View Full Version : question about first heat

2nd September 2007, 02:28 AM
I have a 5 1/2 month old female puppy and was just wondering the signs to look for when she is going into her first heat. I have not had a puppy in years, so I really don't know what to look for. I just want to be sure I know when she is heat, so that I don't take her to the dog park etc. Thanks, Judy and (Dixie)

2nd September 2007, 02:49 AM
Hi Judy,

With a long coated dog you probably have to keep your wits about you... and a box of white tissues.

Some of the signs can be (but may not necessarily be):
enlarged vulva;
pale straw coloured discharge;
or unmistakable blood;
change in mood;
excessive grooming (a polite way of saying licking her vulva);
male dogs paying unusual attention to her nether reigons;
hussy behaviour ;)

White tissues are your best friend. If you think she may be coming into season, just dab her vulva with a white tissue and if there is a pale to red discharge on it, then that could be a sign that she is in season.

2nd September 2007, 03:06 AM
Thanks Caraline, another question. On average (if there is such a thing) when do cavalier puppies go into their first heat? Does size or weight make a difference? Judy and (Dixie)

2nd September 2007, 05:30 AM
My girl just finished her first two weeks ago. She came in right on 8 months old. Her personality slightly changed the week before and I was checking daily when I noticed it. She decided to come in on the day I was away and she was home with my fiance. I found blood spots on my new cream pillows when I came home. :yikes

Zoey was a fairly heavy bleeder and needed to wear panties for almost all of her season. She also was on the long end of things with it lasting almost the full month.

2nd September 2007, 11:46 AM
I have had a girl have her first heat as early as 5 1/2 months old, and others who have been almost a year old, size/weight have not seemed to play a role. On average with my lot around 7-9 months is pretty normal.

One thing I have noticed over the years though is that daughters often follow their mothers patterns, so it might be worth asking your breeder how old Dixie's Mum was when she had her first heat!

Another common sign is they will need to pee slightly more and some bitches will "cock" one of their back legs at the end of their "courtsey", really funny to see! :lol:

First heats can be more prolonged as hormones are still sorting themselves out, also many young girls are not as keen to keep themselves clean below either, also I have had young girls literally refuse to eat at this time, it is pretty confusing for them I suppose, I for one would NOT like to go through puberty again which is basically what is happening to them!!

2nd September 2007, 01:58 PM
Ohhh... I'm so glad I have boys - I don't think I could cope with all those hormones!

My mum had girls and you could guarantee when it was season time we ALL had a season :o - must of been all those hormones flying around!

13th September 2007, 07:23 PM
We noticed the first few drops of blood on Hermione yesterday. She's 7.5 months old (her sister has not started yet). This is all new to me so I'm not 100 per cent sure as to what to expect. Is she now housebound for 3-4 weeks? Will she be bleeding that long? If we are really unlucky, her sister will come on straight after... Ouch!:eek:

13th September 2007, 08:20 PM
Yes, you need to keep them in totally for the full period of their heat -- as the pro breeders will tell you, your female can be tied and mated in seconds while out on a brief walk, and that is with your best efforts to keep her isolated -- male dogs can be very aggressive (including very large breed males) in trying to reach a female in heat, including jumping garden walls or going for your female (or for you, to get at her) while on a walk. You need to take confinement very seriously for the full four weeks of a heat, every single time they come into heat.

If you are not aware of the things to watch for and how to protect your females, I am sure your vet will be helpful in this regard. :thmbsup:

Why not spay them, though? I assume you know the statistics -- 25% chance of mammary cancer in unspayed females and a high chance of unspayed females eventually having potentially fatal pyometra after a heat at some point? Most vets strongly feel females should be spayed for health reasons and also to prevent unwanted puppies -- it is hard enough to sell purebred cavaliers in the UK (there's an excessive number on the UK breed club puppy register with breeders reporting problems rehoming, meaning they will have the responsibility of those dogs as part of their own households going forward) but unwanted, unexpected litters of mixes are always hard to rehome in the UK and often end up being euthenised.

In addition you may find you have serious behaviour problems with two unspayed females in the house. While they get along thru puppyhood, they often begin to fight as adults.

A more detailed look at why: (from Los Angeles vets Mar Vista, http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_the_canine_spay.html)

Sterilization of the female dog is commonly performed surgically via the "spay," in which both ovaries and the uterus are removed. It is a major surgery, though a commonly performed one. This web site hopes to address the usual questions owners have regarding this procedure.



A female dog spayed before her first heat will have a near zero chance of developing mammary cancer. After the first heat, this incidence climbs to 7% and after the second heat the risk is 25% (one in four!). It is easy to see that an early spay can completely prevent what is frequently a very difficult and potentially fatal form of cancer.

But is it too late if a dog is already past her second heat? No, in fact spaying is important even in female dogs who already have obvious tumors. This is because many mammary tumors are stimulated by estrogens; removing the ovaries, the source of estrogens, will help retard tumor spread.

Spaying removes both the uterus and both ovaries and is crucial in the prevention as well as the treatment of mammary cancer.


The female dog comes into heat every 8 months or so. There is a bloody vaginal discharge and attraction of local male dogs. Often there is an offensive odor. All of this disappears with spaying.


"Pyometra" is the life-threatening infection of the uterus which generally occurs in middle-aged to older female dogs in the six weeks following heat. The hormone "progesterone," which primes the uterus for potential pregnancy, does so by causing proliferation of the blood-filled uterine lining and suppression of uterine immune function. It is thus easy during heat for bacteria in the vagina to ascend to the uterus to cause infection. The uterus with pyometra swells dramatically and is filled with pus, bacteria, dying tissue, and toxins. Without treatment, the pet is expected to die. Despite her serious medical state, she must be spayed quickly if her life is to be saved.



The older unspayed female dog has an irregular heat cycle. There is no end of cycling comparable to human menopause. If you still decide against spaying, be very familiar with the signs of pyometra. (These include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, excessive thirst, marked vaginal discharge).

For more information on pyometra: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_pyometra.html.



The female dog's reproductive tract is dormant for most of the year. It only activates for the three week period of heat. This means that from a behavioral stand point, the female dog acts spayed most of the time. It is unlikely that any change will be evident.

Also see:


And on behavioural reasons to spay/neuter:


13th September 2007, 08:43 PM
Thanks, Karlin. I'll read the links. We do intend to spay them before the next heat.:)

13th September 2007, 09:17 PM
My breeder told us to wait until Bella has her first heat to spay her. She said their skulls are still developing and spaying before the first heat can cause thier heads to not fully grow to the shape and size that they should be?? We took her word for it and were playing to wait until after her first heat to spay but now I am worried. She is 7.5 months old now - should we rush and get her spayed before she comes into heat or should we just wait it out now and do like we planned. The cancer stats scare me as well as the having to confine her for the whole heat as that is impossible for us to do.

13th September 2007, 10:00 PM
First of all most bitches bleed for the first 10-12 days of heat, this is commonly considered to be the dangereous time, it IS NOT!! Average day of heat for mating is 10-14 days with some bitches being "ready" considerably later than that even! My first bitch, Tiffany, was the result of a 20th day mating! :yikes: so it is very important to keep them housebound/restricted for a full 4 weeks really. On the flip side of the coin, a very good friend of mine had a bitch who was mated by her own son on day 4 of heat, not thinking she would conceive my friend did not consider the "mis-allience" jab and was horrified when it became obvious her girl had actually conceived!! :yikes:

Speaking purely from personnal experience they can come into heat at anything from 5 months onwards, I have had bitches come into first heat as late as 14 months. Ironically all of my girls who have had later heats have been unrelated Tri-colours!! WEIRD EH??

I too prefer for my girls to have had thier first heat before they are spayed, this gives their bodies, and most importantly, their heart and lungs, a better chance to mature and withstand a general anaesthetic better.

Just my take on things!! :thmbsup:

14th September 2007, 02:06 AM
Actually, my breeder recommends waiting until she is a year old before she is spayed. I am definitely going to get her spayed at that time. I was just trying to follow the breeder's advice. She is a highly regarded breeder. Judy and Dixie

14th September 2007, 05:34 PM
Thanks, Cathryn!:)

14th September 2007, 07:23 PM
A lot of it is personal opinion, I think. Myself, I went through a heat with Holly, and swore never again- so I got Amber done at 6 months before she came in heat for the first time. Incidentally, she's remained a very slender, colty thing- don't know if there's a connection! This is why I like girls- get them spayed and no more issues. :)