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  • Writer's pictureAureate

Managing that First Season

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

A Breeder's perspective on how to navigate the first three weeks of your female whippet's first season.

Hopefully you've had a chance to read through our post on "When to Spay and Neuter" your dog. If not, please read that post first to better appreciate the perspective we have at Aureate. You'll understand that any reputable Breeder will not want, nor will they permit any of their dogs to be sold to a home who will sterilize it before permitted in their contract. Some Breeders might even have a clause voiding their health guarantee if you sterilize your dog beforehand!

So it's safe to say in the vast majority of cases if you're getting a whippet, a female specifically, they will go through one season before they are spayed. Please keep in mind to work with a vet that is understanding of this. The vast majority of vets are educated to push for an early spay and neuter. They may even go so far as to say that allowing your bitch to go through one season will increase her odds of mammary cancer by 50%. Keep in mind, mammary cancer in dogs is not the same disease as breast cancer in people. First of all your dog's baseline risk of mammary cancer is 0.5-1% throughout their life. Letting her go through one season will only change that risk to 1-2%. That is a 50% increase in risk, but because the baseline population risk is very low, the doubling is actually inconsequential.

Additionally, if you have ongoing concerns you need to discuss them with your prospective breeder BEFORE you sign their contract.

Now let's talk about how you'll manage that first season. First off our female whippets at Aureate tend to go through their first season anytime between the age of 11 months and older. Some may go through at 9 months while others after a year. What we have noticed beforehand is an increase in urinary frequency. This should not result in accidents in the house. If that is happening you need to seek medical attention from your vet as a urinary tract infection may be present. In the days before, she may seem a bit more subdued and mopey in some cases. If there are other dogs at home, they may start sniffing her genital area or her pee. It's imperative that you do not have intact (non-neutered) males at home during your female's season. If you do, you should have worked out a plan with your breeder on how you will manage this BEFORE your female goes into season. We recommend 4 on the Floor dogwear for female panties and using a very thin pantyliner. We keep our girls covered during the day in their panties and anytime they are crated and overnight they are removed to give them a chance to clean themselves.

During this time, it's imperative your female is NOT around any non-neutered males otherwise an accidental litter may occur! Additionally, your whippet should NEVER be left alone in the yard unsupervised while in season as neighborhood males will pick up on the fact that she's in season. You can still take your girl for on leash walks, but it's important you inform any approaching dog walkers if their dog is off leash to leash their dog. EVEN if the dog is neutered. Your female will likely not appreciate all the attention to her genitals from unknown males. Even approaching female dogs can be interested in the foreign smell and annoy your girl as she'll feel rather vulnerable on leash and unable to get away. All of this to say, be sensible. Your whippet simply wants to keep on enjoying their life and just because they're in season doesn't mean all the rules go out the window. In fact, this is the time to be extra vigilant and respectful!

If you want to know a little bit more of what to expect, a female's season typically lasts 3 weeks in duration. The first week the discharge tends to start slow and become a bit more frequent at the end of the week. Pads will need to be changed as needed. The second week the discharge changes to a more sero-sanguinous in colour and this is typically when they ovulate and are fertile. DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. The last week the discharge can alarm some pet owners as it may become a little more bright red and a little heavier.

Usually, the ideal time to schedule a spay is a couple of months (2-3) after her season has finished. Keep in mind that you must wait until you are permitted to do so as per your contract with your Breeder. Young female whippets take a year or more after their first season to setup on their cycles before they are regular. So all in all if you are not permitted to spay until your female is 18 months or 2 years there is a very good chance she won't experience another season before she is spayed.

***Any discharge that is white or purulent or particularly foul smelling report to your breeder IMMEDIATELY as you may need to seek emergency veterinary care to rule out an infection in the uterus (pyometra). It is EXCEEDINGLY rare for a female to have this early in life, but not impossible. Just highly unlikely.

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