I hear you ask — how to calm a bitch in heat? Massive hormonal changes are occurring during a female dog’s season, subsequently resulting in a lot of visible and invisible symptoms, both physical and mental. Along with the blood drops, anxiety and mood change are the most dreaded symptoms of the female dog cycle.
In dogs and humans, the endocrine system is a collection of several glands regulating the animal’s metabolism, energy levels, mood, brain, and sexual functions. Therefore, when in heat, these hormones, and the functions they are handling are behaving in a very different manner — often causing anxiety, stress, and fatigue.
To make it even more complicated, the production and release of most hormones are regulated by other hormones — it’s a complicated chain reaction system! Take the pituitary gland for illustration: it’s a vital gland at the base of the dog’s brain, and it produces hormones controlling on other glands, including the ovaries, testicles, thyroid, pancreas, and adrenal. These slave glands, in their own turn, secrete very important hormones and run primary functions in the dog (sexual, instinctive, and stress functions.)
Can you imagine feeling everything in you acting differently and not knowing why? That’s what a bitch in heat feels. It’s overwhelming, it’s worrying, so she will show signs of stress, anxiety, and tiredness.
When you are involved in dog breeding, this is something you get accustomed to and you usually know how to handle a dog heat easily. As a dog owner who isn’t interested in breeding your dog, it can be a little overwhelming. Here are our best tips to calm your bitch during her heat cycle; a dog going through an abnormal heat may experience different symptoms.
Offer Extra Attention
A bitch in heat, especially during her first seasons, is a little shattered and anxious about everything she is experiencing. Her body is clearly morphing, along with her mood regularly swinging. During this difficult period, she may seek more love, or perhaps less. Adapt to her and offer her a lot more attention than you normally do. Cuddles are always a treat with female dogs in season. Be around and give a little pat every now and then!
Engage In Plenty More Exercise
Another way to calm a dog down is to make them sleep. A lot. The easiest way to get a dog to sleep more is to exercise them more than usual, or if you can’t do more exercising, make sure it is more intense than what you normally do. If you have a dog treadmill at home you can add an extra session daily, or you can simply increase the intensity of your regular walks.
Shorten The Walks
Wait what? Shortening the walks but offering more exercise? Yes, totally. When dogs are going for a walk, whether it lasts 10 minutes or 1 hour, they feel calmed and usually go for a quick nap. This is why you should perhaps add another walk while cutting the duration of the other ones. You’ll see that your bitch will go to sleep after each walk and worry less overall.
Keep Her Indoor
If you do not want to go for an extra walk for these two or three weeks she is in heat for, you can keep her indoor and come up with exciting training sessions. Youtube is a bottomless source of crazy original dog tricks. The objective here is not really to have her learn many more tricks, but instead to tire her mentally. Studies have shown that mental stimulation is as tiring as physical exercise.
Use An Anti-Anxiety and Stress Relief Coat
Calming coats are amazing when there are fireworks or thunder. The pressure they put on the dog’s sensitive areas comforts the dog and removes that feeling of anxiety. However, these situations are short in time and do not last 21 days. If you can feel that your bitch is worrying or stressing at specific times more than others, using an anti-anxiety coat during these times will most definitely be efficient. The most famous brand is ThunderShirt.
Leave Interactive Dog Toys Available
Mental stimulation is amazing to tire your dog out: it just works and it can come under different shapes. Dog puzzle toys allow your dog to be fully stimulated and intellectually engaged. Put a treat in it and you’ll keep your dog busy figuring things out for a long while. If you don’t want to buy a toy, make some yourself using stuff from around the house.
If you’ve got a dog who is not into these toys or gives up very easily, try to come up with homemade stimulating games. Forget about playing fetch, and hide treats or a nice piece of meat somewhere so your dog can search and find it. Think about putting a small cube of cheddar cheese in an old sock and hide that in a drawer, for example.
Obviously, it has to be challenging enough but not impossible — increase the difficulty gradually!
Buy Antler Chews
Pooches love a new toy or even better, a new chew. Over the last years, we’ve seen amazing chews appearing on the market. They are obviously non-toxic, sometimes organic, and they last for a very, very, very long time. Check on Amazon for Deer or Elk Antler Chews. These are lasting forever and are extremely healthy compared to the usual rawhide.
Create a Sense of Calmness
Because she feels a little lost and is experiencing different changes within herself, your bitch needs to feel like besides her, everything else is the same (if not calmer.)
First and foremost, avoid super loud TV and music, ask your children to lower their voices and make sure her little den (crate, bed or else) is surrounded by silence or a sense of calmness. Don’t turn your home into a cemetery but just avoid yelling and running people.
Try a Dog Calming Aid
Tablets, sprays, drops, treats, powder, these dog calming aids are easily available on Amazon and definitely help when everything else seems to fail. Don’t overdo it because you want to avoid a vet visit after a calming aid overdose. Some are herbal, others are organic, and many have different claims about what they are efficient against.
Overall, it is an amazing solution for hyper-active, hyper-stressed or hyper-anxious females during their reproductive season.
Let's Sum It Up
While reading through this informative article, you probably got the gist: your bitch in heat is lost and anxious. An ovulating female dog seeks a lot of reassurance, attention, and sleep. Make sure you are able to fulfill as much of these three needs as possible and provide fun distractions for when you are unable to attend personally.
To calm a bitch in heat, her owner must spend more time with her doing:
- nothing — just cuddle her and let her feel reassured (some owners go as far as allowing their bitch to sleep in their bedroom),
- tiring activities— just to allow her to get home and fall asleep instantly (Nina Ottosson is a popular brand of interactive dog toys)
If all of this fails, you can use stress relief shirts for anxious dogs and other calming aids.