If you have at least two dogs living under one roof, then you know that sometimes keeping your pair of furry friends under control can get quite hectic. It’s during a female dog’s heat cycle, however, that things get crazy as the male and female stir each other up in a hormonal frenzy.
A typical female dog will experience between one to four heat cycles annually which last for between two to three weeks. Depending on your pooch, you might not immediately notice she’s in heat; but often the first sign you’ll see is a bloody discharge.
During a heat cycle, a female dog will produce pheromones and hormones that male dogs can detect from kilometres away. And this is the source of trouble as intact males in range will catch a whiff of a viable mate near them and come knocking.
When an intact male dog senses a nearby female is in heat, they’ll do just about anything to get to the potential girlfriend. This is where a usually mild-mannered dog starts behaving erratically making him hard to control. Male dogs could jump over or dig under fences or cross a busy highway just to get to the in-heat female dog.
If you have both a female and male dog that haven’t been desexed living under the same roof, things can get a little chaotic for you if you don’t want a pregnancy.
How to keep your male dog calm during a female’s estrus cycle
Here are the 3 things you can do to keep your male dog calm when they’re sharing a roof with an in-heat female.
- Separate the dogs. Under no circumstances should an intact male and an in-heat female dog be kept near each other if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy. Keep the dogs separated until the female’s heat cycle is over. Put the dogs in rooms on opposite sides of the house for maximum distance. If you’re limited on space, you can keep your male dog outside in the yard and the female dog indoors. Don’t keep your in-heat female dog outdoors, she may attract nearby male dogs or try to escape to find a mate. An alternative for keeping your dogs separated is having the male dog board in a kennel or at a vet’s office where boarding services are available until the female dog is no longer in heat. Having a friend or family take your male dog off your hands for a while is a cheaper way of doing it.
- Mask the in-heat females’ scent. You’ll need to create a conducive environment in your home by keeping the scent of the in-heat female under control. One way of doing this is by keeping your house clean. While cleaning is something you should be doing anyways, it’s especially important when you have an in-heat female dog. An in-heat dog produces a freely-dripping discharge which is not only messy, but the primary source of male attracting hormones and pheromones. Clean the house using vinegar or bleach for hard surfaces and shampoo for your carpets to mask the scent. Also make sure you clean the in-heat dog’s bedding regularly.
- Additionally, you’ll need to bath your dog more frequently using a mild shampoo. Adding a splash of apple cider vinegar in the rinse water will help mask the smell. Applying a menthol rub or spray onto the tail of the female dog will also help, but make sure she doesn’t lick it before it dries as it can be toxic. Also, be careful not to get the menthol on any sensitive parts as it could be very irritating.
- Exercise is good for everyone. Exercise is a great way to distract and calm your dog while expending a big portion of their aggressive energy. Play with both the dogs separately; the male outside and the female indoors, and provide them with toys to keep them busy and relaxed.
- Your male dog should be walked regularly, and ensure that he gets a walk that is long enough for his size and breed. Avoid walking your female dog when she’s in heat as this could cause trouble with other nearby male dogs. You can however take her out in a fenced in area and supervise her the entire time so that she doesn’t get into trouble.
A Permanent Solution
To avoid dealing with the problem of an in-heat dog every few months, veterinarians recommend that you get your female dog spayed (removal of ovaries for female dogs) and your male dog neutered.
Desexing is not only effective for keeping your dogs from becoming parents, it can also reduce the risk of certain types of cancers and help improve your dogs’ overall behaviour.