Female dogs come in ‘heat’ or ‘season’- a time when she will accept the male dog and pregnancy may occur. A bitch’s first heat usually arrives at 6-9 months of age. In this article, we will talk about female dog in heat behavior, things you can do when she is in heat as well as tips for calming your male dogs when a female nearby is in heat.
Female dogs in heat-Signs and Symptoms
The first heat, as stated before, is a major milestone in bitches’ lives. She might start showing noticeable temperament changes for a few weeks preceding the heat. Hormone changes cause several mood changes-you might notice your baby becoming a bit more clingy. She might even seem a little sad or excitable. Some bitches even exhibit signs of abdominal cramps in this period. Here are other signs of female dog in heat behavior:
- Increased urination
- Change in scent of urine
- Swollen vulva
- Bleeding or watery brown discharge
- Excessive licking of her private parts
The heat cycle lasts for about three weeks and repeats every 6, 8 or 10 months. Some dogs bleed during the entire 3 week period. Fertility period in unspayed bitches is tenth day to sixteenth day from the first day of heat. Your female dog will try to attract males during this period and she will be distracted and restless. Sometimes, a female will exhibit all signs of heat but will not bleed. These symptoms and signs may regress only to repeat every few weeks. This might be due to the fact that her estrogen levels are not high enough. Your vet can give additional estrogen supplements to bring your bitch in season in case you want to breed her.
Is your dog in pain during her heat?
Female dogs might appear to be moody, sad and lethargic during their heat cycle. Like humans, they do not experience pain, even though as owners we may read their signs and symptoms as that of being in pain. Unlike human menstruation, female dogs do not shed their endometrial lining during their “period”. They merely become fertile during the heat or estrus cycle. So, your dog is not experiencing pain even though you might think so. If she continues to show signs of pain while getting up or lying down, have her checked by your vet to rule out tumors.
Spaying your pets
If you are planning to neuter or spay your dogs, it is best done in the puppy stages. There are many advantages to spaying or neutering your puppies:
- Calmer dogs
- Lower health risks
- Less males hovering around your female
- No false pregnancy to worry about
- Fewer behavior problems, lesser aggression
- No chance of pyometra which is an infection that requires emergency surgery.
What to do if dogs try to mate during heat?
If you have an unneutered dog in the same house as a female in heat, be prepared to hear a lot of whining and howling. Male dogs will try to mark their territory around your home. Some might even try to dig under the fence or jump over into your yard. Never leave your female in heat even for one second with an unneutered male. No matter what size or shape, the male will try to mount your female. If this occurs, do not try to separate the dogs. The dog’s physical tie can last for almost an hour and if you try to separate them, it could lead to injury. Simply keep the dogs calm. If you wish to avoid pregnancy, go to your vet for a shot that aborts the litter. He
How to calm a dog in heat
- What to do when your male dog is in heat: Keep your dog indoors!
- Your female/male dog in heat is quite likely to lose appetite. Do not force them to eat. You can try feeding them some broth, hamburger or rice.
- Comfort the dog by talking to them in soothing voice.
- If your female dog in heat bleeding appears to be in pain, call your vet for pain relief medication.
- To calm a male dog in heat, it is best to get it neutered. This will minimize his need to seek a female in heat and also reduce the risk of him running away.
How to handle female dog bleeding during heat
A female dog in heat bleeding learns to take good care of herself after the first or second heat cycle. Very rarely will she leave stains around the house. However, sanitary napkins and female dog in heat diapers are also available these days to help you protect your carpets and sheets.
You can also confine her to a room that is easy to clean.
How to postpone a female dog from coming in heat
Your vet can give pills or injections to postpone the heat in case you have to travel or in case you want litter spacing. A single hormone injection or tablets per day can help delay onset of estrus cycle for as long as needed.
How to bring a female dog on heat?
If you wish to breed your dog, you can use pills called ‘Bitch Pills’ to induce heat in dogs. P.G 600 also works to keep female dog heat cycles regular. A natural trick to bring a dog in heat is to bring her in the vicinity of another female in heat. If your dog’s heat cycles are irregular, you must get her checked by a vet.