If you have a female Cocker spaniel then it is important to understand and recognise the symptoms and times when she comes into season ( heat ).
If you wish to breed from your bitch or remove the risk of unwanted attention from male dogs, then you’ll need to identify when she is most receptive to breeding.
Cocker spaniels can be in season at any time, but the average age is between 8 months and a year. If your dog reaches two years of age without going into season, you should talk to your veterinarian about it. She may have gone through a silent period where no outward symptoms or indicators exist.
When a spaniel is about to come into heat, it will have milky discharge from the vulva for several days. She may lose interest in food and become restless.
Her vulva becomes swollen and her vagina discharges a bloody or pinkish fluid.
These signs usually begin at 6 months of age , but this should only be taken as an average guideline as dogs differ and she could come into season at a later age.
Signs to watch out for with your female Cocker spaniel
Many bitches display some behavioural changes before they come into season.
You’ll often find that she may become clingy and eat more or less. She may also want to sleep more frequently or could even become more active.
On many occasions bitches will slip with their housetraining and will ‘mark’ areas in the home.
If you do witness any changes then it could be a sign that she is due to come into season.
As her season approaches the dog’s vulva will become swollen. This may or may not be easy to see.
Her teats could also become swollen.
This is normally when she will begin to bleed and you should try to spot this as accurately as you are able.
This is important if you are planning puppies – it is also vital when keeping her away from male dogs.
She will bleed for about ten days, but sometimes this can be a shorter or longer period of time.
Towards the end of the bleeding, the discharge will become a clear fluid. If you notice anything other than blood colour or clear then you should talk to your vet in case your dog has an infection.
When the bleeding ends, this is the time that your bitch is ready for mating.
If you are planning a litter then the next ten days are when your dog should be mated.
If a litter is not intended then, for the next ten days, and ideally longer, you will need to keep your bitch under supervision – away from male dogs, of all breeds – this includes kennel mates, brothers, father, uncles etc.
Do not leave her unsupervised anywhere, including gardens or yards – dogs can be really persistent and ingenious at gaining access to bitches that are in season.
What can I do if my bitch is accidentally mated?
You should contact your vet immediately as they can administer a drug that acts like a ‘morning after pill.
This happened with one of my Springer spaniel bitches many years ago but the injection did not work as we were late in getting her to the vet.
Thankfully the dog was also a Springer spaniel who lived next door.
Prevention is always better than cure, but accidents do happen and both dogs and bitches can be devious and overly creative at gaining access to each other in these circumstances.
How often does a Cocker spaniel go into heat?
It is not unusual for a spaniel to go into heat twice in one year.
However, if this happens then you should be aware that there could be an underlying health issue. Seek advice from your vet.
On the whole the majority of bitches will have just one season per year, however, it is possible to have two seasons in the same year.
What is a silent season?
A silent season is where the bitch does not have a period of oestrus or heat.
Many females that are used for breeding will have a silent season between one and three years of age.
It is possible to mate a bitch during these silent seasons but you should talk to your vet beforehand as it would be advisable to check that she is in good health and that her uterus is free of infection.
I hope that you now have a better understanding of what is happening with your female Cocker spaniel when she comes into season.
It is important to keep her away if there are any male dogs in the vicinity, even if they are kennel mates or brothers.
Ten days after the bleeding has stopped this should be the time for mating.
As with all things concerning your dog’s health and wellbeing, you should always speak to and follow the advice of your vet who will understand your pet and is qualified to provide professional opinions and any relevant or required treatment.
Last update on 2021-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API