How to calm a male dog when your female dog is in heat

It is not easy to calm a female dog when she is in heat. But things can get even crazier when you have a male dog, as well. He’ll be restless and it may be challenging to calm a male dog during the heat.

The problem is, during a heat cycle, female dogs produce a scent that attracts males. Upon sensing it, male dogs become mad and think about one thing only and forget all the good manners.

a male dog eying a female during the heat
Photo by Ittipol Nampochai

If that’s not enough, things happen the other way round, too. If a female in heat senses a male nearby, she gets crazy as well. That is, crazier than she was before.

Your first concern, if you have both male and female dogs in the house, is the unwanted pregnancy.

So that means you cannot let your dogs stay together. The second concern is that, if you keep them separated, they are going to get loud. Very loud.

Keep your male dog separate from your female during the heat

An obvious solution to calm a male dog during the heat is to separate both your dogs. However, it is easier said than done.

Note: as we write this article, we presume you have two dogs. If you have more, everything below applies and you can keep all the males together and all the females together.

Your best solution is to send one of your dogs away for the time female is in heat. Why? Because if they stay in the same house, they will sense each other. Quite often, sending one of your dogs away may not be possible. In that case, you have to keep your dogs in separate rooms (or parts of the house).

However, they will still sense each other and somehow you will have to calm both of them down.

Activities will calm your both dogs

If you keep your dogs together and do not spay them, your best option to minimize their restlessness is physical activities. Those won’t prevent your dogs from sensing each other, but activities will make them tired and they will care less. You can, and you should walk a female dog when she is in heat, but you also have to walk your male. Also, no brainier, you have to walk them separately.

Best if you can walk them on separate paths. Your female is leaving a pheromone trail, and if you want to have an undisturbed walk of your dog, it’s better to choose a different route.

Besides long walks, you can also run with your dogs, play with them, or keep their mind busy in training.  Separately. That is, do each activity with each dog, one after another. Of course, we are aware that it’s going to take up a lot of your time.

You can mask the scent of your female with menthol or a spray made for precisely that purpose. The truth is, it won’t completely solve the problem. They are not magic, however.

Send your male dog on a vacation

Above is hard and a struggle, so still, your best shot is to send your male dog away. But it isn’t as straightforward and easy either.

Dog sitting next to a box, to be shipped away while female is in heat

First, is your dog used to be away? Remember, we are trying to relieve stress, not add to it. Dogs are in heat for an average of 21 days. That’s a long period to spend in unknown conditions. It’s best to send your dog to someone he already knows or to a place he is used to.

So we already introduced the next problem: where to send your dog. Not all of us have a privilege to entrust our beloved pets to someone else. Besides that, if you are sending your dog to a friend’s house, is your friend accepting your dog voluntary? You can choose a dog hotel or a professional pet-sitter.

Quality dog hotels offer professional staff, who may even deal with the stress of the dog. However, 21 days are longer than a typical vacation.

The third problem is which dog to send. Most usually it’s a male because they cause less trouble to one taking care of him. 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 just tell: “Yes, she’s in the heat… she’s a bit restless… but it’s not that bad” because it IS that bad! Taking care of the female dog in the heat requires experience and knowledge and several sleepless nights. If you have a friend who is willing to do that for you, we are jealous.

Problems with dogs in heat? Consider spaying!

female dog in heat at vet for spaying surgeryIf you are not planning to breed your dogs, we highly recommend you to fix one or both of them. If you spay the female dog, she will not come in heat, so the problem is solved. Also, a spayed male will not show any interest in a female when she’s in heat. Problem solved.

Keep in mind, though; you should wait for the heat to end to spay a female dog. During heat, her uterus is swollen, and surgery imposes a higher risk of complications.

The good news is that you can neuter a male dog at any time. And, while neutered dogs may still show a slight interest in females in heat, unwanted pregnancy is solved, and you do not have to separate them anymore.

You sure need a lot of good wishes if your female dog is in heat. And if it happens to have intact dogs of both sexes at your home — you need triple the amount. It’s not easy to calm a male dog during the heat. If you need more help, take a look at our series about dogs in heat.