Oestrus (heat)

IT’S SPRING... and with it female dogs being in heat. Or what to do with the male dog when the female dog is in heat?

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Perhaps every owner of a male dog has experienced this before – his/her partner switches off his brain, forgets he has a name and fails to listen more or less reliably... the hormones just work out with him at full speed. Of course, it is not easy for owners of females either – they have to chase away disobedient male dogs for a while, while desperately calling on their owners to catch their Casanova as soon as possible and take him away...

So we asked owners of male and female dogs directly how they manage this challenging period and what specific steps they take to avoid unwanted breeding. This time we deliberately do not discuss the possibility of neutering (because for example it is not a solution for breeding male/female dogs).

Zuzka: Restricting female dogs is nonsense

Owners of both, male and female dogs, should either have their dogs trained and bred to make sure they are recalled at any time or keep them on a leash.
I have a dog, and I didn’t even think I should be terrified of coming across the heat. It’s up to me to make sure my dog doesn’t bother the female dog. And I expect the same approach from female dog owners – they do not let their female dog run after male dogs.
I’m sure it’s okay if female dogs in heat don’t have access to bigger dog events, especially races, etc. It is just stress for the dogs around and for the female dog herself. On the other hand, female dogs in heat should have access to the exercise dog parks, it is by the word “exercise”, so that the dog is manageable even in the presence of a female dog in heat.


First oestrus (heat)
It starts between 6 and 10 months of age of the female dog; in really giant breeds it can be much later, only after the first year of age.

A female usually heats for two to three weeks, and for the first time it can take longer and manifest itself in a stronger discharge/bleeding, or vice versa, may be weaker or shorter.

The heat is repeated roughly every six months (only once a year in giant breeds).

Kristýna: The dog must always obey

I have both, male and female dog. And because our female dog “smells” to dogs all year round, not only during the heat season, the activity of dogs around her does not change, they bother her constantly. If the dog is on a leash, I see no reason I see no reason why my female dog can’t also walk properly at my feet. Dogs usually sniff each other, wag their tails, and happily continue on. The problem can arise when a strange dog is out of a leash and unfortunately does not master basic obedience. I usually wait for the owner to take him away, or I catch the dog myself.
I consider the last week of heat to be critical, the female dog strictly seeks contact with dogs at this time, so I am much more cautious outdoor.
And from the male dog owner’s point of view – everything can be handled easily if the dog masters basic obedience. Well, if his hormones take over, there’s no point shouting at him, and it is definitely more effective to go get him and take him away on a leash. If the dog is not obedient enough, don’t let the dog out of a leash or use a tracking leash.


“Every dog should be manageable even when female dogs in heat are around. That’s what trainers and various dog schools are for, where they advise on how to deal with such situations.”

Johana: My dog can control himself

I’m not a fan of preventive or comfort neutering, so I take heat as a normal part of an animal’s life. I have a male dog who is one of the more “perverted” ones, but he is used to female dogs in heat from a young age. We do not avoid meetings where female dogs in heat occur, sometimes we go out with them. My dog knows the rules – he can lick and care for them, but that’s it. So I can leave him with them for free – under constant supervision, of course!
In general, I have no problem with female dogs in heat that are out of a leash as long as they can be recalled very well. There have been too many times when such a female dog rushed towards us, started provoking the dog and walked almost all the way home with us, while the owner was nowhere in sight – I consider that very irresponsible!
I haven’t encountered a female dog in heat at an exhibition or at a competition yet, but there I consider it quite unfair to dog owners, where animals have to focus on other things.


Chang in behaviour
During the heat, the female’s behaviour changes more or less, she may even be downright disobedient, start running, etc. Experienced owners observe changes in their female dog even before the heat starts.
Of course, every female behaves differently, there is not one “reliable” pattern of behaviour.

Simona: We go for shorter walks

The owner of the female dog simply has to expect that twice a year she will need to be watched and her regime changed. We go for shorter walks and in places without dogs. We wake up in the morning and go later in the evening when the other dogs are not outside. Those three weeks can be endured and guarded!

Veronika: I’m more careful

When my dog is in heat, I try to avoid the places where dogs move the most. I don’t go shopping with her, I don’t tie her to poles and I keep her on a leash on my walk. If a person is approaching with a dog out of a leash, I’d rather warn him/her that my female dog is in heat so that he/she should catch his/her dog. When nothing helps and the dog is still coming, I stand behind my female dog so he can’t get to her. Eventually, I grab him by the collar and hold him until the owner comes for him or try to push him away.

Monika: I have eyes in the back and pants in my bag

I have both, male and female dog. At home, I use heat pants and heating spray (helps a lot), which I spray on the male dog’s chest, on the female dog’s buttock (not on the vulva) including the hind legs. The pants will help before the critical D-day comes, then the dog can remove them in a second. So I have eyes in the back and pants in my bag. I put the female dog in a show cage for the night.

Heat equipment
Owners of females in the apartment will certainly appreciate the heat pants, which will prevent staining of furniture, beds, floor, etc. But beware – it certainly does not serve as a defense against unwanted breeding!
There are also repellent sprays that can deter intrusive dogs. Of course, even these are not always 100%, but they can help you a little.

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