When your dog is in heat, it’s going to be messy and uncomfortable for both you and the dog. Your furry friend will undergo a period of bleeding, behavioral changes, and hormonal fluctuation. This is the time your pet needs more of your attention, love, and care.
Although you can call your vet for advice, there are a few things you can do in terms of her diet, daily routine, and other changes around your home to make your dog comfortable.
Additionally, there are things you should avoid doing because they can make a female dog in heat more anxious, uncomfortable, and restless.
What to do when your dog is in heat
There are a few things you can do when your dog is in heat to help ease her anxiety and ensure they are comfortable and healthy.
1. Make use of doggy diapers
When your dog is in heat, she will experience blood-tinged vaginal discharge and frequent urination for about 10 days. And although you can prevent the dog from messing up your home by restricting its movement, making use of quality doggy diapers prevent the spread of discharge and bad scent around your home.
Put a dog diaper on your female dog as soon as you notice the early signs of heat instead of waiting until it is too late. If it is the first time for your dog to wear diapers, supervise so they cannot tear them off.
Use positive reinforcement to train your pet on the diaper-wearing way before they are in heat to make it easier during the period. However, if your dog meticulously keeps themselves clean, using diapers might not be necessary.
Keep in mind that on average, a female dog in heat will experience vaginal discharge for 7 to 10 days. If the bleeding lasts more than two weeks then something could be wrong. Here are a few reasons why a female dog in heat is bleeding too long.
2. Exercise your dog
A female dog in heat is more prone to anxiety and feeling distressed. Keeping them engaged and active will definitely be a welcomed distraction, but be sure not to overdo it.
Take your dog for short walks and keep her occupied with lots of playtime and exercise to help expend her aggressive energy and calm her down. It’s advisable to do this in an enclosed space for easy supervision.
Never walk her without a leash, as even experienced and obedient dogs undergo unpredictable behavioral changes when in heat. Besides, it becomes easy to control your pet if male dogs come around.
Just to be sure, here’s a look at common behaviors a female dog in heat will display. If you notice anything out of the ordinary then you need to consult your vet.
3. Change your dog’s walking schedule
One of the most effective ways to take care of a dog in heat is to take her on a walk. Most people walk their pets in the morning before going to work, so consider walking your dog at a different time.
You can do it very early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid too much noise and distraction as well as the probability of meeting male dogs, which can be stressful.
4. Provide extra support, love, and attention
Apart from physical changes, your dog undergoes mental and emotional changes that call for your support, love, care, and attention to help them cope.
She can be easily stressed out and feel anxious, which leads to aggressive behaviors. Spend more time with your female dog, play more with her, groom her, or give her some extra cuddles and pets.
There are many loving ways to take care of a dog in heat and ensure they feel loved and cared for. To show love, support, and care for your pet;
- Make sure she is drinking plenty of water and eating well.
- Give her safe and chew-resistant toys to play with which will make her less anxious and stressed
- Avoid scolding your dog when they mess up. Reassure her while cleaning her up calmly
- Allow extra potty breaks as they will be urinating more often
- Let them sleep without interruption when they need to.
- Provide a comfortable bed and waterproof and gnaw-resistant blankets.
5. Use calming sounds, treats, and scents
Dogs are restless when in heat, and the best thing is to look for ways to calm them down. You can use stress-relieving treats that don’t make your dog drowsy, calming sprays, or dog speakers that play soothing music.
A quiet environment is also calming to the dog. Make sure the children lower their voices when playing and reduce the volume of your TV and other electronics in the house.
6. Mask heat scent
Dogs release some odor when in heat which might not be pleasing to both of you. Use an odor control dog shampoo to bath your dog often to reduce the scent and keep her clean.
Adding some liquid chlorophyll to your pet’s water also helps reduce the scent. Besides, it gives her a fresh breath and keeps her teeth and gums healthier.
Try dabbing a tiny bit of Vicks VapoRup at the base of the dog’s tail. It has been known to mask the scent and keep the male dogs away. Only put a small amount and distract the dog, so it doesn’t lick it off as it is toxic. You should also avoid putting too close to your pet’s genitals as it can cause discomfort.
7. Supervise your dog more
A dog in heat will attract male dogs around and always want to mate when they get to the second phase of the heat cycle (estrus phase). This can cause your female pooch to go a bit crazy and uncontrollable. Tying her down will not make the situation better as it can cause the dog to be more anxious and stressed.
So, leave your dog in a secured yard to enjoy what she loves doing but do not leave her alone. She might find ingenious ways to run away, leading to unplanned mating or getting lost. As a precaution, make sure your dog’s tag and microchip are updated in case of an unforeseen eventuality.
8. Use a stress-relief coat
You may not be able to cuddle your dog throughout her heat period, and the stress-relief coat can do the work for you. The coat offers a sensational gentle hug to your pet to calm her down when feeling stressed.
Make sure not to overdo it. Making your dog wear the coat during the entire heat cycle may be uncomfortable. Only use it when she seems anxious or agitated.
9. Do not allow contact with other dogs
Apart from changing your dog’s walking time, you should also avoid taking her to places where other dogs hang out. Take a break from dog training sessions, doggy daycare, dog shows, dog parks, or going to a pet store with her.
While it might seem like depriving your dog of precious privileges, it is a good way to avoid getting her and yourself in trouble. Instead, provide other activities for her at home and spend more playtime with her.
10. Consider spaying your dog
The most permanent solution to dealing with and forgetting about the stress of a female dog going into heat is spaying her. Spaying is a surgical procedure done to completely remove the ovaries and uterus of a female dog to sterilize them.
Besides preventing unwanted pregnancy by stopping the heat cycle, spaying prolongs your dog’s life. It minimizes aggressive behaviors in your dog and lessens anxiety which prevents serious health issues in the future.
Generally, it is recommended to spay your dog at 6-months old or before her first heat cycle. Consult your veterinarian to identify the ideal time to carry out this procedure and the costs involved.
The moment you bring your fuzzy female friend around, you should start preparing yourself for the most stressful moment in their life; the heat cycle. And although you can opt for a surgical solution to deal with the issue before it arises, if you opt not to, use the other ways highlighted to make her comfortable and the period less stressful.