If you haven’t gotten your female dog spayed, she will go into heat. If your dog hasn’t had her first heat yet, you will want to be prepared.
- At what age will my dog have her first heat?
She may have her first heat anywhere between 6 months and 24 months, so make sure you have dog diapers on hand. Although, it would be easier to put her outside and not have to worry about the discharge, but you’ll then have to worry about male dogs getting into your yard.
- How often will she go into heat?
Your female dog will go into heat for about 18 to 24 days at a time once every 5 to 8 months.
- What are the signs my dog is going into heat?
Her vulva will be swollen and there will be bloody discharge. For the first week, she will attract male dogs, but she probably won’t let them mount her. After a week or so, she will begin to court the male dogs; at this stage, her vulva may be smaller and the discharge may not be as heavy or bloody.
- What is a ‘split heat’?
A female dog may have a split heat for her first heat. This means that she will develop a swollen vulva and have bloody discharge, but she won’t actually ovulate. About 2 to 6 weeks later, she will appear to be in heat again; this is her real heat.
- Can I disguise my dog’s heat from male dogs?
Yes and no. You can try rubbing a dab of menthol rub under her tail. You can also give your dog chlorophyll tablets to mask the scent; before you dog this, consult your vet for the correct dosage.
If you have a male dog, as well, you can rub menthol on his nose to try to mask the female’s scent.
These tactics may help, but there is no guarantee that they will 100% mask your dog’s heat cycle from male dogs. If you do not want a litter of puppies, keep her inside and away from male dogs; when taking her outside, either leash walk her or stay outside with her while she’s outside.