When a female dog comes in heat (or comes in season), she discharges variable amounts of blood in the 10-14 days of the heat cycle. Most bitches clean themselves but it is also up to the owners to keep their girls clean. In this guide, we will discuss some important tips to keep your dog clean and odor-free when she is in heat.
First, let us answer some important FAQs about a bitch in heat.
Grooming a female dog in heat – FAQs
Why does my dog scratch and chew herself when she is in heat?
Some female dogs tend to chew and scratch themselves a lot when they are in season. This is usually due to hormonal changes but many other factors can also cause itchy skin. There are several things you can do to ease her discomfort. You can apply some Aloe gel or a bit of coconut oil to the areas she scratches. Make sure you give her good-quality, hypoallergenic food. Also, ensure that her nails are trimmed so that she does not get skin infections.
Can you bathe a dog in heat?
It is a good idea to bathe your pet a couple of times a week, while she is in heat. (But do note that no shampoo, pills, or sprays can mask the pheromones or odor she gives off during this time. After all; this odor is specially designed to attract mates. So if you are not planning to mate your girl, do keep her indoors at all times. Male dogs are bound to get attracted to her scent and they will try to come near her. If you have a male dog at home, you must keep them separated.)
Bathing a dog in heat can help keep her clean and if your dog is a fastidious groomer, she will likely welcome a bath. Warm water can soothe your pet and ease cramps and fatigue. It can also help you clean her discharge.
However, some bitches tend to get irritated and moody during their hat cycle and might even try to bite if you force them to take a bath. Therefore, assess your pet’s mood. If she seems willing, then it is certainly a good idea to bathe her. A dog will remain in heat for up to 3 weeks, but this time period can vary depending on factors like her age, breed, etc. You can always bathe her after her heat is over.
What should I use to bathe my dog in heat?
Use a vet-approved mild shampoo to wash your girl. If your pet is very itchy, you can use oatmeal or aloe-based shampoo to wash her. This will soothe the irritated skin. Wet her fur completely with warm water. Dilute the shampoo and start gently rubbing along the back to lather up. Make sure you wash her rear and her belly area carefully.
During the peak heat cycle, a bitch’s vulva will be swollen. When she is ready to accept a male, she might move her tail to one side when you run your finger down her spine. However, some dogs might yelp or whine when you accidentally touch the private or rear area while bathing. So be careful. If your pet shows signs of distress, stop whatever you are doing. Dry your dog after the bath and sprinkle some antifungal powder all over to keep moisture at bay.
What else can I do to when my dog is in heat?
You can use dog diapers and baby wipes to keep your dog clean during the heat cycle. Dog diapers are especially convenient as they prevent the discharge from staining the rugs, carpets, bedding, and other linen. These days, you can buy disposable and reusable/washable varieties of dog diapers and both varieties are good. They prevent stains, keep your pet dry, and also prevent excess licking of the vulva (which could result in urinary tract infections).
You can wipe down your dog several times using gentle baby wipes. Be careful: some dogs tend to bite or snarl when you try to clean them. Every dog is different, so you must assess your pet’s mood. If your pet allows you, clean her private area gently. Disinfecting baby wipes can also help prevent germs and minimize a chance of infections.
How to keep your dog in heat clean between baths?
What’ll you need
- Disposable, unscented, hypoallergenic wipes. Buy the ones made for babies.
- Antibacterial, antifungal spray or lotion
- Vet-approved shampoo. Preferably use one with oatmeal or aloe to soothe the skin.
- Unscented talcum powder preferably one with antibacterial and antifungal ingredients.
- During the heat cycle, a dog’s private area is the perfect environment for bacteria and germs. As a result; they need to be carefully washed, dried, and sometimes, even medicated.
- Cleanse the private area with the wipes or if you plan on bathing your pet, use a vet-approved shampoo.
- Also, clean your pet several times a day using the wipes. Carefully clean around the vulva, the folds of the skin, and around her anus.
- Sprinkle unscented talcum powder to deter bacterial growth, keep the skin dry, and also reduce moisture.
What to do if the period of heat lasts for longer than normal?
A bitch’s season lasts for about 3 weeks. Anything longer than that could indicate poor overall health, disease of the ovaries, or womb. A previous miscarriage can also result in longer heat cycles. If this is the case, do consult a veterinary surgeon.
It is not easy taking care of a dog in heat. She is loaded with estrogen and you cannot leave her unsupervised even for a minute outdoors. Her scent can drive all dogs (neutered and intact) in her vicinity crazy. If you are not planning to mate your pet, it is best to get her fixed preferably before she gets her first heat or as advised by your vet. To keep her clean when she is on heat, use the above grooming tips. You can use a mild shampoo to bathe her or even use baby wipes to keep her privates clean and odor-free.