Unless you’re an owner of a female cat or dog and are planning to breed the animal, discovering it in heat can be daunting. You probably want some quick answers on how to deal with heat cycles.
Identifying an Animal in Heat
Step one is making sure the animal is really in heat. Female cats go into heat around at six months and continue several times a year. Heat lasts 7 to 10 days. They’re noticeably more affectionate than usual, often assume a position with rear end in the air and head down, become extremely vocal and might spray urine. Some lick themselves a lot and have a decreased appetite.
Female dogs experience swollen vulvas about a week before bleeding. They could start to hump other adult females, pups or human legs. Many perform lots of self-licking. Fertility begins about 12 days later.
Your veterinarian can confirm whether the animal is in heat—or pregnant.
How to Care for a Pet in Heat
The best way to prevent the odd behavior and messiness associated with a heat cycles is to spay your cat or dog. You should keep animals that haven’t been spayed inside and away from males while in heat. This means shutting windows and making sure gates and doors are closed. Never leave these females unattended outdoors.
Don’t allow your dog to breed until its third season of heat, or age 1 1/2 to 2. Activities like brushing calm dogs in heat. It’s important to keep them clean during bleeding, typically with sanitary pads, and to wash bedding covers often.
Never take a pregnant cat to be spayed. Those that don’t become pregnant will most likely go into heat again in about 3 weeks. Your vet can recommend hormone supplements to calm frantic behavior associated with heat. Catnip is also calming, but has been known to agitate some felines.