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Dogs/Split Heat


Hi, I believe my dog Angel is in a split heat. She is 3 and has always had normal cycles along with my other female. They usually cycle together. Milly hasn't come into heat yet.
Angel had very light blood on day 1 and 2. I only noticed by wiping her with a tissue. Day 3 she stopped.
It is now day 12. She still isn't bleeding. Though she has been swollen for the last few days (not as much as normal tho).
Our male is interested by sniffing and licking. But not obsessed yet. He is acting like he normally does when its very close to estrus. And he isn't eating as much. Which is typical also when its close.
My vet said he sees this a lot and just watch for signs of infection which I have been. She is not discharging and acting otherwise normal.
With that being said..can you give me any insight on split heat? Will she pick up where she left off? Once I see blood will I start over with day 1 or will it be different this time. Last year she bred on day 10. With our male acting this way does this mean it will be very soon? Are dogs usually successful to breed with split heat? Another thought is that she is waiting for my alpha female to go into heat first. Thank you for any info you can give me. She has thrown me for a loop! Paula

To tell you the truth, I have researched this as well, but have not had any success in this area.  Some say just wait and see, other's say when she comes back in count to 7 days.  The one thing your vet said that was very important was to watch for infection.  Any discharge at all that is milky or yellow means you only have hours to get to the vet or she will be dead.  That being said.  I have some questions.  When was she bred last.  One of the causes of abnormal heat cycles can be vitamin mineral shortages.  If she hasn't fully recovered from a previous litter this could cause the split heat.  Another reason can be progesterone levels being off.  This can be checked by the vet.   When my dog had the split heat she never really accepted the male the whole time, even when he was obsessed.  So I skipped that time and added a vitamin mineral supplement to her food.  The next time she came in strong and bred just fine.
I have also had silent heats(no blood at all), worse than split heat because you don't know what the heck is going on.  Sometimes that is for the same reason(vitamin mineral deficiency), other times it is just slow maturity.  I'm sorry I can't give you a solid answer, but it is one of those things that is an abnormality so doesn't react the same way with each female dog.

I would let two things be your guide if you still want to try to breed her.  The size of the vulva and the male and female interest in each other, which is what you are already doing.  You can try the six seven day count, but I personally haven't had that work.  

Please, please though watch for the discharge  I know several breeders who are not watchful and lost their beautiful bitches to pirometria.  I discovered a discharge on my female and recognized it.  I brought her in immediately and the vet said "Two more hours and she would have been gone"
FYI  that was the second time she had it.  The first time was treated with medicine, but it came back the next heat so I spayed her.
It doesn't sound like you are in danger of that, but you can't be too careful.  You will have to watch her this time if she doesn't breed.  The infection can come between one to four months after her heat cycle.  All breeders should be aware of this.
I hope this information helps a little.


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Nancy Perry


You can ask me anything on dog training, dog breeding, dog grooming. What type of dog you should get. Pertinent facts about different breeds. I am also specifically knowledgeable about terriers and the diets that help maintain coat excellence. I have trained and helped owners train their dogs.


I have worked in dog training for 35 years. I have been a dog groomer for 25 years..

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