How to Care For a Female Dog in Heat

By Suzanne Alicie

Female dogs that aren’t spayed go into season or into heat approximately every 6 months. This can be a real annoyance to pet owners and to all other pets in the household.

The heat cycle for a female dog lasts about 3 weeks. During that time her vulva will swell and she will have a bloody discharge. While she is in heat your dog will be constantly releasing pheromones which will attract all the male dogs in your neighborhood.

Do not leave your female dog alone outdoors when she is in heat. Male dogs will become aggressive and have been known to dig and jump fences to mate. Keeping your female indoors will help eliminate the fear of unwanted puppies or attacks by neighborhood males.

However, keeping the female dog inside while she is in heat can also be inconvenient. The discharge can be not only messy but also quite smelly. The best option is to keep your female indoors and confined to an area where the discharge won’t be a problem to clean up, such as a tiled or concrete area in the basement or garage. Baby gates are an easy way to confine your dog without putting her behind a closed door.

If you crate your female while she is in heat it is important to place the crate where she will be able to spend time with “her” people, and also to let her out to exercise. You don’t want your dog to feel as if she is being punished. Another option is to purchase what aDog Animated - no offerre known as dog panties, to contain the discharge and avoid messes.

Your female dog may display several aggressive behaviors with other pets in the home while she is in heat. This includes a pushy attitude, shouldering aside other pets, humping, and basically attempting to dominate the others. This is a temporary problem and will subside when she goes out of heat. In the meantime, separation from the other animals is one option, or letting them figure it out on their own is another. This is nature; animals communicate and display their place in the “pack” the way nature dictates. So if your easygoing female suddenly begins acting like a bully, the other animals will either accept the temporary insanity or they will put her in her place.

A female dog in heat will be easily agitated and may pace restlessly during this time. This is not unusual, nor is the whimpering and panting. These are just some of the symptoms of her being in heat, and if she isn’t allowed to breed can be very frustrating to her and you. If you don’t plan to breed your dog, it is much better for her health and your sanity to have her spayed. Responsible pet owners take every precaution to prevent unwanted puppies.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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9 thoughts on “How to Care For a Female Dog in Heat

  1. I’m still on the vurge. My daughter wants to do a 4-H project,with a chocolate lab. You get them as a puppy, raise them, train, then breed. Now that I’ve read this, it sounds really hard. Will it be a problem if we already have a 2 year old yellow lab Not fixed do you think?

  2. Thanks for your advice. I have an 8mth old female lab/boxer mix however, I have been reading conflicting reports,- on one hand there is very supportive evidence and encouragement to have your dog spayed early, then another that advises much later-ie; 2yrs, claiming early spaying gives rise to a greater cancer risk-particularly
    heamangiosarcoma, hypothyroidism,joint diseases- forming of the ACL joints. Now I don`t know what to do for the beat. having read the ” How to care for a female dog in heat” – this seems a very daunting prospect to me, but I certainly don`t want to cause her any harm or problems for the future. I should be so grateful for any help/advice on this matter. Pam

  3. It’s never fun when the dog is in heat. I’ve definitely experienced the male dogs trying to come into my yard as you explained. I found that the best solution was to make a little dog diaper out of some old fabric pieces that were lying around and let her stay in the house. It’s important to remember that the dog is probably not enjoying the event any more than its owner is. Thanks for the information!

  4. Hi I have a blue heeler it seems that she is in heat but she got spayed as a baby can she still be in heat???
    She’s also puking white bubbly and her tail is between her legs I know that I got to deworm her cuz it’s almost the day. I just want to make sure all this is normal

  5. Hi. Thank you for the article.
    My roommate has a puppy (she’s 4, but they’re all ‘puppies’ to me. ;), who is in heat (he obviously has not had her spayed).
    I noticed her vulva is very swollen, and she licks it a lot. It looks like it hurts to me, but maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know.
    I was wondering…is there anything I can do to help her…to ease discomfort or anything? I thought about letting her sit in epsom salts for a little bit. Is this a good idea? Is it a bad idea?
    I don’t know. I just have such a soft spot for the Furry Angels, and I would do something to help her if I knew it was actually helping her, but I don’t want to chance hurting her or making it worse, either.
    I have 2, 11 year old, female Lhasa Apso puppies, but I had them spayed when they were just babies, so I have never experienced this before.
    Thanks for your input,
    A Mommy of 4 Furry Angels

    1. I would also really like to know this. Did you by chance find anything since no-one has posted on here yet? My pup is in heat and I just feel like she is in pain. She whimpers so much and I just cant stand that sound, emotionally… I feel so bad for her and I really want to ease her discomfort in any way possible.

      1. For dogs in heat, we give our dog catnip which helps to relax her. the plant has the opposite effect on dogs and is sometimes used as a sedative or nerve tonic for them. If your dog gets nervous when going to the vet or in the car, for example, try putting a few fresh catnip leaves in his drinking water. You can also sprinkle some dried catnip — 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon of per pound of food — on his food or mix in some catnip tea.

        It has helped her to relax and helps entice her to eat.

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