The term ‘heat’ refers to the period during which a female dog is sexually receptive. The heat cycle usually lasts from 2 weeks before ovulation until she has her next litter. During this time, a female dog will display certain behaviors such as panting, urinating, defecating, licking herself, rolling over, etc.
Male dogs can become aroused at the sight of their female counterparts in heat. They can also become aggressive towards them. If they see a female in heat, they might try to mate with her.
In this article, we will take you through behavioral changes that may occur in your male dog and how you can care for and calm your dog during this time.
When Do Female Dogs Become In Heat?
Female dogs first start showing signs of being in heat when they reach puberty, which is usually around 6 months of age. This happens because the estrogen levels and progesterone increase in their bodies. As these hormones rise, they cause the lining of the uterus to thicken and swell.
This thickening causes the vaginal opening to enlarge and protrude outwards. It also makes it easier for sperm to enter the vagina.
How Often Do Female Dogs Become In Heat?
Most dogs become in heat twice a year (or once every 6 months) although this varies from breed to breed. Larger breeds may only have their estrus cycle once a year, whilst small breeds may have it three times a year.
What Are Signs Of Heat In Female Dogs?
Females in heat will show some behavioral changes. A female dog will begin to lick herself more often. Her tail will wag back and forth. She will roll over on her side and expose her vulva (vagina).
She will also urinate frequently but this is nothing to worry about. It is typical in heat behavior. She will also be very vocal and may even scream or bark loudly.
Do Dogs Bleed When They Are In Heat?
Vaginal bleeding is perfectly normal for dogs who are in their estrus cycle. However, if your dog bleeds excessively, it could mean that there is an underlying medical condition.
They should produce a slight bloody discharge and this will happen as they enter the estrus stage of their heat cycle.
How Long Does A Dog’s Heat Cycle Last?
A dog’s heat cycle varies from breed to breed. Some breeds have a longer duration than others. For instance, German Shepherd dogs have a 4-5 day heat cycle, while Labrador Retrievers only last 3 days.
Some breeds don’t show any signs of heat at all. Others will go into full heat within 24 hours.
It is a good idea to make sure to keep track of the dates so you know exactly when she is going into heat. You can do this by keeping a calendar close by and noting down the date each month.
What Are The Stages Of A Dog’s Heat Cycle?
The stages of a dog’s heat cycle are:
- Proestrus stage – This is the preovulatory phase where the follicles release the egg.
- Estrus stage – This is the period when the body releases the eggs for fertilization.
How Do Male Dogs React To Females In Heat?
When intact male dogs of a mature age encounter females on their heat cycle, you may notice some sudden and uncharacteristic behavioral shifts.
A female dog releases a pheromone called methyl p-hydroxybenzoate when she is in heat. It has been shown to sexually arouse males who smell that scent. That’s by design; however, it can cause a lot of chaos for both you and your furry friend.
An intact male dog who smells the scent of a nearby bitch in heat will take his entire focus. Male dogs may stop feeding themselves, increase their marking, get increasingly aggressive and obsess over finding the female dog in heat for the duration of her cycle.
- Aggression towards other males
- Lying down next to the female
- Attempting to mount her
- Attempt to bite her neck or genitals
- Attacking her
- Showing a lack of focus
- Losing his appetite
- Not responding when you call his name
- Excessively marking territory with urine marking
- Snapping at his owner
Sexual behaviors are reflective of your dog’s natural desire to mate with a female, and if they are not dealt with correctly, they can lead to unwanted pregnancy for the female dog.
How To Calm Your Dog When He Encounters A Female In Heat?
It’s important to keep your intact male dog away from his female companion when she’s in heat, especially if you want to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Make sure to take your male dogs out for lots of independent exercises and activities, and keep them distracted as best as you possibly can.
Pheromone sprays can be helpful for situations where there’s a lot of space between the two dogs. Speak to your vet before using any of these products.
Actions You Can Take
If your male dog becomes agitated while he encounters a female in heat, here are some tips to help him relax:
- Move your dog away from the female in heat.
- Be gentle with your dog. Don’t shout at him or hit him.
- Try to keep your dog busy. Play fetch with him, give him treats, or play tug-of-war with him.
- Have someone else pet your dog. Letting your dog interact with another animal will help him release tension.
- Take your dog outside to relieve himself.
- Use a muzzle if your dog gets excited and starts barking or biting.
- Use menthol spray or essential oils to mask the smell of the female pheromones
How Can You Care For Your Female Dog While She Is In Heat?
As the owner of a female dog, there are a number of things you can do to protect your furry friend from unwanted advances of male counterparts.
1.Doggy diapers will not only contain bloody discharge and stop it from getting on the carpet, but they also form a physical barrier between your dog and a male dog who may mount her.
2. Keeping your female dog indoors will prevent her from being exposed to unwanted advances.
3. If you have a female dog who is prone to excessive urination, then you should consider putting her into a crate during this time. This will allow her to relieve herself without having to go outside.
4. Keep your female dog away from other animals.
5. If you notice that your female dog is becoming overly stressed or anxious, then speak to your veterinarian about medication options.
Does Neutering Help Stop Aggressive Behavior In Male Dogs?
Neutering has been shown to reduce aggression in both male and female dogs. It’s important to note that neutering does not eliminate all aggressive behavior. However, it does make it less likely that your dog will act aggressively toward others.
What Exactly Is Neutering?
Neutering is the surgical removal of testicles (castration). Castration prevents dogs from producing testosterone which causes them to grow hair around their genitals. Neutered dogs tend to lose interest in sex and may even develop a preference for females.
Will My Dog Suffer?
The procedure itself is quick and painless. The most common side effect is a slight decrease in sexual drive. Most dogs recover within a few days. Some owners find their dogs become more vocal after surgery.
Why Should I Get My Dog Spayed Or Neutered?
There are many reasons why you should neuter your dog.
- Neutering your dog reduces the risk of certain types of cancer.
- It helps control your dog’s urge to roam.
- It reduces the chance of your dog developing behavioral problems such as aggression and quells sexual behavior.
- It helps prevent your dog from breeding.
- It lowers your dog’s risk of heart disease.
- It protects against prostate disease and pyometra.
- It may lower your dog’s chances of developing diabetes.
- It helps prevent some reproductive cancers.
Do Pheromone Sprays Work?
Pheromone sprays work by mimicking the scent of a sexually receptive female. They are designed to attract males to the area where the female is located.
Can Pheromone Sprayers Be Used To Control Behaviors?
Yes! Pheromone sprays can be used to help train your dog to perform specific behaviors. They can also be used to calm an agitated dog.
Can Pheromone Spraying Hurt My Dog?
No! There are no known harmful effects associated with pheromone spraying.
The kindest thing you can do when your male dog encounters a female in season is to try to keep him away from her as much as possible.
If there is a nearby female in the house or neighboring house that you cannot get your dog away from, you should take him for frequent walks, give him lots of attention, and distract him as much as possible whilst she is on her estrous cycle.
You can also try covering the smell of her pheromones with sprays. However, the best way to avoid all this is to have your male neutered when he is a pup. It may seem cruel, but it is actually much kinder in the long run.