A dog in the heat can get sick. This is not a very common issue, but it can happen, and you will need to react. A dog in heat acting sick will have some issue that makes her act strange and show all kinds of symptoms. Below, we are going to discuss these and help you understand the topic better. Some are normal, while others can be very dangerous.
Understanding the Heat Cycle in Dogs
Understanding the heat cycle in dogs is crucial for any dog owner. It’s a natural part of a female dog’s reproductive system, and knowing how it works can help you better care for your pet during these times. The heat cycle, also known as estrus, typically occurs twice a year, though it can vary depending on the breed and individual dog.
The heat cycle can be divided into four stages:
This initial stage can last anywhere from 3 to 17 days. During this period, your dog may attract males but is not yet receptive. You’ll notice physical changes such as a swollen vulva and bloody vaginal discharge. Behaviorally, your dog may seem more clingy or restless.
Lasting from 3 to 21 days, this is the stage when your dog is fertile and receptive to males. The vaginal discharge changes in color from red to a straw color. Your dog might exhibit mating behaviors and could be more likely to wander in search of a mate.
This stage signifies the end of the heat cycle. It can last 60 to 90 days. If your dog has not mated, her body will start returning to normal. If she has mated, this stage lasts until the end of her pregnancy.
This is the period of sexual inactivity between heat cycles, typically lasting around six months.
During the heat cycle, it’s not uncommon for a dog to experience behavioral and physical changes due to hormonal fluctuations. While these changes are normal, understanding them is essential to differentiate between a typical heat cycle and potential health issues.
Main Reasons Dog In Heat Acting Sick
Your pet will suffer from nausea. This is the most common issue here. A dog in heat acting sick is related to hormones. See, during this stage or better said stages, the hormones of a dog will rise and decrease dramatically. Estrogen and progesterone will go up and down. These can cause nausea and vomiting. This happens because the hormones end up in the liver and the gut. They will be removed. But they can upset the stomach. Your pet will vomit as a result of this.
Your pet is pregnant
Many dog owners don’t realize that this can happen. When a male dog senses the pheromones and hormones of a female dog in the heat, he will do everything he can in order to find it. Just because you think she is safe, it doesn’t have to be. If your dog is pregnant, she will vomit in the morning, be lethargic, and show signs of fatigue. This doesn’t mean that she is sick. It is perfectly normal, and there is no need to do anything about it.
One of the things you can use to tell if your pet is pregnant is appetite. Pregnant dogs will lose their appetite, and then they will eat too much. After all, she feels nauseated, so she can’t eat. When there is no nausea, she will eat as much as she can.
Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. If that happens, it will cause all sorts of things. There will be a foul smell, the abdomen will swell, and your dog will have a fever and be lethargic. As you can see, there are a lot of severe issues here. You need to take your pet to a vet as soon as possible. Spaying is the only option here.
There are multiple variations of this issue, and all of them are severe. Pyometra happens 3-5 weeks after the heat cycle ends, but it may present itself sooner.
There is no way we can generalize this. Some dogs in the heat will be lethargic and tired all the time. Others will have too much energy. Every dog is different, so you need to know how your pet will react.
This all happens due to hormonal changes in the body. They are massive and dramatic. Hence, a dog will act strangely during this cycle. As some of you know already, many women have the same symptoms during their cycles.
Diarrhea is a bit more complicated to explain in this scenario. See, dogs can get diarrhea all the time. They eat all the things they can, and some of these things are not safe for dogs. But when a dog is in the heat and also has diarrhea, it can be a sign something is wrong. Usually, dogs get diarrhea at this time due to the hormones that end up in the gut.
However, diarrhea can be a sign of pyometra. You already know what this means and that it is a severe problem. You will have to take her to a vet as soon as you can. Honestly, it is always a better thing to take a dog in the heat to a vet as soon as you notice diarrhea. Just to rule out pyometra.
When Do You Need To Take Your Pet To The Vet
In most cases, there is no need to do anything. Your dog has massive hormonal changes that can last for a long time so it is normal that she will act sick and weird. But there are some cases when you need to react.
If your pet is too tired that she can’t move out of the bed or can’t walk, take her to the vet immediately. If your dog shows a foul smell from the vulva and there is a massive discharge, take her to a vet once again. Obviously, if the dog is vomiting for days or even weeks you will have to take her to a vet. He will probably check to see if she is pregnant first.
All of this is not extremely common. Most dogs don’t have any symptoms when they are in the heat and they feel fine. Many of you will fail to notice some of the signs that may be present. It is important to keep your eye on the dog and see if there are some problems.
How Can You Help Your Dog
There are a few things you can do. The first one is to keep your pet hydrated. This is mandatory and essential. Then, you can give her a few rackers in the morning. These contain carbohydrates hence they will affect the hormones located in the stomach. This may sound weird but it actually works. You can also give pepto bismol. Give one tablespoon per 10 pounds of weight. Repeat this every 6-10 hours.
Don’t forget that your pet needs you as well. Try to spend more time with her. She is scared and she doesn’t feel as usual so your presence can really help.
Managing a dog’s discomfort during heat is important for ensuring her well-being and comfort. This period can be confusing and stressful for both the dog and the owner, but with the right care and attention, you can help ease her through it.
Create a Comfortable Space:
Set up a cozy, quiet area where your dog can relax away from the hustle and bustle of the household. Include her favorite bedding, toys, and some items that have your scent to provide comfort and security.
Maintain Routine and Exercise:
Keep her routine as normal as possible. Regular walks and playtime can help alleviate stress and keep her engaged. However, be cautious during walks, as she may attract male dogs. Consider walking her on a leash in less crowded areas.
Provide Extra Attention:
Dogs in heat may seek more affection or seem more clingy than usual. Provide extra cuddles and attention to reassure her. Be patient with any behavioral changes and avoid punishment for accidents or unusual behavior.
Keep Her Clean:
During heat, dogs often have a bloody discharge. Keeping her clean is important for hygiene and comfort. You might consider using doggie diapers or protective pants to keep your house clean, but ensure they are changed frequently.
Monitor Her Health:
Pay close attention to her physical and mental state. While it’s normal for a dog in heat to eat less or seem a bit lethargic, drastic changes in behavior or appetite warrant a vet visit.
Avoid Unwanted Mating:
If you’re not planning to breed your dog, take precautions to prevent contact with male dogs. This may involve supervised outdoor time and ensuring your yard is secure.
Use Calming Aids:
Some dogs benefit from calming aids like pheromone diffusers, calming chews, or gentle music. These can help reduce anxiety and provide a soothing environment.
The Final Word
A dog in heat acting sick can be due to many things. After all, her body is going through a massive change and process hence some dogs will develop an issue or two. Many of these problems are not very severe but some are. Keep your eye on the dog and if you think that you should take her to a vet, do it. As always, it is much better and easier to help your pet if you start as soon as possible.