If you’re a dog owner, then you know that female dogs go into heat once every few months. When a female dog is in heat she requires more care and attention.
As a pet owner, you often have to worry not only about the possibility of pregnancy but also about ensuring your beloved pet stays healthy and comfortable.
There are a few fundamentals you need to know about caring for a female dog in heat and how to make them as comfortable as they possibly can be.
How to care for a dog in heat
To help you provide your pet with the best possible care, we will highlight ways to care for a dog in heat and answer the most common questions about the canine estrous cycle.
1. Ensure your dog is comfortable
The first thing you need to do when taking care of a dog in heat is to make sure your dog has a comfortable place to rest. She may be more tired than usual and may not want to move around as much during this time. You can provide her with a soft bed or blanket to make her feel more comfortable.
You can also use a towel or padded surface if a soft bed is not available. Just make sure that your dog can move around comfortably and not feel cramped or uncomfortable.
Rest is important for a dog in heat because it allows her body to recover from the strain of the cycle. Additionally, make sure that she has plenty of fresh water to drink.
2. Provide a calm and relaxing environment
Dogs in heat can be hypersensitive to their environment. They may become agitated or nervous easily and may not respond well to loud noises or chaos.
If you want to take care of a dog in heat in the best way possible, try to provide her with a calm and relaxing environment. This may mean keeping noise levels down and avoiding busy places. If you are going to be away from home, make sure to leave your dog in a calm and safe environment.
Such an environment might be a kennel or a room where she can feel safe and secure. You may also consider using a calming product such as an anxiety wrap or a thunder shirt.
3. Provide nutritional support
Dogs in heat may also require some additional nutritional support. This is because they are going through many physical and emotional changes. You can provide your dog with a portion of high-quality dog food that is specifically designed for pregnant or nursing dogs.
You can also give her multivitamin supplements to ensure she gets all the nutrients she needs. Additionally, make sure she has plenty of fresh water to drink and exercise.
Dogs in heat should eat foods rich in protein, calcium, and other nutrients. You can also give her a small amount of cooked meat or eggs.
4. Be gentle with your dog
Another good way to take care of a dog in heat is by being gentle rather than aggressive or reprimanding. Shouting at her or getting very physical with her can easily cause her to be agitated, which leads to further problems.
If your dog is doing something she is not supposed to, try using a gentle tone and redirect her to a chew toy or other appropriate activity.
The dog might also become clingier during this time. She may want to be near you at all times, or she may follow you around the house. This is normal and should not last for too long.
5. Watch for signs of heatstroke
Dogs can also suffer from heatstroke during this time. This occurs when their body temperature gets too high and can be very dangerous.
Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your dog shows any of these signs, immediately take her to the vet.
If you cannot take your furry friend to the vet, you can manage the heatstroke by cooling her body down. You can do this by immersing her in cold water, spraying her with a hose, or wrapping her in a cold towel.
6. Provide a chew-resistant toy
Another thing you will need to do when caring for a dog in heat is to provide her with a chew-resistant toy. A female dog in heat may be more interested in chewing on things and may try to chew on furniture, shoes, or other items in the home.
A chew-resistant toy will help keep her occupied and stop her from chewing on things she should not. Make sure the toy is big enough so that she cannot swallow it whole. This way, you will not have to worry about her choking on the toy.
7. Keep an eye on her behavior
Dogs in heat can be more prone to behavioral problems. This is because they are hormonal and may be more inclined to aggression, anxiety, and roaming. When taking care of a dog in heat, it is important to keep an eye on her behavior and correct any problems as soon as they occur.
If you notice your dog is becoming more aggressive, try redirecting her energy by playing with her or giving her a chew toy. You can try to calm her down by using a calming collar or giving her a soothing massage, especially when she seems anxious. If she is roaming, be sure to keep her confined to a safe area.
While common behaviors of a female dog in heat include constant licking of the genital area, excessive wagging of the tail, mounting & humping other dogs, and displaying nesting behavior, you should have her checked by the vet in case any of these behaviors become too much beyond the normal.
8. Be patient with your dog
Dealing with a dog in heat can be a lot of work, but it is important to be patient and prepared. By taking the proper precautions and providing your dog with the necessary support, you can make this time a little easier.
It might be helpful to keep a journal during your dog’s heat cycle to track her behavior and mood changes. This will also help you to be more prepared for the next one.
You should also talk to your vet about any concerns. Your vet can provide you with more information and medical advice on caring for your dog during her heat cycle.
9. Prevent pregnancy
Unless you want your dog to get pregnant, you need to take precautions to prevent mating. There are many ways to prevent pregnancy in female dogs, but the most common is to give her a hormone injection. The injection prevents ovulation, which means pregnancy cannot occur.
Another way is to keep her in a confined area during her heat cycle. This will limit her exposure to male dogs and will help to prevent pregnancy.
Alternatively, you can have her spayed. This surgical procedure removes the ovaries and uterus and is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. It is also the best option for your dog’s health as it helps reduce the risk of cancer later in life.
Even if you use one of these methods, it is still advisable to monitor your dog closely and take her to the vet if you notice any changes in her behavior or health.
10. Be prepared for messes
Your dog may also have some discharge from her vagina during this time. This is normal and should not cause any alarm unless the bleeding is too much, which in this case you should seek veterinary help.
It is important to be prepared for messes just in case. You can put down a few old towels or disposable floor covering to help protect your floors.
If your dog is going to be spending a lot of time inside, you may also want to consider using disposable diapers and wipes. This will help to contain the mess and make clean-up easier.
It is also useful to keep your dog’s nails clipped short. This will help to prevent any accidents or injuries. Always use a sharp clipper when clipping the nails, and be very careful not to cut the quick. The quick is the fleshy part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves.
FAQs about a female dog in heat
Let’s now have a look at some of the most frequently asked questions in regards to female dogs going into heat.
What are the signs of a dog in heat?
The most notable signs when a female dog is in heat include a swollen vulva, discharge from the vagina, increased appetite, and restless behavior. She’s ready to mate when she starts to mount or hump other dogs and is receptive to male dogs sniffing her genital area.
How long is a dog in heat?
The heat cycle typically lasts around two weeks, but it can vary depending on the breed. Some dogs may go into heat twice a year, while others may only go into heat only once. It is important to note that dogs are different and may not follow this schedule.
Can a dog get pregnant while in heat?
Yes, a dog can get pregnant while in heat, notably during the estrus phase. It is important to keep her away from male dogs during this time unless you are eager to welcome a litter of puppies.
What should I do if my dog gets pregnant while in heat?
It depends on whether you wanted your dog to become pregnant or not. Either way, book an appointment with your vet who will advise you on the ideal course of action, including an appropriate diet if you have no intention of terminating her pregnancy.
How can I prevent my dog from getting pregnant while in heat?
The most effective way to prevent your dog from getting pregnant while in heat is to keep her away from other male dogs. You can also have her spayed at the end of her heat cycle.
Dealing with a dog in heat can be a lot of work, but it is important to be patient and prepared. You can make this time a little easier by taking the proper precautions and providing your dog with the necessary support.