When female dog is coming in heat, inexperienced owners are usually treating it two ways. First is fleeing in panic of what to do, should they take free from job, how to, when to… Second manner is ignorance of the heat, and treating their dog as usual.
Both approaches are inadequate and create unnecessary trouble. Understanding, the heat in dogs is not an extreme situation (like a pet store running out of dog food), and taking measures with confidence, will help you, and your dog, a lot.
- never let your dog in the yard alone – Protecting your dog from male dogs and unwanted pregnancy is one of the most vital parts when your dog is in heat. No matter if you plan your dog to use for breeding this time or not. I usually am tempted to let my dog out and observe her through the window, especially if it’s cold outside. However, this technique won’t work if a male dog suddenly appears nearby and my dog jumps over a fence. Go out in the yard together with your dog when she’s in heat. Depending on her activity, you might even consider using a leash.
- no off leash walks – even if you consider your dog extremely well trained, walking off leash is a “no-no” when your dog is in heat. If a female in heat is attracted by a male, all your tries to call her back may not work, because she will not find coming to you even as close as interesting as visiting a boy.
- extra attention – when dog is in heat, changes are not only physical, but mental, as well. If you want to ensure your dog feels comfortable when in heat, you will need to spend more time with your dog than usual. Playing, brushing, talking or going for a walk are just few examples. Have that extra time available for your dog during heat, and she will feel much calmer and confident.
- no training or dog shows – Events participating other dogs should be avoided. Scent female dog produces is very annoying to male dogs and will distract them from completing the task whatever it is. Most male owners become angry (a very reasonable response, if you ask me) if someone disrespects this “law”. You may ask event organizers, if you can have a money back if suddenly your dog comes in heat right before the event. Serious event holders should grant this.
- balance between exercises and rest – dogs react differently to heat. Some may feel tired all day, while other may become restless. Observing your dog’s behavior and choosing the amount of rest and exercises (walking, running, playing…) is important to keep your dog comfortable.
- leave toys or chews – if you are going away, and have to leave your dog alone for a while, let her out (going with her) to relieve, and leave her inside together with toys or chews. Have more than one and put them away when you are back home. It will help to drive her thought and get her busy, when you are not present.
- hide the trail back home – if walking outdoors with your dog in heat, it would be wise to break the trail back home. It’s best done by putting your dog in a car and driving to the walking spot, so male dogs won’t be able to track your house. Especially annoying if you have a yard.
- menthol at the tip of the tail – when walking outdoors this technique may help to mask the scent. It may become handy if a male dog suddenly appears nearby, so he does not detect your female in heat over distance. If he’s coming closer, it’s not gonna work well.
- pants – bloody discharge from vulva may be very annoying on your new carpet. If your dog allows to wear dog diapers or pants, you may consider using them. They may help to mask the odor outdoors and avoid males following back to your house. However, it is not even close to being as effective as braking the trail back home.
- consult a vet – even though being in heat is not an illness and should not be treated as one, having a chit chat with your veterinarian about things to look after during heat may help you trouble is unexpected happens.
- consider spaying – it is strongly recommended having your dog fixed, if you are not planning to use your dog for breeding. While some may say spaying is not natural, I must add, not spaying and not allowing your dog to mate is not natural either.
It’s not like you must do all of the above, when your dog is in heat. Dogs differ in terms of restlessness, activity, symptom strength, attraction to males and other. However, the more of the above you do, the more comfortable your dog will feel.
This article is a part of series about dogs in heat.