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Springbrz 03-13-2014 10:32 PM

Heat Cycle...Birds and Bees 101
Please tell me everything I need to know about heat cycles? How often they occur? How long they last? Signs of heat beginning? When is it over and how do I tell?
What should I do about males? How do I keep them away from my female when she is in heat? What signs will a male give that indicates my female is in heat?

I would like this to be a teaching/learning thread. So, please keep breeding opinions out of the conversation.

I'm asking for my own benefit and as a forum community service.

mego 03-13-2014 10:34 PM

my female's only sign of heat was swelling of her vulva. A few days later she had blood and then for almost 3 weeks she had discharge. After the swelling/discharge stopped I waited a few weeks before concluding that her heat was over. Sh'es only had one though

Springbrz 03-13-2014 10:39 PM

I started this thread in response to another thread that has been clouded and become embroiled in opinion and strong emotion.
I want educational facts here.

I ask for a couple of reasons. One being many years ago, I had to emergency spay two females as one bred with her brother because I thought she was no longer in heat when she stopped bleeding. It was before I had a computer(long, long time ago).

Now I have a 1 year old intact female that I believe has not had her first heat. I have absolutely no plan to ever breed her. However, I am waiting to spy here as it has been recommended her and other places that it is better for her growth and maturity.

I go to dog a dog park. When I arrive and when others arrive I always ask the sex of their dog and if it is intact or not. I try my best to keep a close eye on all interactions.
But to have those with more experience tell subtle warning signs would so very helpful.

Thanks in advance!

SuperG 03-13-2014 10:53 PM

My bitch is currently in her second full estrus cycle...and yes..her vulva is certainly swollen and she tends to lick her genitals when she cycles....the blood droplets make it obvious of course...I have also noticed she tends to be more lovey-dovey when she is in heat....which others have told me is odd. I, like you, am waiting for her to reach maturity before spaying her.

For what it is worth....when my bitch is in heat...I do not go to the dog park unless I put her in a smaller area which I can guarantee is unoccupied.....and rare if I even go to the DP when she is in heat....I believe ( could be wrong) but the second to third week of the estrus cycle when the bitch is accepting to be impregnated would not be a time to take her off leash unless you control the environment.

I was under the impression heat cycles occur about every 6-8 months or so with a larger breed like a GSD.

I would say between the calendar and the dog licking herself accompanied with a swollen vulva is what tells me, loud and bitch is in heat.


Springbrz 03-13-2014 11:04 PM

How big is the vulva supposed to be and how big is it when it's swollen? I have googled pictures and I always see the same one what looks like a quarter as a reference. My girls vulva has been quarter sized since like 5 months. Is she abnormal? Does anyone have pictures of both as a comparison?

Bear L 03-13-2014 11:06 PM

Mine starts to blow her coat few months before till the heat is here or over.

It comes about every 5 months.

Affectionate during heat. Normally she's not the affectionate type.

She comes out calmer each time. Like she's wiser and more mature.

She wears those heat cycle panties when inside the house.

Most males don't take notice of my female and my female has never shown interest to flag.

The most frustrating parts of the heat for me are the hair shedding (after 5 min of vacuum, hair just kind of piles up again) and remembering to take her panties off when I let her out... couple times she peed in it.

My neutered male dog doesn't notices the heat so there is no problem there. I got another neutered male since then so I'll have to see how the next one goes.

Bear L 03-13-2014 11:09 PM

For the vulva size - my girl never got back her pre-heat day's vulva size. It's not always big like when she's in heat but never that small size anymore. Same goes for the nipples.

There is NO WAY you'll miss a swollen vulva. It is pretty intimidating to look at for the first time if you've never seen it swollen.

Msmaria 03-13-2014 11:12 PM

Has anyone discussed flaging yet. I can always tell my shih tzu is in heat by her tail moving to one side when you touch it. My neutered dogs do now show minor interest however my female shih tzu will mount my male maltipoo and just bother him repeatedly when shes in heat. Its sad to watch sometimes.

Springbrz 03-13-2014 11:26 PM


Originally Posted by Msmaria (Post 5196930)
Has anyone discussed flaging yet. I can always tell my shih tzu is in heat by her tail moving to one side when you touch it. My neutered dogs do now show minor interest however my female shih tzu will mount my male maltipoo and just bother him repeatedly when shes in heat. Its sad to watch sometimes.

Tail flagging hasn't been discussed yet. What exactly does that mean?
You mention your dog moves her tail to one side when you touch it. Is that what tail flagging is? I thought it was they walked caring their tail up high as to show off their vulva.

middleofnowhere 03-13-2014 11:40 PM

No, flagging is moving the tail to the side.
My 4.5 yo had her first heat at 15 months. First indiction I notice is bleeding. Yes, the vulva swells - it will be bigger than it normally is. Heat cycle lasts three weeks. The intact male did show interest & she would also mount him. She can also be more affectionate (dopy a bit).

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