When a household has both female and male dogs, things may go a bit wild, when the female is in heat.
During a heat cycle, female dogs produce scent, attractive to males. As soon as male dog sensed it, he gets crazy. And likewise, if a female dog senses male nearby, she gets crazy as well (that is, crazier than she was before).
First concern for households of both dog genders is unwanted pregnancy. Shelters are already full of unwanted puppies, and there is no need for more. Also, serious dog breeders, pick a mate carefully and do not breed just because they already have a pair of dogs.
Unfortunately, there is almost only one real solution that works.
Separate male dog and female dog in heat
Separating both dogs (you didn’t say you have more than two dogs, did you?) may seem logical. However, it’s not that easy as it sounds.
Separating them does not mean lock them in separate crates or rooms. Or leaving one indoors, the other outdoors. While, this will help to avoid unwanted pregnancy, your dogs may still hear, smell and call each other. Day and night. Hope you’ve got sleeping pills.
Unfortunately, even if your house is large enough to lock them in separate rooms, it doesn’t solve your problems. You’ve probably heard about the superpower of dogs – their sense of smell. Unless you have a possibility to walk both dogs separately and in different territories, they will sense each other. Female is heat is leaving a specific scent that is attractive to male dogs. And, while this is not as bad as if they would be in a separate crates next to each other, restlessness of both dogs will increase significantly.
Using a menthol or a special spray on a tip of your female’s tail might help to reduce (not solve) this problem. However, much better is walking the so their paths do not cross, if possible. Use different doors and different gates to walk each dog, in example. This, however, does not guarantee both dogs not sensing each other, but the restlessness shall decrease.
If it’s not possible, consider sending one of them away. However, there are problems involved with this too.
First, is your dog used to be away? Remember, we are trying to relief stress, not add to it. Sending to someone dog already knows, or even to a place where he is visiting a lot would be great. Dogs are in heat for average 21 days. That’s a long period in an unknown conditions. If possible, get your dog used to visiting even before the female is in heat.
Second problem is, where to send. No everyone has a possibility to entrust their pets to someone else. Besides that, if you are sending your dog to a friend’s house, is he accepting your dog voluntary? Solution might be a dog hotel. Quality dog hotels offer professional staff, who may even deal with the stress of the dog, if he’s not used to being away. Some hotels accept female dogs in heat for an additional charge. However, 21 days are longer than typical vacation, so it’s still better to send your dog to someone who has good relations to him over choosing a dog hotel, no matter how professional staff is there.
Third problem, which dog to send? Most usually it’s a male, because they cause less trouble. Of course, it might be possible to send a female away too, but the person taking care of her must know exactly what’s going on and should have experience with dogs in heat. You can’t tell: “Yes, she’s in heat… she’s a bit restless… but it’s not that bad”. Because it IS that bad! Taking care of the female dog in heat requires experience and knowledge.
Problems with dogs in heat? Consider spaying!
If you are not planning to breed your dogs, fixing one, or both of them is recommended. If you spay female dog, she’s not gonna come in heat, so the problem is solved. If you neuter your male dog, he will not have an interest in a female when she’s in heat. Problem solved.
Bad news is, you should wait for the heat to end to spay a female dog. During heat uterus is swollen and there’s a lot more bleeding during surgery. This makes a risk of complications greater, and, while there are vets who will agree to spay a dog during heat, ask yourself, do you need to take the risk.
Good news, on the other hand, are, you can neuter a male dog any time. And, while neutered dogs may still show slight interest in females in heat, unwanted pregnancy is totally solved, and you do not have to separate them anymore.
Activities for both dogs, female in heat and male
Physical activities are not gonna make your dogs tired enough to avoid them to call each other, but if you are not able/do not want to do anything of the above, then it’s your only option. It includes long walks, running, training, and having a good time with both of them. Separately. That is, each activity must be done with each dog, one after another. Besides that, going in public with your female dog is challenging, when she’s in heat.
I’d like to wish you the best of luck while dealing with female in heat, and male dog living under the same roof. It’s really hard, unless, you separate those two.
This article is a part of series about dogs in heat.