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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
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Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS.
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what is a silent heat, how can you tell when the female is

Resolved Question:

what is a 'silent heat', how can you tell when the female is ready to breed if there is little to no bleeding? My girl is 'flagging' her tail and jumping another girl, her vulva appears to be swelling but there is not bleeding as yet. What happens if my male gets to her now?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for the questionCustomer

While I cannot diagnose this over the internet I can tell you the following :

1. A silent heat is when the hormonal changes take place but nothing very much is obvious from the outside appearance of the dog and bleeding does not occur, they still may be attractive to male dogs. From a health point of view it is of little concern.

2. Dogs will normally only conceive in a very narrow window in time which is between day 11 and day 13. You would normally count day 1 as the day of the first show of blood. Of course with a silent season you are going to be unsure of day one but a female dog will usually only accept the male at this point so you would do no harm in letting them get together.

3. Your vet will be able to determine which stage of the cycle your dog is in by the use of simple blood tests or looking at a vaginal smear under the microscope.

If I have not covered your question fully enough or you would like to ask more I will be online for the next hour or so and I will be at your disposal.

Scott Nimmo BVMS MRCVS
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

my vet said something about the females may allow the males to mate too early before ovulation, then might not stand again later because she thinks she has already done the trick, she said not to let them get together..................but I'm confused...............I thought when the bitch flagged her tail and the male was interested that everything should be all right from there? Do the bitches 'stand' even when they are not ready?

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 6 years ago.
Hello again,

1. You are right, usually the female dog will only let the male dog mate with her when she is ready. However this is not always the case and a minority of female dogs will accept the male earlier in the season.

2. Some breeders will leave the male and female dogs together throughout the season and a number of matings will take place. This would obviously be the most natural way to handle things and the way most likely to get your bitch pregnant.

3. The best way forward here would be to determine exactly where in the heat cycle your dog is. Your vet can carry out a simple test to determine this and then all your doubts will be taken away.


Dr Scott Nimmo, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 17765
Experience: BVMS, MRCVS.
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