Like all other animals, dogs have a basic drive to reproduce and ensure the survival of their particular gene pool. However, the female will only mate at specific times, usually twice a year, when she is said to be on heat or in season. On the other hand, adult male dogs will mate at any time of the year and, if allowed to roam, may travel long distances to seek out a bitch that is on heat.

The bitch is usually in season for about three weeks, and she becomes increasingly attractive to males during this period. Her own behaviour may also change and she may become restless and more excitable, but it is normally not until the second week of her season that the bitch will allow the male to mate with her. However, all bitches are different and sometimes a male can mate a bitch as early as the first day of her season or as late as the last day. Therefore, be sure to keep your bitch well away from male dogs right throughout her season, unless you wish to breed.

Some bitches will show some of the signs of pregnancy one or two months after a season, even if she is not pregnant or has not even been mated. This is often referred to as a false, phantom or pseudo-pregnancy. Affected bitches may produce milk and display other signs of maternal behaviour, such as making nests and mothering toys or other items. Seek advice from your veterinary surgeon if this occurs.

Some aspects of reproductive behaviour in dogs can be a nuisance for their owners. Neutering, or some other form of reproductive control, may be advisable if you do not want to breed from your dog. Your veterinary surgeon will advise you on the options available.

This information is referenced from the Waltham website which can be located at www.waltham.com

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