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Your Bitch in Season


The time at which puberty is reached varies from bitch to bitch. On average the majority of bitches have their first season at any stage between 6 and 12 months. If your bitch has not had a season by the age of 2 we advise that she be checked by a vet. The time between one season and the next varies considerably, on average though the seasons are approximately 6 months apart.

A season lasts approximately 3 weeks. The first stage is called ‘pro-oestrus’ and lasts on average 7- 10 days. It is during this time that the bitch’s vulva will swell and a bloody discharge will develop. You will find that the bitch will ‘tease’ other dogs at this stage but will not stand to be mated.

The second stage is called ‘oestrus’ and also lasts on average 7-10 days. It is at this stage that she becomes receptive to the male and will stand to be mated. The majority of bitches will have a clearer discharge at this stage but some will continue to bleed. The third and final stage is called ‘met-oestrus’. Your bitch will no longer be receptive to male attention.

It is advisable that during your bitch’s season she be kept on a lead at all times when out to prevent any unwanted pregnancies. It cannot be stressed enough that each bitch is an individual and her season may not always follow the textbook scenario. If you are at all concerned do not hesitate to contact the surgery for advice.

If an accidental mating does occur, two forms of ‘contraceptive’ injections exist, either injection can have serious side effects and their repeated use is not encouraged. Please contact the surgery for more information.

Occasionally bitches experience a ‘false pregnancy’.  This usually occurs 6 weeks post season.  This is completely normal. Symptoms vary but can involve being possessive with toys, milk production/mammary development and anorexia. Treatment can be instigated although may not be necessary and should be discussed with a vet. It is thought that if a bitch has a phantom pregnancy once, it is likely to recur after each season. It may, therefore, be advisable to have the bitch  neutered but this can be discussed with your vet.