Rham is vegan, married and child-free; she loves nature and wildlife, has two dogs and six, sometimes seven, other four-legged boarders.
Intact Dogs as Pets
Intact dogs are dogs whose ovaries and testicles have not been removed for whatever purpose. My husband and I have two dogs, both male and female. We are both animal lovers, and although we didn't want to "own" a companion animal, we ended up having not only one, but two dogs, both male and female. Our dogs are both rescued puppies.
Everything seemed fine until Perci, our female, reached her first estrus cycle, and Meegnu (me-noo), our male, started whimpering and repeatedly trying to mount on Perci. It would have been different and easier if both were sterilized—we could have just let them mate—but they are not.
With no first-hand experience in managing dogs during their reproductive season, we appeared to have managed the entire heat cycle well. We were not ready, but we were able to do it successfully.
Managing Intact Male and Female Dogs During Estrus
Tip: Use a Washable Diaper or Wrap for the Female
A diaper will prevent the constant licking that many female dogs are prone to do while in heat. It also keeps your house and furnishings cleaner and the surroundings less smelly. Most importantly, it blocks successful contact. However, dog diapers are not a viable form of canine contraception; a male dog will easily find a way around the diaper.
There are plenty of DIY videos available online showcasing the procedures on how to make dog diapers at home. These dog diapers can also be purchased online. If you choose to make one or purchase a ready-made dog diaper, I recommend making or buying the ones which have elastic on the leg sides. They are not only stable, but also make it difficult for a male dog to move or push the diaper to the side. A shorts-like or pajama-like diaper is great as well, because the only way that a male dog can go around it is to tear the fabric. The video below is one of the videos I found very helpful for DIY dog wraps.
Washable Wraps for Male Dogs
Half-body wraps cover the male genitals and thus prevent contact. With this on your dog, he can be allowed to mount and you will not have to worry about possible contact.
For ease of mind, let both dogs wear wraps at the same time.
- I made diapers and wraps out of our old shorts and boxers. I also wrap cotton pads in gauze for Perci's. It helps to absorb female discharge during this season.
DIY Washable and Reusable Dog Diaper
Keep Your Dogs Separated
Distance diverts the male dog's attention. This can be done by keeping them in separate rooms where they cannot see each other, tying them away from one another, keeping the female dog in an enclosure, or leaving the female dog in an outdoor enclosure that is cool, safe, and secure.
Luckily, we live in a building where there is an enclosure attached to the house. It covers the back side of two houses with only one entrance. It is also spacious and secure enough to keep other dogs from entering. Our building is a two-story apartment where there is a balustraded rooftop, and the above flats are empty. This keeps not only Meegnu, but other dogs from the vicinity away from Perci. Meegnu, like any other male dog during the heat cycle, becomes very aggressive when other male dogs are around.
Assigning someone to look after one of the two dogs is also a good idea. I don't work, so while my husband is at work, I am the sole watcher for our two canines.
Leaving Your Dogs Alone Together
If you are a couple who doesn't have anybody else around to look after your canine companions when you're away for a couple of hours, there are a few ways you can do to ensure that your male and female fur friends cannot mate.
- Separate them in the household (leave one free roaming and one in a separate room with a water bowl and toys).
- Make both wear their wraps.
- Keeping one dog in a large enough crate or enclosure is also a solution. This is a temporary measure that is effective. The outdoor enclosure idea can also be taken, but make sure that you are the only one who has the key to its door.
- If you're blessed enough to have a reliable person who can ensure you that he or she will take good care of the dogs while you are out, request or employ this person. Let the female wear her diaper, just in case.
Keeping Them Separated While Outdoors
Dogs need to be walked, and a heat cycle should not deprive them the pleasure of being outdoors. Whether the walk is for fun, for stretching and exercise, or to answer the call of nature, here are a few tips to consider:
- Keep them on a leash all the time. You don't want your fur-friends running away from you to find other dogs or fight with other dogs (male dogs fight to secure a female) just for the sake of mating.
- Have another human company to walk the dogs with you. It is always more manageable if there is help at hand. In our case, both my husband and I take our dogs out together. He takes the male, and I take the female.
- Take one dog out at a time. This takes much of your time, but it is safer. It is also much easier to handle one dog than two at a time.
- Bring a stick with you. This is to visually ward off other "street" dogs from coming closer to your female dog (and not to be used for harming them). It also serves as a warning instrument to keep male dogs from growling at each other, thereby avoiding a potential fight among them. Keeping a stick handy appears to be effective in averting misbehavior.
- Avoid spending outdoor for a long time. At this time of year, pleasure and leisure that the outdoor brings need to be curtailed to prevent uninvited guests.
How to Separate Them at Night
Well, your canine companions will sleep as well! Come early morning, the male dog will certainly start mounting your female dog. To make sure that none of this activity happens while you are still in bed, keep them separated.
In our household, since Perci and Meegnu like sleeping close to us, Perci gets tied on one side of the bed, while Meegnu is tied on the other.
Obvious Solutions for Preventing Litters
Surely, sterilization is the answer. In our case, however, we don't want our dogs to be spayed and neutered. As vegans, we strongly believe that such procedures are speciesist considering that we don't remove the ovaries and testicles of human beings to prevent them from procreating or from any diseases. Instead, we do tubectomy or tubal ligation for females and vasectomy for males. The same procedures could be done to our feline and canine companions. Apparently, these less expensive and less traumatic simple operations, as revealed by Ben Hart, a veterinary behaviorist from the University of California at Davis, are not yet taught in vet schools. He also added that shelter vets could learn them in an afternoon wet lab.
Unless we find a vet who is willing to do these operations for our dogs, they will be prevented from mating using the above-mentioned heat cycle management tips.
Keeping our dogs in diapers or wraps, keeping them supervised and tied at night, keeping them on a leash while outdoors, and separating them from each other works best for us. We no longer worry. However, being careful and constant supervision still plays a very important role in managing two dogs of different sexes during the heat cycle.
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: How do you stop the male from constantly whining at all hours of the night?
Answer: I haven't found the most effective way yet, but separating them or keeping them away from each other can minimize it. Eventually, he will get tired and sleep. You can also sternly talk to the dog, which shows your dislike of his behavior. It's quite difficult, but it is not something that can't be tolerated.
© 2018 Rham Dhel
Barbey on August 09, 2020:
Very helpful article! Thank you!
Person on July 24, 2020:
Is it better to let the male dog near the female dog while supervised so he knows she is close by, or will this only make his behavior worse?
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 08, 2018:
I just read this again and since it was under the subheading about leaving them alone, I just thought of outside. You are right. You are recommending leaving them chained up in the house.
Intact male dogs are likely to run away, so unless the owner keeps him in the house or restrained all of the time, removing his sex organs is the only way to stop this. You may not be okay with this philosophically but it is reality for the majority of the world.
As far as human females go, no, we do not remove the organs but then again humans do not bleed all over the house. We also do not breed humans to not be able to speak or have no hair, but dogs are modified in many ways for the convenience of their human caretakers. Again, this is not natural but it is a philosophical choice.
Thanks for your interesting and well thought out response. It is great to hear your viewpoint.
Rham Dhel (author) from India on February 08, 2018:
Hi, Dr. Mark. I don't think I mentioned to chain female dogs outside. I have to re-read this article again.
Like I mentioned, wraps are not full-proof. Male dogs will still be able to find ways. A human company is always advisable.
Your last paragraph is a twisted logic. First, let us not forget the primary reasons why we do those surgeries, that is to prevent litter, not accidents or dogs getting poisoned or prevent behavioral problems related to the heat cycle. Second, vehicular accidents are not due to non-sterilization of animals. It is a social problem that needs a different solution -creating more awareness among people so they will be concerned about dogs, and other animals; creating dog-friendly spaces; monitoring dogs while they are outside, etc. Removing reproductive organs is an inappropriate method to mange bleeding during estrus -we don't do that to humans. Ovario-hysterectomy prevents ovarian cancer and reduces mammary cancer and pelvic inflammatory diseases in humans, too, but it is not done in humans at all. So why do we do neutering and spaying to dogs or cats? Does their anatomy and physiology have no resemblance to ours?
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 08, 2018:
HI Astral I thought I would mention that chaining your female outside is not a good idea. Females attract males from all over so she will end up bred anyway, even if you keep her away from your own male. Keeping the female in a diaper will not stop some males.
If you keep the female outside, it must be in a kennel that is covered.
The reason that vet schools do not teach vasectomy and tubal ligation instead of neutering and spaying is that none of the behavioral problems are diminished with those surgeries. Males still have testosterone and wander around when a female is in heat, sometimes getting hit by a car or poisoned by a dog hater. The females still come into heat and attract male dogs, still bleed all over the house, and are still prone to ovarian and mammary cancer.