How To Calculate The Dog Heat Cycle
The average dog heat cycle may be between 4 or 6 to 7 months but it is really of an individual basis. To learn more about your female dog's cycle, this video contains all the information you are looking for.
The heat cycle or the season, classically in a bitch, is anything between 6 and 7 months. Sometimes, it's as short as 4 months and in other bitches, they may go into season every year. Classically, the season is 3 weeks, maybe as short as 7 to 10 days, but may extend up to 4 weeks.
It's very much an individual thing so don't worry if your bitch doesn't seem to fit the absolute norm. The vulva normally becomes more swollen and she starts producing a bloody discharge. She'll probably start attracting male dogs too and as soon as this starts happening, you should treat that as the first day of her season and this part of the season, we call it proestrus.
As time develops, the bloody discharge almost starts to disappear, may become more mucusy or straw-like in colour and she's still attracting the dog and may actually allow a dog to mate her and this is the period that we call oestrus. It normally lasts 7 days, it may last only 3 days and again, it can last up to 21 days. There's a huge variation in different bitches.
After the oestrus period, there's the period of metoestrus. The vulva shrinks back down, she no longer is attractive to dogs and even if they are attracted to her, she's certainly not going to be attracted to them and this period lasts anything up to 63 days. She can be pregnant or she can go into a period called metoestrus and she can almost exhibit exactly the same signs as if she's pregnant if she develops a false pregnancy or a phantom pregnancy and again, this is absolutely normal.
It's all to do with the normal hormone changes during this season of the bitch. After day 63, she then goes into a period of what we call anoestrus. Everything is totally settled down and normally lasts 4 to 5 months until she comes back into season again.
During that period, she has no attraction to other dogs. You're not going to see any development of her mammary glands and her vulva will have shrunken back completely to normal and then, the cycle continues again. .