dogs. Depending on the dog, various behavior changes can also appear as symptoms.
Some four-legged friends suddenly need a lot more pats than usual and are generally more affectionate. Some look restless and restless, while others sleep a lot and seem a little lacking in energy.
If your bitch is in heat, you should take care of your darling throughout the cycle. But how do you as the owner behave best when you meet uncastrated males with your dog lady, for example while walking?
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Bitch is in heat: what to do?
A bitch that is in heat can hardly save herself from admirers. For you as the owner, this means that you literally have to be careful like a shooting dog if you don't have any breeding plans with your four-legged friend.
Keep them away from males, especially in the fertile phase of their heat, and keep them on a leash even when no other dogs are around. There is a great danger that she would otherwise go on an excursion on her own to find potential partners.
When going for a walk, choose quiet zones
Areas where you can count on many other dogs should be avoided with a bitch in heat as much as possible. Unnecessary anger and stress are otherwise inevitable if you encounter a particularly intrusive male who may be out on a leash.
Your dog's behavior can then be very different. While some snatch at the intrusive admirers, others are more fearful and tend to hide from the male or even flee.
If a free-running dog comes towards you, it is best to speak to its owner in a friendly manner and ask him to put the four-legged friend on a leash. Because not only the risk of unwanted offspring is great: bitches in heat can also attack other four-legged friends.
Grooming and hygiene of a bitch in heat
Usually the bitch takes care of the hygiene during her heat and cleans herself carefully and often. However, it can still happen that dog ladies with heavy bleeding or not so clean predisposition sometimes miss a few drops of blood.
Therefore, some dog owners use special protective panties for their bitch in heat. This means that bright carpets, upholstered furniture and the like are safe from the drops of blood. But first, get your bitch used to this "garment" slowly and carefully. Otherwise, the protective panties mean unnecessary additional stress for them in the exciting times.
Can the bitch's heat be prevented?
The heat of the bitch can only be prevented by castration. During the sterilization, she can no longer get puppies, but still goes through the hormonal cycle with all the symptoms mentioned.
If you don't want any offspring from the outset, castration is recommended. Your bitch will become calmer and more balanced, will be more compatible with males and will no longer be prone to symptoms. In addition, early castration can reduce the risk of uterine cancer and certain types of tumors.
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