If you never had your female dog spayed, she will experience heat cycles throughout her life. A dog in heat will go through many physical and mental changes during this time, acting a little more aggressive, experiencing hormonal changes, emanating a pungent smell, and other symptoms.
If you are looking for ways to keep your dog comfortable, healthy, and happy during this time, there are plenty of home remedies you can try.
In this article, we will be discussing :
- A female dogs heat cycle
- How to tell when your dog is in heat
- Home remedies to keep pets happy
- Why spaying your puppies is important
If you have female dogs at home and they are yearning for a mate, this article will provide you with tons of helpful tips to keep your help your dog, whether it is their first heat cycle or the 5th.
A Female Dogs Heat Cycle
Veterinarians suggest a female puppy get spayed right around six months of age; due to their first heat cycle starting anywhere between six and eight months.
Once your dog goes into heat, she is able to get pregnant at any time while she is ovulating, which lasts about nine days each time.
Dog’s in heat can be hard to control and contain, meaning if your female dog in heat gets loose and examples the yard, she can come in contact with a male dog and will mate, and chances are high they will become pregnant that first time.
There are four stages in female dogs heat cycles,
- Proestrus cycle-- During the first stage, your female dog will begin to show signs that she is in heat. Her vulva will swell, and she will start producing a bloody discharge. At this time, male dogs will start to notice her; however, she won’t show any interest.
- Estrus cycle-- In the second stage of a female dog’s heat cycle, your pet will be more interested in the male dog’s advances because she is now firtle. This stage can last up to nine days.
- Diestrus cycle-During the third stage; your dog is no longer fertile and shouldn’t produce any more bloody discharge. This part of the cycle will last roughly eight weeks.
- Anestrus-- The final stage of the heat cycle is your dog’s downtime. This time is the month with no symptoms or changes going on, leading up to the next heat cycle.
The amount of times a female dog goes into heat depends on her size and breed. Small dogs can experience these stages three to four times a year, medium dogs two to three times a year, and large dogs may only go into heat once or twice a year.
Signs Your Female Dog is in Heat
While female dogs will have well and bleeding when they are in heat, they are not usually in any type of pain. They are, however, hormonal and will act a little off.
There are multiple signs to watch for that can help you identify when your pet is in heat—knowing when she is in this cycle and which stage can help you help her.
When your dog goes into heat, she’s probably going to seem more moody than usual. Female dogs going through hormonal changes may nip, growl, or pick fights with other animals in your home. If this is the case, keeping other dogs at a distance is highly recommended.
You might also notice that your once “best friend” wants little to do with you during this time. Don’t worry; this is totally normal, and things should go right back to normal once this period is over.
The best thing to do right now is to respect her space and pay her all the attention you can if she lets you.
Increased Interest in Male Dogs
It is imperative you keep your girl on a leash at all times when she’s in heat and don’t let her out of your sight. Male dogs will smell her scent and pay extra attention to her, and that interest will be reciprocated.
Female dogs in heat can easily be detected by other dogs, and they can become very slick, getting under a fence, over a gate, or any other obstacle just to get in your yard.
A good tip is to keep your dog in your house as much as possible during this time.
As mentioned above, you can easily tell when your pup is in heat once you notice bleeding and swelling from your dog’s genitals, and she will be licking in that location frequently, mainly to keep herself clean; this has little to do with pain.
You might also notice her tail tucked close to her body or to one side.
Lastly, you might end up going for more walks than normal because she’s going to have to urinate more often than usual.
Home Remedies for A Female Dog in Heat
Dog owners who notice the changes in their pet when she is in heat often want to do everything they can to reduce her stress and uncomfortableness, helping to get her through these stages as easily as possible.
If you are looking for home remedies to help your dog and yourself get through a heat cycle, here are a few different ideas you can try.
Keep Her Occupied
One of these best ways to get females through these tough times is by keeping their minds focused on other things, like increasing exercise.
- Go for a walk
- Play in the yard (staying with her if your house does not have a fence)
- Pick up a few extra toys while you are out shopping
- Offer your puppy an extra treat or two
Keep your dog on the leash when you are outdoors because she will be on the lookout for a mate and will easily attract male dogs. You also want to avoid running or any extensive physical exertion; although it may be a little hard to do, it is important she doesn’t overdo it.
Tips: If you have multiple pups in the home, keep your dogs separate. Also, keep all of the toys separate to keep them from fighting. (A dog in heat can get a little possessive of her things)
Keep Her Comfortable
A female dog in heat is going to need a comfortable bed to sleep in so that she can get plenty of rest. While she may not be in pain, her body is going through a lot, and that can take a toll on your pup. You can increase this comfort by adding a heating pad to the bedding and keeping other pets away.
The best way to keep your dog comfortable, stay calm and sit with her, often avoiding loud noises or too much commotion in her space.
Keep Her Clean
During the heat cycle, it is essential to practice good hygiene, and she’s going to need frequent spot cleaning in order to eliminate any foul smell emanating from her body, especially when she is bleeding.
Many owners that are experienced with dogs in heat often use dog diapers to keep from finding blood droplets all around their house.
Not only do you want to keep this from making a mess, but any discharge sitting around will catch the attention of a male dog, as they can easily smell the female dog’s scent.
Provide Plenty of Healthy Food Options
It is very important your dog is getting plenty of nutrients whether you offer her wet or dry food and quality brand options, even though her appetite may not be normal. Dogs in heat tend to eat less than usual, but their appetite usually recovers pretty quickly.
If you are concerned your pup isn’t eating enough food, you can always contact your vet to get supplements to help keep her healthy during this time.
Ways to add other nutrients into your dog’s diet can be by providing her healthy, high-quality raw meats and fresh fruits and vegetables. Most dogs will love the extra options, and all animals appreciate the tasty treats.
This stage can be frustrating for you, but it is also upsetting for your dog. She knows she is feeling different, and these physical changes can cause stress and depression. If your dog seems sad or upset, try to play with her or snuggle her on the couch.
Never scold or punish your dog for any bloody mess she might make during this time. This is 100% unavoidable, and that is only going to make matters worse.
If you don’t choose to use dog diapers, consider putting her in a room without carpeting, which is easy to clean.
While it is okay to keep your dog in her own quiet space, never seclude her or ignore her, visit once in a while, whether she seems like she wants you to or not, and give her a quick pat on the head or kiss on the nose.
- If You Can’t Handle the Heat
- Does Dog Insurance Cover Spaying and Neutering?
- How to Choose the Best Heated Dog Bed
Utilize Natural Calming Products
There are plenty of calming products on the market today specially designed for your dog. These products are safe and can be extremely helpful in getting your furry friend the relief she needs during these rough few weeks.
Most of these products are essential oils that come in sprays and can be spritzed around the home or her room, giving her a space to feel safe and calm.
Some of these oils include lavender, chamomile, Bergamot, Egyptian geranium, and many others.
Make sure you check to see if the product is safe before you try it out and keep in mind you may need to experiment with a few different options before you find one that works for you.
Why You Should Spay Your Dog
While most owners know it is important to spay your female dog in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies and keep from having tons of puppies running around, not many of them know about the other health conditions and risks that are also a huge issue.
Many female dogs that are not spayed before they go into heat for the first time develop some pretty serious health issues, including breast tumors, Pyometra (when the usurous fills with puss), ovarian diseases, Eclampsia, and many other complications.
If you plan to breed your female dog, talk with your vet about the best ways to do so safely. If you do not want your pup getting pregnant, spaying is the best way to keep your girl as healthy as possible.
Breeding Your Dogs
It is in everyone’s best interest to get your dogs spayed. However, for those who wish to breed their female or male dog, speak with a vet that you trust and create a plan that is going to be safe for both animals involved in the process.
Your vet will be able to provide you with proper medications, information, and helpful tips to keep your dog and her puppies healthy throughout the entire pregnancy.
Signs Your Dog Might be Pregnant
If you do not get your dog spayed, there is a great chance for pregnancy every single heat cycle she goes through.
Male dogs do not have heat cycles like their female counterparts, meaning they are ready to breed at any time and just waiting for the right girl to come along.
If you suspect your dog might be pregnant, here are a few of the more common signs to look for.
- Vomiting or stomach aches in the first few weeks
- Enlarged breasts and bright pink nipples
- Milk will start to build-up
- Vaginal discharge may occur
- Enlarged belly
Summing Things Up
Whether intentional or not, if your pet is in heat and feeling uncomfortable and hormonal, there are many ways to keep her happy. Giving her plenty of rest, adding an extra walk, and providing plenty of nutrition are going to make this time easier for everyone. If you have any questions or concerns, always consider contacting your vet.