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So, Aunt Flo has decided to bring herself for a visit and you’re probably wondering what to do?
Giant Schnauzers will typically welcome their first heat between 8 and 15 months of age. Even within the breed, this will vary from female to female. Like clockwork, following her first heat, she will come into season every 6 months.
Though it is a normal and healthy function of your Giant Schnauzer’s body, it is certainly a chore . Luckily, there are some things you can do to make it easier for yourself and for her. This article will share with you the signs to watch for, a dog’s heat cycle and how-to be prepared. You can even have a little more peace in your home and prevent an ‘oops litter’ from happening.
Check out some of our highlighted tips and tricks below…
By being aware of the signs that your dog is in heat will help you prepare for physical and behavior changes, as well as any messiness to endure during your dog’s estrus cycle. Here are five signs to watch for:
Swollen Vulva: Swelling can start before any tell-tale signs of bleeding has occurred. It is also normal for this to happen during her heat cycle.
Discharge: The first sign usually apparent are droplets of blood. A quick check of her vulva might show a red discharge. There are instances her flow may not be continuous quite yet and it’s best to check her a couple of times daily. A quick blot with a clean paper towel will tell you if her heat cycle has begun. In order to keep track, mark your calendar as ‘Day 1’ from the presence of any signs of bleeding.
Licking: Your dog will attempt to keep herself clean by licking her genital area.
Agitation or clingy behavior: This varies greatly per dog.
You can experience growling and aggression that could even lead to a dog fight. Estrogen levels rise and hormones are a serious thing when it comes to behaviors. It is a good idea to keep your cycling female away from other dogs during her cycle or at the very least pay close attention to how she is behaving. This way you can get ahead of a situation before it becomes a problem.
You may also experience a female who is clingy and needy, wanting extra love and attention, and possibly nesting.
Mounting and Thrusting: Your female may display her sexual drive by trying to mount other dogs (male or female). This can be a sign of playfulness, exerting her dominance as “top dog” and or excitement. This is all normal behavior.
The canine estrous (heat) cycle is comprised of four stages. Each stage has a time and duty to perform in your Giant Schnauzer’s reproductive cycle.
Proestrus– This is the stage where bleeding and vaginal swelling are present. On average this can last for around 9 days, though it can also run from 1-28 days. Male dogs may be attracted to her, but she will not be sexually receptive to him.
Estrus– This is the mating period. Her discharge will lighten over time from red and to a golden straw like color, though bleeding can still be present with some dogs. She will be fertile and attracted to male dogs during this time. Generally, this phase will begin at Day 9, though some will start earlier, and some will run much longer.
Diestrus– This stage follows estrus and generally lasts 63 days from the time your female ovulated. Whether she is bred or not, her body will get her ready for carrying a litter.
Anestrus– Following diestrus, your female will be sexually inactive. There will be no discharge and her vulva no longer swollen. Her body will utilize this time to prepare her for the next possible pregnancy. This stage will last for about four months before starting over again at proestrus.
Be mindful when in the presence of male dogs– If your female dog is in heat, the important detail to keep in mind is that she can become pregnant at any time. Male dogs can pick up her scent from a distance. If you are not planning to breed her, it is crucial to separate her from other male dogs for up to four weeks. You could:
Behaviors- If you live in a multiple dog household, be keen to the behaviors of everyone, especially your female. Giant Schnauzers are a dominant breed and raging hormones can quickly escalate a good living situation to a bad one. This is a good example of why it is best to offset sexes living under one roof. Many also believe two female households can be challenging. The best success in this area is to separate the ‘dog in heat’ from the rest of the pack and introduce her back in when she is safe from pregnancy and had enough time to allow her hormones to recede back to normal. This is about 1 month from the beginning of her heat cycle.
Doggie diapers and pads are available and will keep her from soiling furniture, bedding, carpets and other areas. Dog diapers also accommodate with a special opening for your dog’s tail. To keep your Giant Schnauzer clean and fresh throughout the day use pads and switch out often. There are washable liners, or you can opt to use disposables. Even human pads will work – just be sure they are unscented and chemical-free.
Our usual go-to and they have larger sizes available. They come in a multi-color 3-pack, in 5 sizes from extra small to XL. Be sure to measure your dog’s waist for the right fit.
Belly bands for male dogs– If you have a male dog they tend to mark their territory. Not only is your female’s cycle untidy… your male will certainly add to the workload. Thankfully, there are belly bands.
Timing is everything when you do plan to spay. Available information is often encouraging you to spay your dog right away, sometimes even before her first heat cycle. Be aware, there are several studies showing your dog’s long-term health is at risk, in many areas by the effects of early spaying. You should wait at least until the growth plates have closed, sometime between 18 and 24 months for Giant Schnauzers. This will ensure you have your dog’s uppermost health in mind.
Scheduling a spay appointment: Unless there is an emergency it is much safer to schedule a spay appointment with your vet 2-months following the end of her heat cycle. This will help to:
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