Do you know what to do when your dog is in heat? It’s kind of important, especially if you plan to hold off on spaying (or if you opt out of it for whatever reason). An unspayed female dog will be in heat about every six months. During that time, owners will see some blood spotting and other physical signs of the process. However, being in heat is not the same as a human period. I recently came across a question in the forums from a woman who needed to know what to do with her dog while she was “on her period.” Both the first and the last part of that question inspired me to write a post on the subject.
Being In Heat is not the Same as a Period
When a female dog is in heat, owners will see small amounts of bleeding and spotting. This is not the same as a period. When human women have periods, they are shedding the lining of their uterus because the prep work their body did in preparation for a possible baby is not needed. So the thickened wall of the uterus is shed in preparation for the next month’s prep for possible baby making.
When a female dogs are in heat, they have bloody spotting before their cycle. It’s called proestrus, and it’s caused by an increase in their reproductive hormones. So it’s a totally different thing.
What to Do When Your Dog is In Heat
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Don’t Let Your Dog be In Heat
As a former vet industry worker, the very first thing I say on this subject is that your dog should never be in heat. Unless you’re breeding your d0g, she should be spayed before her first heat. This is better for her and for your wallet in the long run. Unspayed females are susceptible to possible pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus. Obviously, if your dog doesn’t have a uterus, it can’t get infected. Unspayed females are also in danger of getting breast tumors as they get older. It’s just better for your dog’s health overall if she is spayed.
Don’t Let Your Dog Breed
If your female is intact, and you know that she is going into heat, you need to keep her away from other intact males. During her heat cycle, she will be throwing off a metric ton of sexual pheromones, telling every dog in the neighborhood that she is ready to make cute little puppies. This lasts for about 3 weeks, and during that time, she needs to be kept well away from any intact males, or you’re going to have a litter in about 3 months.
Protect Your Home
While the bloody discharge a female dog makes is generally quite small, you still don’t want it on your furniture or carpet. When your female is in heat, you can simply get diapers designed for dogs to keep her discharge from getting all over your carpet, furniture, bedding, and the like.
Don’t Let Your Dog Ever Have a Heat
I addressed this a little further up the page, but I am going to close with it, as well. Spaying your dog is one of the best things you can do for her health, and spaying her before she’s in heat for the first time is even better. Going into heat just one time drastically raises your dog’s danger of developing breast tumors later in life, even if she is subsequently spayed. Unless you are breeding, there’s absolutely no reason for your dog to be in heat. And when you think about it, that investment you make with spaying her now will save you SO MUCH money later, so it’s great for her and for you.