Caring for a Dog in Heat

A dog in heat will likely show some impulsive behavior. If breeding is not a priority for you, your dog will need to be closely monitored during her heat cycles. Throughout this time, she may become anxious and needy. Additionally, her physical symptoms will need your attention, too.

Managing a pet in estrus takes a little patience and dedication; here are some ways to care for your dog.

Provide Safety for a Dog in Heat

When your dog is in heat, her body is preparing her for the mating ritual. She will attract a lot of attention from male dogs due to her scent and behavior. Keep a close watch on your dog as she will need your help to ward off the advances from other dogs.

Safeguard your dog when she's at home or outside with the following tips:

  • Shut windows and keep gates and doors closed when you are not in sight of your dog.
  • Opt for car rides over walks to local destinations.
  • Walk her in areas that are well-contained and not traveled by other dogs.
  • Encourage her to play in the yard, but don't leave her unattended while outside.
  • Prevent male dogs from invading your living area. Some dogs are liable to climb chain link fences or jump wooden fencing to get into your yard. They can even push open screen doors.

Create a Sense of Calm for Your Dog

A dog in heat is especially anxious. Do what you can to soothe and keep her calm. Avoid activities or events that will agitate your dog. Likewise, instruct small children to treat her respectfully and not over-excite her with rough play.

During this period your dog will need a lot of extra attention. Take the time to comfort her. Here are some ways to treat a dog in heat:

  • Speak words of praise to her in a soothing tone.
  • Make grooming a special time for her: brush her coat and encourage her.
  • Relax her with a gentle massage.
  • Scratch behind her ears.
  • Buy her a new toy, treat or bedding.

Ensure Cleanliness for Dogs in Heat

Throughout the first two weeks of heat, your dog will experience a lot of brown spotting or even bleeding. This is one of the main indications of a dog in estrus. A dog's vulva will swell and she can also experience brown or liquid discharge.

Outfitting your dog with protective panties or diapers is a good idea for the first stages of her cycle. Plus, make sure her dog bed comes with a washable covering. These are helpful options over confining her to one area of your home or crating her.

Spaying to Avoid Heat Issues

A large number of pet owners will have their dogs spayed to eliminate the issues surrounding the heat cycles. Spaying is usually performed before a dog has her first estrus cycle. Some professionals feel that spayed dogs are less at risk for mammary tumors, cancer and anxious behavior.