Dealing With Female Dogs in Season
Dog with bow looking into camera

Female Dogs in Season

By Tammy Gagne

One of the best things you can do for your dog is to have him or her sterilized. Studies have shown that spaying and neutering can greatly extend a dog’s life span by reducing the incidences of many types of cancer, such as mammary cancer—and completely eliminating others, like uterine and testicular cancer. For owners who wish to breed or show their dogs in conformation events, however, spaying and neutering must wait. In the meantime, owners of female dogs must deal with an unpleasant problem: heat.

Many female dogs come into season for the first time around six months of age. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, however. Some dogs don’t reach their first heat phase until 18 to 24 months. The largest breeds may take even longer. These females may be two years old when they go into their first heat. Likewise, the ongoing schedule can vary depending on the dog. Some dogs come into season every four months, others every six, and still others only once a year.

Regardless of when heat occurs, though, owners must be prepared. The most important thing to know about heat is that a female dog can become pregnant if she is allowed near a male at this time. Male dogs are notorious for sensing when a female is in heat, and they will do virtually anything to reach her. If you do not want to breed your female, you must separate her from all males until the heat cycle has ended, in about two to three weeks. Even if you do wish to breed your dog, it is important to keep her away from all males other than the one whom you choose as her suitor.

Heat can also be a messy time, as the female dog will bleed. This blood, which can range from light pink to dark red, can stain bedding, carpeting, and furniture. Fortunately, owners can contain the mess by using a diaper until the bleeding has stopped.


At the first sign of bleeding, pick up a package of Wee-Wee® Disposable Diapers to contain the mess. These absorbent diapers work much like a diaper for a human infant but with a special opening to accommodate your pet’s tail. Choose the size that’s right for your dog—from X-Small to X-Large. Proper sizing is important to prevent leakage.


Some owners opt to spay show dogs once they have achieved championship status. Others plan to breed championship females, as they have proven that they possess the qualities that most closely match their breed standards. If your female dog will be giving birth to puppies in the future, she will experience several more heat phases. In this case Wee-Wee® Diaper Garments may be a more attractive option. These reusable diapers work in conjunction with Wee-Wee® Diaper Garment Pads to offer your pet both absorbency and colorful style. Simply toss the pad in the trash and launder the diaper in your washing machine before using it again and again.

Four Paws®, Magic Coat®, and Wee-Wee® products are available at major pet stores everywhere in the U.S. Please check with your local retailer for product availability near you.