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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

So my 6 month old pup has been acting a little strange recently. We first noticed a spot of blood on our carpet around a week or so ago, then another on our kitchen tiles a day or so later. We assumed this was her coming into heat given her age, even though she is at the young end of the timeframe for being in heat.

Since those first instances, we’ve noticed nothing more, although she always has been a clean dog and so it is hard to tell. I wouldn’t say her vulva is particularly swollen, nor have we noticed male dogs making more of a fuss than usual over her, not yet anyway. We have, however, noticed a massive change in her wanting to go for walks. It’s now very difficult to encourage her out of the backgarden and down to drive to the road for a walk. She just doesn’t seem to want to go which is unusual for her. When we do get out she sniffs much more than she used to the whole way round.

Any ideas if this is likely to be her entering her first heat? Or is there another likely explanation?

Thanks!
 

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What colour is the blood? If it’s bright red it’s more likely to be coming from some sort of cut. I only say this because my girl had her first season then about 6 weeks later we noticed drops of blood, bright red, and panicked because we have an entire male in the house too. Turned out it was coming from a minute nick in her ear (much to my relief). It is possible she could be in season, the first thing I’d do is to keep checking her vulva for signs of blood with a piece of tissue or kitchen paper. Try to do it after she’s been lying for a bit and get in quickly before she gets any chance to clean herself. I know breeders check by inserting a tiny cotton bud into the opening of the vulva and checking for discolouration but I wouldn’t recommend that unless you know what you’re doing though.
 

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After she has been laying down for a while, when she first stands, give her a minute for any discharge to drain down, then wipe her vulva with a toilet tissue to see if there is any discharge showing.

But as you first noticed it a week ago any discharge might be red blood coloured, but could be more pale pink/watery. The discharge often changes a week or so in. This is the time when she is likely to be at her most fertile.

Have a read of this. I wrote it some time ago.

The first thing to remember is that all bitches feel their seasons differently so making hard and fast rules of both identifying the start and the finish difficult, but saying that, there are plenty of little signs if you know what you are looking for.

Starting at the beginning, if you are around males at all, they can often tip you off up to 6 weeks before by increased interest. Not wild interest but a bit more sniffing of her than usual. I’ve had bitches who get very slap happy in their working on the run up to seasons, not really got their mind on working, but others would work right up to the day! (But by the same token I’ve had bitches who will start working happily the day the season finishes but others who always finish up with a broody 60 days!) You often find bitches will start urinating more just before or during the season, in effect they are scent marking, a sort of, “Hi boys, I’m here!) Add to those symptoms, the vulva swells, usually a few days before the season begins. (Although very occasionally not until the season actually starts.)

OK, I know all that sounds a bit vague, all maybe’s, occasionally’s and sometimes, but such is the nature of ladies! What I’m saying is, look out for the subtle differences, particularly from around 6 months on. As soon as I start to get the feeling that the season is imminent I start on the “Toilet tissue test.” When a bitch is in season she starts losing a bloody discharge from her vulva. In the initial stages there is not a lot of discharge, but when sleeping it collects inside, to drain out when she stands. So shortly after first standing after sleeping I give her vulva a wipe with a toilet tissue. This makes it so much easier to find. But remember, it does take a minute or so to drain out, so don’t be in too much of a hurry to wipe her. The earliest I’ve had a bitch come into season is 5.5 months and the latest 14 months. But those are not the extreme limits. I’ve heard of bitches starting well before 5 months at one end and as late as 2 years at the other extreme. (Though I do wonder when a bitch comes in for the first time at 2 years old, whether the bitch might have had a very mild season earlier which the owner missed?)

The season it’s self lasts for approximately 21 days, although on rare occasions it can drag on for 28 days. The bloody discharge normally builds up during the first week, usually becoming paler and more watery during the second week and at this point the discharge may stop, or might continue for the entire time. But don’t be fooled! Even if it does stop she is still in season and is actually reaching her peak! In fact, if you were mating her then it is the 12th to 14th day when they are usually at their most receptive. Don’t be surprised if she is rather quiet during her season. It is not always the case but some can be very subdued. They often drink heavily. (Natural really when you remember they are losing body fluids.) They also tend towards rather more urinating. It’s all perfectly natural and nothing to worry about.

During the season it’s safer to not take her out, and certainly NEVER off lead. If I do take mine out during the early part of the season I put them in the car and drive a way down the road to break the scent trail back to the house. I walk them on lead around a local industrial estate where I know there will be no other dogs. But I never take them out during the second week to the end of the season. In fact many bitches really don’t want to do much during that time so it’s no great hardship.

It’s never easy to determine the exact end of the season. It’s something which just gradually fades away. Even the swollen vulva does not go down straight away, and in fact never does return to the size it was before the first season started, she is a lady now, not a baby! For this reason it pays to be a little careful when you first go out after a season. I normally take mine out after 21 days, but take them at a time and to a place where I’m not likely to find other dogs. But after 28 days I relax and get back to normal.

So you see, it’s not an exact science. But don’t be frightened of it. The little signs will be there, it’s just that until it happens for the first time you will not really be sure which of the signs will apply to your dog. The thing you will find if you read some of the posts on here is that after the event most are saying that things were far easier than they thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both! I’ll try with a tissue in the morning to see if there’s any blood. Blood did seem more bright red so possibly a cut but I did have a good look and couldn’t see anything. Thanks also for all the additional info!
 

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I can’t hang around because Fred is fastidious in cleaning her at every opportunity, as he does with all my girls 🙄🤣🤣
 
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