Dogs Changing Through Heat Cycles

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Dogs Changing Through Heat Cycles

In the recent month, Atlas has changed quite a bit when it comes to her overall demeanor. She recently went into her fourth heat cycle. During her span of two years, I’ve come to learn of dogs changing through heat cycles. Like humans, dogs also go through hormonal changes when entering heat cycles. What I didn’t know was how much they can change.

Some dogs, during their hormonal changes, can turn more aggressive, or reactive if you will. Others will turn more needy for attention. In some cases, households with multiple female dogs, the dogs can start to fight more.

Fighting for resources is common with females, especially those that are more dominant in nature, If you have multiple dogs in a house, especially females, I’m sure this isn’t news to you right now. Especially as they get older. In order to better understand our dogs, we must first look at how the heat cycles affect them.

Heat Cycles Produce Hormones.

When a female dog goes into her heat cycle, she produces estrogen. Estrogen can commonly make females agitated and more irritable. Most females in heat often roam nonstop. They also can be more needy for attention. Lastly, they definitely don’t like to share their resources with others.

Females in heat can also fight for the attention of a male in the area. Two females in heat can be troublesome, especially if there is a male in the house. They’ll typically want the male’s attention to themselves, and can actually fight over this.

The best case scenario for multi-dog households if/when this happens, is to keep the females apart during this time. If you have kennels, then kennel rotating the dogs is the best bet. This will ensure that they’re not in close contact with each other, and will prevent any fights from breaking out.

Hormones Can Make Them Aggressive.

When a dog is producing estrogen, I mentioned that it can make them irritable. In most cases of females, dogs becoming irritable can lead to several scenarios. One such scenario is the one no one likes to talk about. That being said, female dogs can snap when they’re in heat. I don’t mean to say that the dog has turned aggressive moving forward. What I mean is, an irritable dog can snap just as a woman can snap. We’re not exactly fun to be around when we’re experiencing that time of the month.

Dogs changing through heat cycles is the same as a woman developing over time. From the very first period we experience, through our teenage years and the hormonal changes we experience then.

Think of your female dog as that hormonal teenager. Not much difference, except the sharp teeth. For us as humans, we often get into arguments and yell. Dogs don’t really have that luxury. They typically use their teeth to finish arguments. This can pose a problem if there are young kids present or small animals. So, keep a close watch on your female. If she seems irritable, then there are some tips to help her through this time.

Helping Your Female Through Her Heat.

Now that we’ve mentioned the worst case scenarios for your female(s), now you’re wondering what to do about it. Let me start off with what I do with mine. I have two females in the house, both with similar heat cycles. One started about 2 weeks earlier than the other. However, they were both irritable at the same time. Joy oh joy.

First off, don’t let them fight for natural resources. This means, feed them separately. I made the mistake of not kennel feeding mine during their time of the month. This posed a huge problem for us in the house and it was no good. So, now, I feed them in their individual kennels. I also monitor them when they’re out together. However, if they were to fight nonstop, then I would only let one out at a time. It’s called “kennel rotating.” I’ve had this happen in the past with two females that fought nonstop. In that event, I would only let one out at a time.

If that doesn’t work for you, then another option is to muzzle them.

A Muzzle to Save the Day.

I used to view muzzles in a negative way when I was younger. You see a dog in a muzzle and you think, “Oh man, there’s an aggressive dog.” However, over time, I’ve learned that muzzles are there for a reason. Dogs changing through heat cycles doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Helping your dogs through this time is essential. One of the ways I help mine, is to keep them safe from arguments.

Remember, dogs arguing involves teeth, not yelling. For mine, instead of always keeping them in kennels, I simply muzzle the one that’s being more dominant than the other. Sometimes, I have to muzzle them both as a “just in case” type of scenario. The thing that I like with muzzles, is that my dogs can still eat and drink while wearing them.

I also like that they can play in them and I don’t have to worry about an argument happening. And, if it does, they can’t hurt each other. I will advise though, that while your dog is in a muzzle, you’re home. Dogs are clever and can get out of muzzles. So, always make sure you’re with them while wearing them.

Final Words on Dogs Changing Through Heat Cycles.

Hopefully in reading this, you understand that dogs change through heat cycles. It’s nothing to be worried about, if you’re prepared before their time. Like us, we have kennels for our dogs. We have diapers as well as pads. Also, have things like muzzles on hand if you have multiple dogs in the house. I recommend this even if you have a male and a female. They can still fight over resources regardless of two different sexes.

Be mindful of their behaviors over the course of their cycle. I keep a close eye on my dogs, and watch for any unwanted behavior. If they start to get weird about the bed, I muzzle the one being weird. Spats over the water bowl? Muzzle them. They can still drink water through their muzzles.

Also, make sure to keep small kids away from dogs if they’re acting irritated. Small children can often make a dog feel threatened, so best to keep the muzzles on them during this time. I kennel mine during their heat cycles if small kids are around. A precautionary measure, but one that’s resulted in no bites happening in my house. I’m always cautious, and I know my females can be irritated in the middle of the cycle.

What tips do you have for females in heat? Help others out so they know.

6 thoughts on “Dogs Changing Through Heat Cycles

  1. I can imagine for those dogs that are in heat, it’s not pleasant for us as humans, so imagine them with the hair on top. My sister had a Lhasa apso dog and she was old, very old. When she was in those times of the month, no one other than my sister could touch the dog. So yes they can become very hangry!
    Thank you for sharing, I enjoy reading your article!

    1. Lyne,

      Yes, some dogs are just so grumpy during that time. For pets, it’s hard for them to communicate their pain to us and often it comes out in the form of aggression but in reality, they’re just not feeling well. But, I suppose like with some humans, when we’re sick, we’re grumpy, so same thing. Kind of like men! When my hubby is sick, he’s all kinds of grumpy, but only when he’s sick. Other times, he’s just fine. Animals just can’t relate to us that they don’t feel well, so they get angry. I get it, and I can relate. It would be hard to live in a world where you’re not understood and have to just say things in your own language to be heard.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading!


  2. Hi Katrina, thank you for sharing this information. We’ve had a few dogs as I’ve grown up but I don’t recall ever experiencing the females that we had go through heat. Then again, I think they were a little bit older once we got them so maybe that was the reason? We currently have a young male who just turned 1 and I can completely with your statement about dogs using their teeth in arguments. At first I thought we were going to have an issue with his biting, but we came to understand that he only does that when he really needs to go outside for a bathroom break. He seemed to mostly do this as a last resort, so we got better at understanding his bathroom cues. Have you come across this behavior as well? Thanks again for sharing your experience and knowledge!

    1. Dereck,

      Yes, dogs can be weird when it comes to how they communicate. Sometimes, they use their mouths because that’s what they’re accustomed to. To them, using their teeth as a means of communicating is something that’s been ingrained in them since their ancestors. To them, using their teeth is as natural as us using our hands to communicate. We can’t fault them for that just because they have sharp teeth and ours are blunt. As long as you understand what your boy is telling you, then he’s really giving you the right signals in the first place. Good thing you know what to look for now.

      Hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by and reading!


  3. Hi Katrina,

    Before reading your article, I didn’t know that dogs react to heat cycles so much, especially hormones. I love how you compare them to hormonal teenagers, which makes the understanding easier. I smiled when I scrolled down and read this description.

    I also like the concept of dogs wearing a muzzle is not because they are untrained or aggressive; it’s all about helping them under control without getting hurt. So, this article did teach me lots of things. Thanks a lot for sharing.


    1. Matt,

      I’m so glad it helped out. I too thought muzzles weren’t a good thing long ago. But, I just wasn’t as informed as I should have been and now that I have two dogs that need them in certain situations, I now know what they’re really meant for. Some dogs are real sweethearts to their owners, but often don’t know how to read the signals from others, both animals and humans, and so come across as being aggressive. In all reality, they simply weren’t educated, or socialized, as it were, and so don’t know how to read body language like dogs that have been socialized. It’s all a matter of perspective in most cases.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading! Glad you enjoyed it!


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