If your dog is in heat, you might feel a little overwhelmed attempting to handle the situation. Behavioral changes, mood swings, and cleaning up messes are a normal part of your dog’s cycle. Here’s what you need to know about keeping her comfortable, and how doggy diapers might be able to help.
What Does it Mean When a Dog Is in Heat?
The term “in heat” is used to refer to the estrus cycle. Estrus is a period of time in which a female dog biologically prepares itself to attract a male dog. Estrus is similar to a combination of human ovulation and a human menstrual cycle. It usually lasts from a week to 10 days.
What Happens When a Female Dog Is in Heat?
It’s easy to tell when your dog is in heat — you’ll observe noticeable changes in her behavior and her body.
Your dog’s behavior changes will depend on her normal temperament. If you have a clingy or affectionate dog, she may lean more on you throughout this time. If your dog is excitable, she may seem irritated or unapproachable.
Her appetite is also likely to change. Some dogs will ravenously eat while in heat, while others might refuse food.
You may also notice your dog vocalizes more when she’s in heat. This might be her way of telling you that she’s uncomfortable. Estrus can cause pains similar to human menstrual cramps. Your dog’s abdomen may be tender and she may whine when she can’t find a comfortable position to rest in.
Vaginal Swelling and Bleeding
Your dog’s vulva may swell up when she’s in heat. It will become visibly larger. Oftentimes, female dogs will also experience vaginal bleeding or spotting while in heat. It shouldn’t be an excessive amount of blood, and it won’t constantly run. This bleeding may persist for the entire estrus period, which can be as long as 10 days.
Is There Any Way To Stop Your Dog From Going into Heat?
There are two ways to stop a dog from going into heat. Spaying your dog will permanently prevent her from going into heat. Breeding her will stop her from going into heat temporarily, but it creates far more problems than it solves.
Breeding Your Dog
Dogs don’t go into heat while they’re pregnant. They often won’t go into heat until their puppies are weaned. Breeding your dog to keep her from going into heat would be highly irresponsible and cruel to the animal. As cute as a litter of puppies might be, you’ll be responsible for all the costs associated with pregnancy, labor, and care for those puppies.
Rehoming the puppies to someone who will care for them throughout the duration of their lives is extremely difficult, so breeding should be left to AKC-registered breeders who have the knowledge, experience, and resources to properly provide for and home a new litter.
Spaying Your Dog
Spaying your dog removes her ovaries. If she doesn’t have ovaries, she cannot enter estrus. Your dog will never go in heat again if you get her spayed.
Ultimately, this is more comfortable for your dog. She won’t need to deal with the fluctuations of her hormones or changes in her emotional state. You won’t have to work hard to comfort her while she’s experiencing distress as a result of estrus. Everyone can breathe a little easier.
In addition to preventing estrus, spaying your dog will prevent unwanted pregnancy. Over 1 million people surrender or rehome pets every year. Shelters are full, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to find a forever home for every member of your dog’s litter. Spaying your pet can help to reduce shelter overpopulation.
If cost is a concern, you may be surprised to learn how inexpensive the procedure is. Many cities offer subsidized spay and neuter programs for people experiencing financial hardship. Some shelters will even have regularly scheduled days where they’ll partner with a vet who will offer spays and neuters at a discount in order to help reduce unwanted pregnancy.
Spaying or neutering animals saves most counties money in the long run. Affordable clinics for vaccinations and spaying or neutering are beneficial for the whole community.
You can learn more by searching the ASPCA’s list of low cost animal clinics in your area or by calling animal services (or animal control) in your area. They’ll be happy to point you in the direction of affordable resources to keep your pet safe and healthy.
What Is a Dog Diaper?
A dog diaper is a reusable cloth diaper made with an absorbent interior and a leakproof exterior. The diaper is designed with an elasticated hole in the back that allows your dog’s tail to come through.
These diapers are often designed with velcro waist straps. Some models can be held onto your dog with suspenders to prevent her from pulling them off.
Do Diapers Work for Dogs in Heat?
A diaper can prevent your dog from leaving blood stains or blood trails around the house during estrus. It can also protect a swollen vulva from accidental injury if she rubs against the furniture.
A doggy diaper is only a temporary solution. If your dog is currently in estrus, you can put a diaper on her and take it off every time you let her outside to go potty. You can put it back on when she comes back in the house.
This process can be a bit of a hassle, particularly if your dog doesn’t like wearing her diaper. Many dogs frantically attempt to remove their diapers. If your dog is aggressive with you when you attempt to put a diaper on her, don’t fight her. You risk injuring both yourself and the animal when you do so.
If your dog attempts to chew or rip the diaper off, help your dog remove the diaper. She might get hurt or irritate her skin from chewing or scratching.
Diapers should be laundered daily. They’ll collect blood and other bodily fluids that shouldn’t be trapped close to your dog’s skin.
Should I Use a Diaper for My Dog?
You can use a dog-specific diaper for your dog if she tolerates it well, but it shouldn’t be your long-term plan.
The best option is to have your pet spayed to prevent her from entering estrus in the first place. In the long run, your dog will be much happier and more comfortable if she doesn’t have to deal with estrus. Spaying even helps to reduce the risk of some health conditions in female dogs, including breast tumors and uterine infections.
Your Dog’s Health Is Important
We all want the best for our pets. While there are many natural and simple solutions that can effectively keep your dog happy and healthy, diapers probably aren’t one of them. Diapers may be valuable for pets that deal with incontinence issues or as a temporary way to protect the lower abdomen following a surgical procedure. They aren’t the best way to help your dog cope with estrus for their whole lives.
The best option is to get your dog spayed. Spay procedures are safe, generally affordable, and involve minimal downtime for your dog. Aftercare is easy, and it won’t be long before your dog feels like herself again.
Ultimately, spaying will save you both a lot of time and hassle. It’s a far more efficient solution in the long run. While we believe that holistic care is often the right choice, relying on diapers is not the standard of care your dog deserves.
For more holistic pet care tips, browse the VETCBD Hemp blog.