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How to Keep Your House Clean When a Dog Is in Heat: 10 Simple Tips

Written by: Sophie Herlihy

Last Updated on April 22, 2024 by Dogster Team

elderly french bulldog wearing diaper while lying on the couch

How to Keep Your House Clean When a Dog Is in Heat: 10 Simple Tips

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REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs are known for their messy ways, and when one is in heat, the messiness can become even worse. If you’re a pet owner trying to keep your home clean during this time, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 simple steps to help you keep your house clean while your dog is in heat.

 

How to Tell If a Dog Is in Heat

“Heat” is the colloquial term for a female dog’s estrus stage of her reproductive cycle. During this time, she experiences changes in her behavior and appearance as her body prepares for mating. Here are a few of the most common signs that your dog is in heat:

  • Swollen genitals
  • Bloody discharge
  • Backing up to males and curling tail away (receptive signs)
  • Licking genitals often
  • Restlessness
  • Whining
  • Mounting other dogs
  • Urinating more often
  • Change in mood
  • Inappetence

Only female dogs that have not been spayed will go through these reproductive cycles. Spaying involves the complete removal of the uterus and the ovaries, so a female dog can no longer physically cycle and reproduce.

If your dog is spayed and you think that she is showing signs of being in heat, contact your veterinarian for advice. The initial spaying surgery may not have completely removed the ovaries (ovary remnant syndrome), and the remnants can still produce hormonal changes.

Beagle on estrus cycle
Image By: Sigma_S, Shutterstock

Warning: Dogs Are Messy While in Heat

When dogs are in heat, they produce a bloody discharge, and this discharge can seep into their fur and onto your furniture, floors, and anything else they lay on. In addition, dogs in heat will urinate more frequently due to increased hormone activity, so they are more likely to have indoor accidents.

They become restless and agitated as they look for a mate. If other dogs are nearby, they may scratch and chew at doors to escape for a rendezvous with neighbor dogs.

Although heat periods can be messy and inconvenient, there are steps that owners can take to minimize the disruption.

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How to Keep Your House Clean When a Dog Is in Heat — 10 Simple Tips

1. Help Her Clean Up

One of the best ways to keep her clean and comfortable is to regularly clean her vulva. This can be done with a soft cloth or cotton pad soaked in warm water. Gently wipe the area, being careful not to irritate the skin.

Since the vulva is such a sensitive area, it is important to be gentle and avoid scrubbing. Avoid using any human soaps or shampoos to not disrupt the pH balance of her genitals. This may cause irritation and increase the risk of infections, such as UTIs.


2. Cover Vulnerable Surfaces

If there are things in your home that you are particularly averse to getting stains on (like expensive furniture or a favorite set of sheets), it’s best to limit access entirely.

Cover furniture with custom protective covers or even an old towel or sheet. Consider blocking your dog’s access to your bedroom during her heat cycle.

brown sofa with cover
Image Credit: Song_about_summer, Shutterstock

3. Use Enzyme Cleaners on Stains

Enzyme cleaners are popular choices for pet messes, as they are safe to use around animals and are effective at removing stains and odors. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using enzyme cleaners on pet stains.

First, it is important to allow the cleaner to work for the full amount of time specified on the label. This will ensure that the enzymes have enough time to break down the stain.

Second, it is important to avoid using hot water when cleaning up pet stains, as this can actually set the stain. Cold water is best for blood stains.

Finally, enzyme cleaners should be tested on a small area first to check there is no damage to your flooring or furniture. Some cleaners are harmful to pets, so check for pet-safe ones or keep them out of the way while cleaning. When used properly, enzyme cleaners can be a safe and effective way to clean up even the most stubborn pet stains.


4. Keep Her in a Crate

A dog in heat can be a challenge to keep calm and comfortable. One way to help manage this time is to keep your dog in her crate if she is crate-trained. This will give her a safe space to relax away from any potential mates.

It is important to make sure the crate is large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in, as she may be spending extended periods of time inside. The crate should also be placed in a quiet, low-traffic area of the house.

You will need to let your dog out frequently to relieve herself, and she may also need additional potty breaks if she is feeling anxious. With some patience and care, you can help your dog get through her heat cycle safely and comfortably.

A crate is a great way to prevent a messy dog in heat from running around in the home while you are out. Limit her crate time to only while you are gone, though, as keeping her crated for the entire duration of her heat period is cruel.

Otherwise, keep her in rooms with floors that can be easily cleaned, such as tile, vinyl, or laminate floors.

border collie dog resting in a crate
Image Credit: Ayla Verschueren, Unsplash

5. Clean Her Space Often

When a female dog comes into heat, it’s important to keep her living area clean. This means washing her bedding, blankets, and toys on a regular basis. Doing so will help to reduce the amount of blood and discharge in her environment, which can help prevent infection.

It will also lessen the chances of odors emanating from her space. In addition, it’s important to clean up any accidents promptly.


6. Put Down Old Towels

During her heat cycle, your dog will likely have more accidents than usual. To help absorb any messes, put down old towels in strategic locations around the house.

The towels can be used to line her bed or crate, absorb any urine that may be missed during walks, and soak up any blood that may be present during the first few days of the cycle. In addition, the towel will provide your dog with a familiar scent that will help her feel safe and secure during this potentially stressful time.

Be sure to wash the towels frequently, as they will quickly become soiled with blood and discharge. You may also want to consider using puppy pads or pee pads to help absorb any accidents.

different colors of towels
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

7. Use a Waterproof Bed

A waterproof bed for a dog on heat is an essential piece of equipment for any pet owner. Not only does it protect your furniture from accidents, but it also provides a comfortable and safe place for your dog to sleep.

When choosing a waterproof bed, be sure to select one that is made from durable, washable fabric. You’ll also want to consider the size of the bed, as you’ll need to make sure it is large enough to accommodate your dog’s size and weight.

These beds are made from durable materials like vinyl or PVC and are easy to wipe down and resistant to liquids. They also have raised sides that help contain messes.


8. Have Her Wear Doggy Diapers

It may sound silly, but doggy diapers can be a great help when your female dog is in heat. Dogs in heat bleed for around a week, and during this time, they are usually not hungry and not acting like their usual selves.

Diapers will help keep the bleeding contained and provide some much-needed rest for your dog without limiting their movement around the home.

There are a few things to consider when choosing diapers for your dog. First, you need to make sure the diaper fits well and does not rub or chafe. Second, you need to choose an absorbent material that will not leak. Finally, you need to make sure the diaper does not restrict your dog’s movement or comfort in any way. By following these simple guidelines, you can find the perfect doggy diaper for your pet.

Cute dog wearing a diaper
Image Credit: andriano.cz, Shutterstock

9. Keep Her Away from Other Dogs

It is best to keep a dog in heat away from other dogs. She should not go to doggy daycare or the dog park during this time.  Females may try and escape to find a mate, and males may try anything to get near to her. So, it can be wise to kennel or crate your dog when you can’t supervise her.

If you must take her outdoors, keep her on a leash and by your side so you can control her exposure to other dogs. Male dogs will make a beeline for her, so choose to walk in places and at times with fewer dogs around. Some countries have laws against walking in a public place with a dog in heat.

By keeping your dog away from other dogs, you can help reduce her stress levels and minimize the chance of an accidental mating.


10. Give Her a Sanitary Cut

While your dog is in heat, it’s important to keep the area around her vulva clean to help prevent irritation. You can do this by giving her a sanitary cut. This is particularly helpful for long-haired breeds.

Trim the hair around the vulva so it’s short, but be careful not to shave too close to the skin. This will help keep the area clean and free of debris.

You should also check the area regularly for any signs of irritation or infection and consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

grooming a pomeranian puppy
Image Credit: aonip, Shutterstock

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Benefits of Spaying Your Dog

If you’re not planning to breed your dog, there are many good reasons to get her spayed. The health benefits alone make it worth considering. Spaying can help prevent certain types of cancer and other diseases and can also have a positive effect on your dog’s behavior.

  • You won’t have to deal with the mess and inconvenience of a heat cycle.
  • It helps control the pet population.
  • It reduces the incidence of mammary tumors.
  • It reduces the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
  • It reduces the dog’s urge to roam, which may help reduce the risk of car accidents.
  • Spaying your dog can help keep her calm and relaxed, as she will no longer experience the hormonal fluctuations associated with heat cycles

If you don’t have plans to breed your dog safely and ethically, most veterinarians strongly suggest getting your dog spayed.

dog owner talking to vet
Image Credit; SeventyFour, Shutterstock

Drawbacks of Spaying Your Dog

When you spay your dog, you remove her ovaries and uterus. This means she can no longer have heat cycles or produce puppies. While this may be ideal for some pet owners, there are also drawbacks to spaying your dog.

  • The process requires surgery, which carries risks.
  • It may make your dog more prone to weight gain.
  • Spaying your dog before she reaches sexual maturity can increase the risk of urinary incontinence in large breed females.
  • It’s irreversible.

Discuss these concerns with your vet, as the risks do vary depending on the size and breed of your dog.

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Conclusion

Dogs in heat can be messy, but there are simple steps that you can take to help keep your home clean. By using diapers, keeping her away from other dogs, and giving her a sanitary cut, you can minimize the mess and stress of a heat cycle. If you’re not planning to breed your dog, spaying her can offer many benefits.

While a heat cycle can be inconvenient, remember that it’s only temporary. With planning and preparation, you can get through it with minimal stress for both you and your dog.


Featured Image Credit: Larissa Chilanti, Shutterstock

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