How to Help a Dog in Heat - PetHelpful - By fellow animal lovers and experts
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How to Help a Dog in Heat

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of Brain Training for Dogs.

how-to-help-a-dog-in-heat

Your dog's heat is certainly not a disease or a condition that needs treatment, 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 doorstep. 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 ways 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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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: My dog just went into heat and has diarrhea. She never has accidents in her kennel and now has been having diarrhea in her cage. This is very unusual for her, but it’s also her first heat. Is this normal?

Answer: This is not uncommon due to the hormonal changes coming with the heat cycle and some dogs just get stressed when in heat. Please keep an eye on her and see your vet if you see any worrisome signs accompanying the diarrhea or the diarrhea gets severe. Of course, the diarrhea can be due to other reasons (eating something inappropriate, sudden diet change, presence of parasites, viruses etc) which may need treatment.

Question: Why does my dog in heat want to whine when there's nothing wrong?

Answer: When in heat, many dogs become restless. The hormones may cause them to become more anxious, and they become focused on searching for a mate. Your dog may also be annoyed by the discharge. You can try using a product called DAP, dog appeasing pheromone which many dogs find calming, or you can try distracting her with play. If your dog seems lethargic, doesn't eat or drink or eliminate regularly, then there may be something medical at play that may require a visit to the vet.

Question: Should my dog be sleeping more since she is in heat?

Answer: Each dogs reacts differently to the onset of heat. Dogs who are coming into heat the first time may sometimes react this way. This may be due to a hormonal shift which causes behavioral changes in many female dogs during the initial stage. As the heat progresses though, she may become restless. Of course, see your vet if she starts acting lethargic or sick.

Question: My dog is 8 days into her first season and she is so restless, she cannot nap. She is kicking her back legs, twitching, jumping up and moving around staring at her backside. She is so tired, is this normal it has started in the last 24 hours??

Answer: In some sensitive dogs, the hormonal changes that occur with the estrus cycle can cause anxiety, stress and discomfort. Lethargy, can happen too. Some dogs feel odd in their back end. This can be behavioral and therefore related to the heat, but of course, it never hurts to play it safe and have her evaluated by a vet so to make sure she's not getting a urinary tract infection or some other concomitant health issue.

© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli

Comments

Akansha on July 22, 2020:

How many times does a female lab have heat in her life?

Deborah on June 30, 2020:

How can I stop my male dog from moaning wen gemale in heat he dosent live in the same house

Bev on February 11, 2020:

Our family dog is nearly half way through her cycle. And, last night she whined and was moaning would not eat or drink from 1:30 a.m. - 8:58 a.m. wanting to go outside and strained to go the bathroom. So of course I thought was horribly wrong. She then would get so irritated and lick her swollen vulva and scoot on her bottom! Also, she may have been hot because she never laud in the floor ( she always wants to snuggle). Finally she had a bowl movement at 8:58 am...and quit the moaning and whining and is sooo worn out. Is it normal for her to sleep from 9 am to now it is 2 pm . My question is..can intestines get upset ( as women we do) while on period? Also, she is not interested in food or water. She will drink out of our hands) only right now. THATS NOT LIKE HER. I pray when she is finally rested ( as she moaned n whined all night long) that she will eat and drink. I have read that this is normal. Should we just take her in if she doesn't eat or drink??!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 06, 2020:

It is not unheard of for some dogs in heat to sometimes have stomach issues related to hormone changes possibly causing cramping and stress, but there are always chances it can be due to other factors. If she seems in pain, it may therefore be best to give the vet a call and see what is going on.

Brent on February 05, 2020:

What about stomach pains she seems miserable her second heat

Mya on November 12, 2019:

My dog has had diarrhea for the last 3 nights And only does it at night shes 7 months wondering if cycles coming.

Madeline on October 21, 2019:

My puppy has a very swollen vagina she’s been bleeding heavy for two weeks what do I do

Karen Scott on September 01, 2019:

I have a pitty who is in heat. She won't play like she usually does, she is constipated, she is licking more then ever to the point that it is annoying, and she is very restless.

I am starting to get concerned, she has been in heat before this time it seems that it is affecting her differently.

Haley on July 14, 2019:

My 8 month puppy just went into heat and she wont eat or drink anything

Deena on May 21, 2019:

I have a border collie mixed with rat terrier and im very concern because she is not eating but she plays and being loveable. She sleeps with me every night and also she loves giving hugs. But im worried because shes not eating

vaishali on March 16, 2019:

I have american bully of 7 months...what indian food can i feed her at the time of periods

Ana Mara Garcia on July 14, 2018:

I have a blue pit bull male and I think he is in heat ! Are the male get in heat ?

Nilse on October 01, 2017:

I have a Rottweiler he's about to be 2 and has never been around a female in heat. We have a female dog and she's in heat he's breathing very loudly and short breaths is this normal?

Chantelle on July 09, 2017:

Hy my boxer is 15 months old and it is her first heat she is moaning alot is this normal

Blue on February 14, 2017:

Can I give my dog pain meds or cramping meds to help ease her heat?

sara jackman on December 31, 2016:

My chihuahua has collapsible trachea..only problems with it if sick, bronchitus, or extreme heat or over exercise in heat.... worried abour spaying because of intubation.. if there will be problems with her collapsible trachea after having tube in....

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 12, 2016:

Claire if you are sure it's from the heat, you can try some plain pumpkin or a bland diet or rice and bone less and skin less chicken for a few days. See your vet though if it doesn't seem right.

Claire on December 05, 2016:

Hi my german shepherd is 7 months old and in her first heat she also has accurd the diarrhea what treatment can I give her to settle her stomach

Leet Red Queen on August 10, 2016:

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?

mishty on August 02, 2016:

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

Christie on July 03, 2016:

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 .....help please very concerned grammy and my son is worried about her

Binky on March 28, 2016:

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.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 18, 2016:

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.

Jenna Decker on March 18, 2016:

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?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 05, 2016:

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:

http://www.justanswer.com/dog-health/2hx8u-when-do.../462/

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

http://www.dogsupsetstomach.com/causes/upset-stoma...

Lucie on January 03, 2016:

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?

kara on October 24, 2015:

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?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 15, 2015:

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.

sapna sachan on April 13, 2015:

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??

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 26, 2014:

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.

sandi on September 25, 2014:

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?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 31, 2014:

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.

Dionne on May 31, 2014:

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

Kathy on January 03, 2014:

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

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 21, 2013:

Jj, here's a helpful little guide:

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/-The-Dogs-Heat-Cycle-E...

jj on April 21, 2013:

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

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 19, 2013:

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

arinnacute on April 19, 2013:

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

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 29, 2013:

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!

angel on January 29, 2013:

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:

Maggiev on October 27, 2012:

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.

jc on September 14, 2012:

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.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 01, 2012:

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.

Kat on July 01, 2012:

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

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 03, 2012:

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!

Kelly on June 02, 2012:

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 ?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 18, 2012:

This is common read:

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/How-to-Keep-Male-Dogs-...

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/How-to-get-a-finicky-d...

springmeadow on April 18, 2012:

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

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 25, 2012:

This hub is for minor cases of diarrhea:

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Home-remedies-for-dog-...

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

Tess on February 25, 2012:

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

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 19, 2012:

Try to go on my hub for some tips and read through the comments, best wishes! https://pethelpful.com/dogs/How-to-Keep-Male-Dogs-...

LaDonna McKinzie McKinzie on February 18, 2012:

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?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 08, 2012:

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.

Karen on February 08, 2012:

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

Dorothy on December 01, 2011:

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

huggy on November 30, 2011:

Thank-you this helpe a lot

HeatherR on November 03, 2011:

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

Nims on November 02, 2011:

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.

Doggroomer84 on October 22, 2011:

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.

Heather on October 18, 2011:

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.

Maria on August 30, 2011:

my dog sasha is in heat right now

Memories1932 on May 21, 2011:

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.

micki on October 21, 2010:

thank you guys for helping us im very thank full

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 04, 2010:

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

wanda on October 03, 2010:

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

wanda on October 03, 2010:

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 her....how long will she keep this up?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 14, 2010:

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:

https://pethelpful.com/dogs/-The-Dogs-Heat-Cycle-E...

Elle on September 13, 2010:

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?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 31, 2010:

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: https://pethelpful.com/dogs/-The-Dogs-Heat-Cycle-E...

Jess on July 27, 2010:

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)

elli on July 09, 2010:

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

Kim on February 23, 2010:

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?

Jenna May Swan on January 29, 2010:

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!