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.
The problem is, during a heat cycle, female dogs produce scent that attracts males. Upon sensing it male dogs become mad and thing about one thing only and forgets all the good manners.
To continue, 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 dog 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 gonna get loud. Very loud. But you have to separate them, that is your best choice.
IMPORTANT: Of course, there is one other option. If you do not plan to breed your dogs, we recommend you to spay and neuter them. Read below for more information.
Keep your your male dog separate from your female in heat
It is an obvious solution to separate your both 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. Of course, sending one of your dogs away may not be that practical. In that case you can lock your dogs in separate rooms (or parts of the house).
They will sense each other, but you have to keep them from mating somehow, right? In that case, you will need something to calm both of them.
Activities will calm your both dogs
If you keep your dogs together, and do not spay them, your best option is physical activities. Those won’t prevent your dogs from sensing each other and calling, but activities are a good way to reduce your dogs’ restlessness. 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 a 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, each activity must be done with each dog, one after another. Are you able to take to take on it full time?
You can mask the scent your female dog produces by applying a menthol or a spray made for exactly that purpose; to mask the scent of a female in heat. The truth is, it won’t completely solve the problem. Your dogs will still be restless, though maybe to a lesser amount.
Send your male dog on a vacation
Above is hard and a struggle, so still, as mentioned above, your best shot is to send you male dog away. But it isn’t as straight-forward and easy either.
First, is your dog used to be away? Remember, we are trying to relief stress, not add to it. Dogs are in heat for average 21 days. That’s a long period to spend in unknown conditions. Best is to send your dog to someone the dog already knows or to a place he is used to visiting.
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, if he’s not used to being away. However, 21 days are longer than typical vacation, so it’s still better to send your dog to someone who the dog already recognizes.
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 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 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!
If 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’s will not 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.
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 higher risk of complications. It just is’t worth.
Good news are that 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.
You sure need a lot of good wishes if your female dog is in heat. And if it happen to have intact dogs of both genders at your home — you need triple the amount. If you need more help, take a look at our series about dogs in heat.