When you have a female dog, one of the things that you may be wondering about is how to keep your house clean when she finally comes into heat. Let's face it, even breeders with a small number of dogs are going to be faced with a heat and with that comes the mess from said heat. And cleanliness is the one thing that most new breeders will ask for tips for, which is why we will be going over all of those tips.
Is there really that much Blood?
Before we get into keeping your house clean during your dog's heat, I wanted to discuss the amount of blood that you will be dealing with. First, don't listen to anyone on what to expect from your dog...emphasis on your.
That may seem like a strange point to give, especially when I am offering advice, however, it is a sound one. I have heard people say, it's two days of bleeding, no problem. And that is the problem...every dog is different. My one girl bled so lightly, we never even saw a single drop of blood. Zip, zilch, nadda.
We would know from our male and when we swiped her to find a very small amount on the tissue. Another girl I had bled from day one until about day 21 and it was heavy. Both females are completely normal and your female can range from very little bleeding to a lot of bleeding...for a few days or for a few weeks. In fact, I have never experienced a two day bleeding heat with any of my girls.
In addition, a lot of mess is factored by your female. Some females are meticulous about keeping themselves clean. Others aren't so much and you tend to see more mess with the latter. I once fostered a bulldog for a breeder and the girl was the worst for cleaning herself. She got blood everywhere and I spent a lot of time cleaning.
So with that said, it is hard to say how much mess you will see because every bitch is different. What you can expect is a heavier amount at the beginning of her heat until it fades to a straw colored discharge around ovulation.
Some bitches will stop bleeding after ovulation while others will return to a slightly heavier bleeding after ovulation, but not as heavy as before ovulation.
What Supplies will I need?
When it comes to supplies, there isn't a lot that I would recommend outside of your regular cleaning supplies. Still, a few things that I would recommend in case of accidents are:
- Floor Cleaner
- Spot Remover for Carpets
- Stain Removers for Fabrics
- Wall and Surface Cleaners
- Air Fresheners
As you can see, you don't really need to pull out the heavy guns when it comes to cleaning.
Tips and Tricks for
Keeping Your House
#3 Bitch Britches
This really isn't a cleaning technique but it can be a life safer. Bitch Britches are underwear for your female. You can purchase disposable ones where you throw out every time you change it or you can purchase the reusable.
I prefer the reusable simply because it does keep costs down. You can put stick a pad for women in the panty and then put them on your dog. They are fast and easy to remove and very cost effective.
If you don't want to use actual bitch britches, you can use diapers or pull ups. Simply cut a hole for your dog's tail and put them on.
A word of caution with bitch britches. Do not keep your female in them constantly. It can create a lot of moisture in the area, which can lead to bacteria overgrowth that result in serious health problems for your bitch, including pyometra.
#3 Creating a Space
Whether you invest in bitch britches or not, you will want to have a space for your female dog to be when she isn't in her britches. This is important because you want to give her time to clean herself to help prevent that overgrowth of bacteria.
When you are looking at creating a space, you want to consider the following:
- Indoors: Keep it indoors. Never leave a bitch in heat unattended outside. Dogs will come from several miles away when they smell a bitch in heat and even in a fenced yard, your bitch isn't safe. I once found a Jack Russell sitting outside the door of my fully fenced backyard waiting for me to let my mastiff, who was in heat, out the door for a date. Needless to say, Romeo's owners were found and the date never happened.
- Avoid Carpets: Choose a space where there are no carpets. This will help keep cleaning easy.
- Away from Other Dogs: Not all females will fight in heat, but some do. Choose a space where she can be on her own and where she is secure from males you have in your home.
- Space: Finally, while dog crates can work in a pinch, choose a full room. She will be sequestered to a room quite a bit during her heat so you want her to be comfortable. You also want a space where she isn't alone all the time. So try to find a room that you don't mind being in as well so you can keep her company.
Having this space will give her time out of her britches and will add a little bit of normalcy for her during her heat while keeping the majority of your home clean.
#3 Adhering to Rules
One of the best ways to keep mess to the minimal is to have rules for your dogs long before any heat is present. Make rooms that you don't want to get dirty off limits for them and also train them to ask for permission to get on furniture.
It doesn't mean that they can't be on furniture, it just means that they have to ask before going up. If you do this, when your female comes into heat, you will have training established.
#4 Have Stain Removers
This was covered in supplies but I always recommend having some stain removers on hand. Get some for both your carpeting if you have any and also for fabrics, especially if your pup loves to jump up beds or other furniture.
Hit any spot that has blood on it with a stain remover as soon as you see it to help prevent having a messy house during a heat.
#5 Give her Time to Clean Herself
I've mentioned this already but it's important to repeat it many times. Females in heat need the opportunity to clean themselves. This will keep their vulvas from getting too much dirt and bacteria in the area while also keeping bleeding to a minimum.
If you have a dog that doesn't like to clean herself, or can't reach that area such as a bulldog breed, wash the area about once a day. Do not use any products on the area, simply a soft, gentle wash cloth and warm water. Adding products to the vulva area can lead to other problems, including a yeast overgrowth.
You can also bathe her but only if she finds it soothing. I also recommend not spraying her vulva area directly but instead, allow her to sit in the water or use a cloth to wipe that area. This can help reduce the amount of mess in your home.
#6 Air Fresheners are a Life Saver
Air fresheners...you can live with a female in heat without one but I find that even with the best cleaning regime, a female in heat has a certain odor that can be quite overpowering when they are inside.
The best thing to do is to have a number of air fresheners in the house. While it won't get rid of the smell, it will help keep it down so your home smells fresh and clean even when she is in her full standing heat.
#7 Don't Sweat It
Finally, and one of the biggest tips that I can give you, is that you shouldn't sweat it. Bitches come into heat and they can drip blood on the floor and such. Unfortunately, that is part of breeding and if you plan to breed, you will have to deal with the blood both before breeding and after delivery.
The best thing is to take a deep breath, accept that you are going to see drops of blood on the floor and even on the walls at time, and then accept it. Have a bucket of fresh cleaning water available at all times and simply mop up when you spot it.
Really, keeping the mess down when your bitch is in heat is quite simple. If you clean, use bitch britches and limit her access to the whole house, you can prevent blood from getting throughout the house. In the end, you'll find that having a female in heat really isn't that big of a problem and it's easy to keep your house clean when your dog is in heat.