If you have a puppy or dog that hasn’t been spayed, you may not know what to expect or how to care for your dog when she is “in heat.” However, there is absolutely no reason to be nervous or scared. Taking care of a female dog is easy, especially with a little knowledge and planning.
Keep Your Dog Inside
If not spayed, a female dog will experience a heat cycle about every six months. During this time, she will attract male dogs and be receptive to mating. The pheromones female dogs emit are so strong that male dogs can detect a female in heat from several miles away and are willing to travel great lengths and overcome many obstacles to mate (Primovic, 2015). If you don’t want your dog to get pregnant, it is best to take precautions. That means keeping outdoor time strictly supervised. This means no off-leash walks and keeping a watchful eye on her even if you have a fenced-in yard. When inside, you should make sure all doors and windows are shut and secure.
If your dog loves the great outdoors, you may be wondering how you can keep her happy and entertained during this time. While it’s not possible to be able to spend 24 hours of every day with your dog, there are ways to keep her occupied when she is inside and you are away. One way is to leave out toys or chews for your dog to play with. Even better, get her a few new ones. New toys and chews will keep her attention and distract her from any feelings of restlessness or nervousness.
Pay Your Dog Extra Attention
Different dogs react differently to being in heat. However, it is likely that your dog will experience some personality changes in addition to the physical changes her body is going through. For instance, some dogs may be lethargic, while others may become agitated. Based on your dog’s behavior, it is important to choose the right amount of activity to keep your dog comfortable. So, if your dog wants to sleep, let her sleep. If she seems agitated or restless, try playing with her, brushing her, or even talking to her. By giving your dog attention and care, you can keep your dog calm. Not only will keep this keep your dog sane, but it will keep you sane as well.
Practice Good Hygiene
One of the most common symptoms of a dog in heat is blood, and the amount will vary from dog to dog. While your dog will keep herself clean by licking, a little clean-up might be necessary. This is as simple as giving her a bath or spot cleaning from time to time. If you want to avoid stains on your carpet or furniture and want your dog to be able to have access to all of your home, dog diapers or pants may work for you. However, if your dog prefers to go au naturale, covering furniture and keeping your dog to a certain room of the house may be necessary.
Keep an Eye on Appetite
Appetite changes are common when female dogs are in heat. While the majority of dogs will experience a decrease in appetite, some may experience an increase (Farricelli, 2016). Whether your dog has a small appetite or if she is hungrier than usual, feeding her nutritious food is key. Whether you give your dog wet food or dry food, AvoDerm Natural® foods have the right balance of fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients to keep your dog healthy in heat or not.
While there is a little added work involved when female dogs are in heat, your companion is definitely worth the extra care. However, it is worth noting that if you don’t intend to breed your dog, you should talk to your vet to evaluate spaying and decide whether it is right for your dog.
Farricelli, Adrienne. “How to Help a Dog in Heat.” PetHelpful, PetHelpful, 2016, pethelpful.com/dogs/How-to-Help-a-Dog-in-Heat.
Primovic, Debra. “How Far Away Can a Dog Smell Another Dog in Heat?” PetPlace, 5 Aug. 2015, www.petplace.com/article/dogs/vet-qa-parent/vet-qa/how-far-away-can-a-dog-smell-another-dog-in-heat/. AvoDerm Natural® is a registered trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company.