How to Help a Dog in Heat

Your dog's heat is certainly not a disease or a condition that needs treated, however, it may be an annoying issue to deal with, especially when a bunch of stray dogs line up by your door or if taking your dog for a walk may be frustrating because of all the attention.

Most dogs go into heat every 6 months, larger dog breeds may go every 8 months, but the time eventually comes, lasting a good 7-10 days. Of course, spaying your dog is the ultimate solution but what to do if your dog has papers and all the requirements to be a future successful dam or if the spay surgery is not happening now?

There are several ways you can make your dog more comfortable, her prospective mates less eager and yourself more relaxed during ''those days''.

How to Help a Dog in Heat

  • Give Extra Attention

Your dog may become more loving during her heat, even though some dogs may become more irritated. Giving her the extra attention she craves will not do much harm, it actually may help her keep her mind off the hormones.

  • Spoil a Bit

Many female dogs may lose their appetite during their heat. Giving extra treats, some meat baby food with no garlic or onion, may help entice her to eat. If your dog gets diarrhea during her heat, try to feed some boiled hamburger with the fat drained off, with lots of rice.

  • Distract

Play a nice game with your dog and get her distracted this way. Exercise may help her relax, but best of all, it will make her tired and hopefully, a heavy nap may follow.

  • Keep Smells Away

Close all your windows to minimize all intact male dogs nearby from showing up at your door step. It is amazing how strong the ''smell of love'' can be and how it effectively lures male dogs even when far away.

  • Lock Her Up

Dogs in heat can easily stray away no matter how much they love their home and their masters. When in heat they are on a ''mission'' and a door left ajar as usual may be used this time to escape to the dangerous roads of the outside world. Also, don't keep her in the yard alone, some dogs were capable of mating even through a fence!

  • Clean Her

Cleaning her often will keep the quarters where your dog lives in less messy, while minimizing smells that attract male dogs. Giving her a bath twice a day may be helpful. Diapers may be put on after, as they are helpful in preventing messes.

  • Pass some Chlorophyll

No, it is not for her breath for romantic kissing, rather it has been shown that female dogs given Chlorophyll tablets tend to attract males less. The liquid version that is found in health food stores and comes in 100 mg is helpful. Generally 1 tablespoon in the morning and in the evening poured on the dog's food may do the trick. It works best when given from the first day of heat. However, male dogs may still want to mate, so never leave them together! Also be aware that the chlorophyll may cause oddly green looking stools!

  • Lust Buster

There are special products that may be sprayed on the dog to make her less attractive to males. Lust Buster is one of them.

As seen, there are various way to keep your dog in heat relaxed and most of all, all the males in the neighborhood relaxed as well. Those "days" hopefully will go fast, until next time! And of course, if you want to avoid all these issues, spay your dog.

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Comments 55 comments

Jenna May Swan profile image

Jenna May Swan 6 years ago

Some good info here. We have had all ours spayed now, thankfully. Seeing your dog's change in mood and behavoir can be quite stressful. Ours did a 'runner' even though she was always a homebird. Bitches in heat simply cannot be trusted!

Kim 6 years ago

This is my 10 month old german shepherds first heat. Im confused about how long it will last. Ive heard 7-10 days, and ive also heard 2-4 weeks! How long does it really last?

elli 6 years ago

i think it is 7-10 days im very scared now

Jess 6 years ago

a dogs heat lasts about a month. (i work at a hunting kennel that breeds german shorthairs so ive delt with lots of females in heat)

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

depends what you mean by the term ''heat''. If that is the fertile time when a dog is likely to become pregnant elli is correct, it lasts about 7-10 days...

To learn more about the dog heat cycle read:

Elle 6 years ago

I have a 7.5 month old labrador bitch and for the last week now she lost her appetite for food. This is very unusual since whenever I even mentioned the word "food" she would dash and wait for it and gobled it up in less than a min ... For the last couple of days now I have to run after her and practically beg her to eat... Oh this only happens with her dry food which I ve been feeding her since I brought her home.. Other than that if she sees me eating anything she ll come drooling for it but I try not to give her anything else other than her dry food... Is this a possible sign of her first upcoming heat or is she just bored of the food and I need to change the flavor for her?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Some dogs behave oddly before their heat, however it can also be she got bored of her food. You will know shortly if she is in heat by looking for other signs... her first heat should be around the corner...this hub will help you identify the signs:

wanda 6 years ago

my daschund has stopped eating altogether, and is losing weight quickly...should i force feed her soft puppy food? she is only 7mo old and im concerned for long will she keep this up?

wanda 6 years ago

p.s i forgot to add she is definitely in heat...and its been about 4 days..and she hasn't eaten for 3...

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Time to her to the vet, this does not sound right, I would be concerned at this point...

micki 6 years ago

thank you guys for helping us im very thank full

Memories1932 5 years ago

If you had your dogs spayed you wouldn't have to worry about your dog being in heat. Your dog would be healthier and you wouldn't be contributing to the homeless pet problem.

Maria 5 years ago

my dog sasha is in heat right now

Heather 5 years ago

Memories... sometimes it is not possible right away. For instance, my vet makes you wait until the dog is at least 6 months and they only have a few spay appointments each week. My dog just turned 7 months (so its been about 3-4 weeks and all the appointments have to be made first come first serve each Monday and have been booked before I got through on the phone after opening since she got old enough) and went into heat. Her first heat was therefore unavoidable. Plus, while I agree that people should spay or neuter their pets to decrease excess population (a ridiculous amount of animals are in shelters and a good portion- I've heard over 75% from some people- are actually purebred animals) I don't think that every animal should be fixed for various reasons... and sometimes the doctor will require you to wait until after a heat cycle for a medical reason with your particular animal. This really isn't an appropriate forum for you to post negativity and disdain when people are obviously here to find help for their animals so they obviously care about their well-being greatly.

Doggroomer84 5 years ago

Here here, well said. One of my females has diarrhea every time she enters estrus does anyone know why that happens? My vet said she'd never herd of that being common but she always has like clockwork without any dietary changes.

Nims 4 years ago

I have a Labrador pet, she is 2.5 years old, she is in heat and today is the 7th day, she is not been eating from pass 2 weeks, i have to literally beg her for food, run behind her,pamper her, scold her yet she doesn't eat.. I'm little worried at the moment since its already been 2 weeks now..i have been to the Vet, he has given appitiser medicine, yet its the same. I have tried to give all of her favourite foods, she eats a bit and then she discards, where as she is suppose to be ma greedy baby,is there anything i can do? I'm waiting for her 1oth day and i wil cross her with a male labrador after her 10th day.

HeatherR 4 years ago

I have a 3 year old cavalier. She has not be spayed, because I've debated having puppies. Her first cycle was when she was about 9 months. The first time was very stressful. I had no idea what was going on and she kept constantly licking herself. Now I realize this is her cycle and it does last a good week. In fact, she's in heat now. I'm looking for ways to make her more comfortable. Sometimes she will act like somethings getting her and whine. I can tell she's uncomfortable. Any suggestions? Thanks

huggy 4 years ago

Thank-you this helpe a lot

Dorothy 4 years ago

My dog is heat my sons male dog has been neutered but i foundthem locked. Can he impregnat her?

Karen 4 years ago

My vet would not fix my female until she had her first cycle. He believes that their female organs become their full size after a cycle and has found that "fixing" them too early sometimes causes incontinence. just an fyi

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

There appears to be some controversy on this. Some vets wants to spay as early as possible; you see this often in spay and neuter clinics. However, in large breeds, delaying neutering and spaying may be important so to allow full development and to lower the risks factors for osteosarcoma.

LaDonna McKinzie McKinzie 4 years ago

My female Boxer is in heat and is crying a lot and licking. Is there something I can give her or do for her to help with the crying from discomfort?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Try to go on my hub for some tips and read through the comments, best wishes!

Tess 4 years ago

my english bulldog is 6 months old and is in heat, she has had diarreha all day every hour on the hour now shes acting very lazy and not eating or drinking what should i do i cant afford to take her to the vet right now

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

This hub is for minor cases of diarrhea:

However, I always recommend a vet visit when the diarrhea is severe and the dog is not eating. Best wishes

springmeadow 4 years ago

My dog does not eat when my females are in heat and he has a bloody stool

Kelly 4 years ago

My 7 month old bichon is on heat the bleeding has now stopped and she seems fine and healthy however I have just noticed her urine seemed to be fluorescent green this morning. Is this normal ?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

First off, are you sure it urine and not vomit>? at times, dogs vomit on an empty stomach greenish, yellow bile or she could have eaten something odd causing the odd color. If it is urine this is not normal, it could be the urine is very concentrated and she may have a urinary tract infection or a problem with liver/kidneys. Get it checked out, best wishes!

Kat 4 years ago

I have a min pin who is sleeping a lot also when she is in heat. Is this a common factor? Thanks.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

If she is sleeping a lot regardless if in heat or not she should see a vet. Unless she is suffering from the heat, a dog should not be sleeping a whole lot.

jc 4 years ago

nobody has mentioned how to help an old dog in heat, preferably to speed up the cycle if possible. POOR BABY RAT TERRIER - maybe 5 lbs.

Maggiev 3 years ago

Memories1932: I get fed up of people like you trying to bully the rest of the pet owning community with your opinions. If you have advise to give do so in a civilised manner don't lecture us as though we are all animal abusers. My vet has advised me to wait until my puppy has had her first heat before spaying her, and then to wait 8 weeks after the first heat to allow her hormones to settle down.

This advise if given in the interests of the dog herself so that she does not find a sudden decrease of hormones a shock to her system.

So remember if I need you advise I will ask for it..until then mind your own business.

angel 3 years ago

my 1 year old yorkie terrier is in heat and she seems like shes in as much pain as me when its my time of the month I take midol but i dont think there is such a thing for dogs she gets cramps D:

alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

More than pain it should be discomfort. A dog's heat cycle is not the same process as a women's period. Heat cycles don't involve sloughing of the uterine lining as in women, rather, the bleeding is vaginal. See your vet if she really looks in pain. Spaying of course would eliminate this if that's something you want to consider. Best wishes!

arinnacute 3 years ago

my sweet Stella is in heat i am so scared shes all bloody and wont eat help me

alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

How old is Stella? is this her first heat? if not, when was her last one?

jj 3 years ago

I have a shih tzu a little over 6 months and is in her first heat. How long will this last?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

Kathy 2 years ago

My Chihuahua is in heat first time she is 7 months old. she wants to sleep a lot and don't like little kids right now she is eating less only twice a day she been in heat since Christmas night

Dionne 2 years ago

I have a pug dog who is having her season right now and someone has told me I can't bath her when she is like this is this true or can I bath her and clean her up thanks

alexadry profile image

alexadry 2 years ago from USA Author

I can't see any particular problems with bathing a dog in heat. It will help clean up the discharge temporarily removing some odor. Not sure about how the rumors of not bathing a dog in heat promulgated, and it would be interesting knowing exactly what's the issue. It sounds like an old wive's tales such as cats killing babies with their breath.

sandi 2 years ago

I have a 7 Yr. Old male Chihuahua and my friends female is in heat. Neither have been fixed. While on a 2 wks trip with both our babies, the female goes in heat.. He tries to bite me. He is not eatting, he is panting, walking in circles around her, wont sleep hardly at all. We separate them but he barks and cries entire time. This is ruining the trip and won't happen again. Question: is this all normal behavior for male Chihuahua?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 2 years ago from USA Author

Yes, this is quite normal behavior, only on the more extreme side. The male dog may not eat, may not listen, may be pacing relentlessly, may bark if frustrated by barriers, may not be able to sleep. The biting though, I do not like that. But I can see it happen if you are moving him away or grabbing him by the collar. If you need to move him around, best to make the leash in a loop and slip it over his head so you do not risk to be bitten, and then move him away. Better off, keep the two out of sight.

sapna sachan 18 months ago

My lab is 9 months old & is going through her heat. Its been 4 days. I dont know what nutrient food should i give her to make her healthier. Is meat ok to give her??

alexadry profile image

alexadry 18 months ago from USA Author

There's no specific food to feed for dogs in heat, when they're pregnant that's a different story. Feed the best food you can afford, if you're interested in feeding raw, look up the many books for raw or barf diets.

kara 12 months ago

I have had and cared for dogs for decades and this one has me stumped. I believe i am going to the vet on Monday if i do not find an answer before that:

i have a 2 year old Great Dane, she is just finishing up her 4th heat cycle, i noticed a few days into this period her breathing changed and now that i focus on it . it seems her heart rate is elevated as well, and often when she gets up from seeping she is panting ....any ideas on what may be causing this?

Lucie 9 months ago

Hi guys,

I have an 11 month old Chihuahua, she has been in heat for the first time, she seems herself however isn't eating as much as she normally does, this really worries me as its very unlike her :( she normally eats her food within seconds, is this because of her being in heat? Should I be worried?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 9 months ago from USA Author

You will have to determine if it's due to the heat cycle or if she may not be feeling well and only a vet can tell you for sure. It's true that several dogs lose their appetite and can get sick to their stomach due to hormones, but it's also true that a dog can also feel sick for other causes. Here's what a vet has to say:

and here's an article on heat cycles and upset tummies:

Jenna Decker 7 months ago

I have a mut who is six monthes and in heat. She has diarrhea. But not all the time. Just a few times a day. She is acting fine. And eats and drinks fine. Could it just be cause she is in heat for the first time?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 7 months ago from USA Author

If you Google "dog upset stomach when in heat", you'll get several websites discussing this, but see your vet if there are other symptoms or the diarrhea gets worse.

Binky 6 months ago

When my little mutt goes into heat, she whimpers and carries around her stinky plush toy, and is very clingy to me. She wont eat to much but drinks alot of water. I feel bad for her so i pamper her.

Christie 3 months ago

Our 8 month old pit bull is having her first heat her vajaja is swollen bad what can we do to help her she is in pain and very uncomfortable we did warm wet towels and had her sit as long as she could stand it ran warm water in tub filled it up to where she wouldn't have to sit fully down please very concerned grammy and my son is worried about her

mishty 2 months ago

My German Spitzer is 9 months old. She is in her first heat and has stopped eating. What to do. She has lost her weight as well. Plz help

Leet Red Queen 2 months ago

My puppy just went into her first heat and she is usually really active and playful and now all she wants to do is lay there and cuddle. How do I make her happy? Is she is pain? Is she having cramps, does she need asprin? I mean, of course we are cuddling her 24/7 like she wants, but it's kind of concerning that she doesn't want to play at all. She is eating alright at least, but why doesn't she want to play?

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