Signs of Shih Tzu Dogs in Heat

If you wish to have female Shih Tzu dogs as pets, you should understand their heat cycle. Dog heat, also known as the estrous cycle, is a stage in a female dog's life when she becomes ready to have intercourse and reproduce. Your Shih Tzu pet can be affected by this cycle every 7 months, and during this cycle, your pet's body temperature rises and there's a pink or red colored discharge from her vulva.

Your pet can have her first cycle as early as 6 months or as late as 15 months. If your pet shows no sign of entering into heat after 15 months, it's best to have her checked by the vet.

Symptoms of Shih Tzu Dogs in Heat:

  • Swollen vulva
  • Small amount of discharge of blood from the vulva
  • Interest shown by male dogs in your pet
  • Fatigue
  • Cramps
  • Discomfort
  • Restlessness
  • Swelling in the mammary glands
  • Increased urination
  • Constant grooming of the vagina
  • Change of mood 
  • More attentive to male dogs

The Shih Tzu Heat Cycle

The Shih Tzu heat cycle occurs twice a year and can last for 2 to 4 weeks. Your dog might experience some discomfort and suffer from cramps. Pets know when they are in heat and prefer to rest in solitude in a comfortable area during this period. Most pets prefer to spend more time near their bedding area.

Caring for Your Pet in Heat

Although Shih Tzu dogs might have very small amounts of bloody discharge from the vulva, it's essential to keep your pet and your home clean. You can make her wear a diaper, as pet diapers are now readily available at pet stores. If you wish, you can also make her wear dog clothes over the diaper. Since she will be the center of attention of all male dogs, you have to ensure that she is safe.

Although it's best to keep her inside throughout this period, it might not always be possible. If you have to take her out, you should ensure that you keep her on a short leash. Male dogs can smell a bitch in heat from as far as 3 miles, and they can be quite aggressive in trying to reach her to mate with her. Since the urine of your pet will contain blood, the odor can easily reach male dogs and they will continue to try to storm your house until your bitch is out of heat.


The estrous cycle, once started, will continue for the rest of your pet's life unless she is spayed. Since it's not healthy for an elderly dog to go through this cycle twice a year, it's essential to have your pet spayed once she has been bred, because this can help her lead a more healthy life. If you don't intend to breed your Shih Tzu, it's best to have her spayed even before she has her first estrous cycle. Spaying your pet can reduce the chances of her getting cancer of the mammary glands and the ovary.

You should keep yourself informed about your Shih Tzu dog's estrous cycle and know of the effects that hormonal changes can bring about in her behavior, to prevent complications in her life.