Female dogs that are intact (not spayed) go into heat roughly around once every six months. If you are not prepared for caring a dog that is in heat, the caring and dealing with the dog can be come problematic. The heat cycle lasts about three weeks, and those six weeks out of the year can be a tough time for all involved. So it is important to learn about what your dog will go through, and how to make those periods be as comfortable as possible for the dog, and consequently you and other members of the household.
No Alone Time or Off Leash Walks: A dog in heat will seek out a mate, and male dogs will be drawn to her, so it is important to control her environment when she is in heat. A determined dog will try and jump the fence, or other dogs may scale your wall in an attempt to reach your dog. The same is true when walking your dog; in order to control her movements and keep her away from male dogs. If you have an outside dog, you should keep her in a crate for the duration of the crates, at times when you are not able to supervise her when she is outside.
Pay Attention to Her: Giving your dog emotional support is just as important as making her physically comfortable. This can be done by doing grooming sessions, more petting, keeper her close to her human family, and so on. Of course, the discharge during this period can be a problem, so keeping her in a crate becomes an option; however, she should ideally be close to her humans, and not shut in a room alone or in the garage while she is in heat, as she may think she is being punished for something she cannot control.
No Strenuous Activities or Training: To keep your dog comfortable, you should avoid exercising her vigorously, and putting her through training sessions. Of course, she should be taken on walks and be allowed time in the yard; however, all this should be done in moderation and while keeping her condition in mind. It is important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior, and just follow her lead, as some may become energetic and others lethargic while going through heat.
Talk to Your Vet: Going into heat is not an illness, but your veterinarian can help you better understand what is going on with your dog. Your veterinarian may be able to guide you along and help you make the process more comfortable for your dog. There is usually no ‘treatment’ for a dog in heat, but your veterinarian may prescribe something to help particularly tough experiences.
Spaying Your Dog: If you are not planning to breed your dog, or have her participate in shows, then you may want to consider spaying her. This will help not only avoid accidental pregnancies, but also help her avoid the stress of going through heat twice per year without having access to an outlet for her needs.