Our puppies in the first months of life grow very fast indeed. Their withers rise, and their legs, from round and chubby, become thinner. But it is not only the aesthetic changes that reveal to us how much our best friend is becoming an adult, there are also hormonal and environmental factors that will lead them… towards their first love.
In fact, after the first few months of life, our dog may have her first oestrus, a term used to define the phase preceding the fertile moment typical of the dog in heat; or, the male dog, sniffing her scent, may show those first signs of attraction towards females. But how to behave in this situation, which is more than natural and, indeed, a symptom of excellent health of our four-legged friends?
In the vast majority of cases, the first heat of the dog, and then, more generally, the heat of the adult dog, is always experienced with anxiety by the owners, who are afraid above all of escapes, deleterious and dangerous since they are guided by instinct in the case of males, or of unwanted intrusions, in the case of females. However, by adopting the right strategies, we need have no fear.
One of the best strategies for reducing anxiety and fears is surely to equip oneself with a dog GPS. This will allow us to always know where our dog is and, above all, track his or her escape. In addition, by choosing Kippy you will also have other functions such as VITA messages, which will give you advice and information on your four-legged friend, and the monitoring of sleep, relaxation, running and steps, so that you can always check his state of health even at this particular time of year.
Let’s start, then, by trying to understand a few important points, such as the duration of the dog’s heat, the first heat of the female dog, and their behaviour
When is the female in heat?
When does the first heat occur?
Our puppies generally experience their first heat between six and eight months. With a small distinction: medium and large sized dogs become sexually mature, i.e. able to conceive, after 15 months; while smaller, smaller dogs become fertile at around 9 months of age.
How long will the dog’s heat last?
Regardless of age, a female dog’s heat can last three weeks, i.e. 21 days, on average. Some female dogs can last as long as 28. The fundamental rule, however, is to ensure that our puppies do not come into contact with male dogs for at least 35 days.
How is the female dog’s fertile period confirmed?
The fertile period of female dogs is divided into a period called ‘proestrus’, which is followed by another known as ‘oestrus’. The first moment is marked by signs of restlessness, yelping, swelling of the external intimate parts of the dog, up to and including bleeding, which is generally evident. Although males are attracted to females during this period, the latter are generally not inclined to approach them, and may even chase them away violently. Please take notice!
The subsequent period, on the other hand, is characterised by an absence of losses and all those symptoms that, visually, characterise proestrus. This is the actual heat phase, in which our bitch may be inclined to mate with the dog, and about which we must keep our eyes wide open.
How can I manage my puppy when she is in heat?
There are small tricks to manage our four-legged friends during this delicate phase. First of all, we avoid scolding and punishment: their irritated or disobedient behaviour is linked to hormones. Let’s try to reassure them! Eyes open, then, during walks. Always use the leash, and warn the owners of other male dogs, especially if free, that our puppy is in the heat period. And finally, watch out for intruders. If our little one is in the garden, watch out for any male dogs that might sneak in.
The male dog ‘in heat’
A myth to dispel: males do not go through any heat phase. In fact, this term denotes only the fertile situation of females, with its manifestations. Dogs instinctively sense the scent of females that are in this phase and try to reach them. But how does the male dog’s ‘heat’ manifest itself? What is its behaviour?
The male dog reaches sexual maturity earlier than the females, at around six months. From this moment on, he will always be sensitive to females going through the proestrus phase. In fact, he will only have to sniff them at a distance to show himself restless and inclined to run away.
The male dog ‘in heat’: how do they behave?
- The male is capable of sniffing out a dog in oestrus or oestrus hundreds of metres away, behaving in a bizarre and restless manner: howls, states of restlessness, up to and including attempts to escape after scratching doors and floors to perfection
- Dogs, moreover, during these stages, begin to mark their territory almost excessively often, even where there is no need to do so (e.g. even on the doorstep).
How to handle the male dog in heat:
- Give way to cuddles: affectionate behaviour, playful activities will make him feel protected, will make him let off steam, and the thought of reaching for the smells he sniffs will be kept at bay.
- If there is a bitch in heat nearby, keep the dog under cover, possibly in the house, or in the garden. Also increase surveillance: if the dog escapes, there may be unpleasant consequences, such as unwanted pregnancies; or dangerous ones. The male dog, in fact, becomes very stubborn when he smells the odours of a female in heat, and is likely to miss cars and dangers around him.
- Considering neutering, if your four-legged friend is used to getting into trouble, could be an option. Talk to your vet, who will certainly be able to advise you.
To always keep an eye on your four-legged friend during the heat period, a good solution is to get a good dog GPS so that you always know where he is. With Kippy, we can also create a virtual fence so that if our dog crosses it, we are immediately alerted. A simple tool but one that could greatly reduce runaway stress.
Advice on handling both the male dog and the female dog in heat
Escapes, unwanted intrusions: the consequences can be unpleasant in both cases during heat. That is why GPS devices for dogs can help us experience this natural period for our four-legged friends with less anxiety. With GPS trackers such as Kippy and its GeoFence function, males are monitored: whenever your dog leaves the safe area you have defined, you will receive a notification on your mobile device. If, on the other hand, you wish to monitor your puppy when you are away from home, the Kippy dog tracker can help you by informing you in real time of your pooch’s movements and activities.
So live happily this period, taking care of your dogs every moment of their lives. It is the greatest gesture of love you can make for them!