With more and more dog owners holding off on spaying their pets until they reach maturity, more dog owners face dealing with their dog’s estrus cycle, commonly referred to as a “heat cycle” or being “in season.”
Female dogs go into their first estrus cycle when they reach puberty. For German shepherds, their first heat typically happens between six to nine months but it can take up to a year or longer.
Dogs go into heat on average every six months and their estrus cycle lasts about three weeks. However, they usually only bleed seven to ten days out of the cycle. Many dogs will keep themselves vary tidy during this time but the amount of bleeding can vary between dogs. Along with it comes stronger odor and discharge.
To help minimize the odor your dog gives off during her estrus cycle, there are some things you can do. Including:
- Keep Her Clean
Washing your dog’s vulva and bottom daily with shampoo and warm water can go a long way to preventing odor from building up in her fur. If possible, simply walk her into the shower and gently wash her genital area. Rinsing is much easier if you have a shower massager or grooming sprayer. If the weather is warm, you can also do this outside.
Always use a Ph-balanced, gentle shampoo. If she is frequently licking, itchy, or red from licking, look for a soothing shampoo containing colloidal oatmeal. Be sure to completely rinse and dry her off to prevent yeast or bacteria from growing.
- Grooming - Hygiene Trims
If you have a long coat or a dog with thick fur, consider giving her a hygiene or sanitary trim before she goes into heat. This trim will remove the thick fur surrounding her lady parts and make it much easier to keep her clean and odor free. It will also make it much easier to quickly wash her off, when needed. It’s easy to do hygiene trims yourself with a good pair of clippers but groomers also provide this service before the heat cycle begins.
- Doggy Diapers
Lady diapers can be very practical for dogs in heat. They come in two options, disposable and washable. While washable may have some ‘ick’ factor attached to washing them, they prevent a pile of stinky diapers from attracting neighborhood dogs to your trash can and can be washed as often as you like.
Dog diapers also help prevent odor by eliminating spotting around your yard, home, furniture, carpet, bed, etc. Although, they won’t prevent determined dogs from mating, they may give you an extra moment of protection should a male dog try to mount your female because they’ll have to get the diaper off first.
To get more use out of either style of diaper, you can line them with panty liners. Disposable diapers are best when traveling with your dog. Most German shepherds wear a medium to large diaper, just be sure to measure your pup before ordering.
- Pee Pads
Washable or disposable pads are also helpful to protect your home and car. They can be used to protect furniture, the dog bed, car, or crate, almost anywhere your dog is. They will help you keep odor from accumulating in your home and save you some cleaning and washing time. They’re also perfect for when your girl needs a diaper break or needs to completely dry after her hygiene bath.
- Disguise Her Scent
If you have to walk your pup with her diaper on, you can try masking her odor by applying some dog safe highly diluted essential oils (lavender, chamomile, frankincense, ginger and rosemary) or even easier, buy a dog perfume to spray on the outside of her diaper. Avoid spraying her skin, which may already be sensitive and irritated.
Be sure to always use fragrances that are safe for dogs, especially since they tend to clean and lick more during their heat cycle. For example, some people recommend using Vicks Vapor Rub but camphor, menthol, peppermint, cinnamon, tea tree, and eucalyptus (and many more) are all TOXIC to dogs and the last thing you need is your female ingesting any of these ingredients.
- Anti-Mating Spray
There are many anti-mating sprays on the market that may help your dog smell less attractive to male dogs by helping to mask the odor. They are intended to be sprayed on the legs and base of the tail of a female dog up to several times a day. How well they work depends on the dogs involved and how the female tolerates the spray.
- Supplement Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is a compound that allow plants to absorb energy from light and gives green pigment to plants and algae. Chlorophyll is known to be life giving and will help cleanse the blood, promote healing, purify the body, prevent infections, boost the immune system, freshen breath, and more.
Some breeders swear that chlorophyll helps mask the strong odor that female dogs give off when they are in heat. It’s easy to feed your dog chlorophyll, simply add a cup of gently cooked greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, or parsley to their favorite food. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of feeding greens, there are some dog supplements that you can buy.
- Protect the Perimeter of Your Home
To help keep unwanted dogs from visiting your property, you can spray the perimeter of your yard with ammonia. Ammonia has a very strong, unpleasant odor that can help repel dogs from sniffing around. You can use diluted ammonia around your curb and fence line but understand that ammonia is highly corrosive and can and most likely will kill your grass. Also, use caution around your own pets.
- Wash Toys and Bedding
Keeping your dog’s bedding fresh and clean by washing it daily or to make it easier, cover it with pads or a blanket that you can easily throw in the washer. Be sure to include her fabric toys. Adding vinegar to the load will further help eliminate odors. Don’t forget to clean her balls and other rubber toys in the sink or dishwasher.
- Keep Your Indoors Smelling Fresh
Reduce indoor and outdoor odor by using a pet friendly, odor remover like Nok-Out. Nok-Out removes strong pet odors through oxidation, eliminating the problem at the source and can be used on carpets, flooring, bedding, crates, kennels, almost everywhere. Nok-Out doesn’t mask odor with fragrance, it doesn’t leave behind a scent.
- Remove Outdoor Odor
Most dogs have to urinate more often while they are in heat. Luckily, there are products made just for removing odors in and around the yard, such as NaturVet Yard Odor Eliminator. To use, just spray on outdoor surfaces such as grass, plants, patio furniture, fences or anywhere else your pet likes to eliminate or has discharge for a fresh and clean yard.
We hope these tips help you keep your pup and home fresh and clean during her next heat cycle. Please feel free to share with your health consciences friends.
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