When is it the right time for your bitch?
Bitches have their first estrus (season or heat) after six months of age, although it can occur as late as 18 months to two years of age. Estrus recurs at intervals of approximately six months until late in life. During estrus, the female is fertile and will accept a male. The bitch should not be bred during her first season.
The bitch’s cycle is divided into four periods.
The bitch attracts males, has a bloody vaginal discharge, and her vulva is swollen. Proestrus lasts approximately nine days; the bitch, however, will not allow breeding at this time.
During this period, which also lasts approximately nine days, the bitch will accept the male and is fertile. Ovulation usually occurs in the first 48 hours; however, this can vary greatly.
Lasting 60 to 90 days, diestrus is the period when the reproductive tract is under the control of the hormone progesterone. This occurs whether or not the bitch becomes pregnant. False pregnancy, a condition in which the bitch shows symptoms of being pregnant although she has not conceived, is occasionally seen during diestrus.
No sexual activity takes place. Anestrus lasts between three and four months.