Female dogs and the heat
Most female dogs are in heat for the first time between the sixth and twelfth month. However, this also varies according to the size of the dog. Small dog breeds become in heat faster than large breeds, so that the heat can also occur with very large dog breeds only with the second year of life. The intervals between the runs usually amount to between seven and nine months, but it can also be up to twelve months.
There are four phases to recognize your female dog's heat and to understand her better.
Phase 1: The pre-heat (Proöstrus)
This is the phase in which bleeding occurs for the first time. This phase lasts between three to seventeen days. The amount of bleeding varies from dog to dog. Some do not notice it, because the female dogs "clean" themselves, others have a very heavy bleeding. For uncastrated males she is very attractive during this time, but she herself is not yet ready for mating and therefore not yet fertile. She will avoid males in this phase and becomes "bitchy", she can also bark or bite to keep the males away from her.
Phase 2: The oestrus
In this phase the female dog is actually fertile and therefore ready for mating. The heat can last between three and twenty-one days. During this time the female dog ovulates several times. The vaginal discharge becomes watery. This phase is also called "standing heat", since the bitch no longer frightens the males, but turns her tail to the side herself. When this happens, it is best to keep your female dog on a leash and distract by playing. Ideally, you should avoid places that are visited by many dogs in this phase to avoid stress for your female dog or the males present.
Phase 3: The aftermath (Metöstrus)
The symptoms of heat become weaker and sometimes not visible at all over time. Nevertheless, both female dogs that have been bred and dogs that have not bred produce the hormone progesterone. It can lead to milk production and a false pregnancy in female dogs that have not mated.
Phase 4: The anestrus
This is the "rest phase" in the course of the heat. Your dog is not fertile at this time. The next heat then begins again with the first phase.
Many owners often ask themselves through these phases whether a heat might not also be "prevented". The female dog's heat can only be prevented by castration. The hormonal cycle continues as normal, but it is no longer possible for the female dog to have puppies. Castration generally makes the dog calmer, calmer and more compatible with males. Above all, however, there is no longer a false pregnancy.
So if you own a female dog, you should be aware of these four phases to better understand your bitch and decide whether castration would be an option against your female dog's heat.