If you have an intact Brittany female, it’s natural that you want to know as much as possible about the heat cycle, how to recognize the signs, and how to take care properly of your dog during this particular period.
You can expect Brittany goes into her first heat around the age of 6 months. Every dog is different therefore it can happen before or after this period but 6 months of age is the breed’s average. The most obvious signs of heat cycle in Brittanys are swollen vulva, bloody discharge, excessive urination, intensive licking of private parts, appetite loss, lack of energy, sleepiness. In some cases, you notice your Brittany is nervous, moody, or clingy. Brittany in the heat craves extra attention so she needs more of your attention. Bloody discharge can make a mess but never scold your Brittany, don’t yell at her. Keep your dog on the leash all the time when you are outside. Provide her with a new toy, she needs some distraction. She might become a picky eater, offer her tastier cuts of meat, add some tasty topping to her regular food.
How To Know If My Brittany Dog in In Heat?
Fortunately, the heat cycle has some very visible signs so you don’t need much effort to spot them.
Every Brittany dog goes through 3 main stages – Proestrus, Estrus, and Diestrus.
Proestrus is the initial phase of the heat cycle. Swollen vulva and bloody discharge are the most prominent symptoms. Excessive licking of the genital area and excessive urination are also something that happens often during this period.
Your Brittany girl is not in the mood to hang out with boys, even though her body started to attract them. She may show signs of aggressive behavior toward males but she still has a friendly attitude towards females. This is about to change soon.
In this phase, your dog may become a bit skittish, nervous, or develop clingy behavior. She may have reduced appetite and a lack of energy.
The Estrus phase is the most dangerous period, especially if you don’t want to breed your dog and produce Brittany’s babies.
This is the time when your Brittany girl becomes receptive to males, her bloody discharge almost disappears (becomes pale in color and very thin). Once it becomes watery it means that your Brittany is in her most fertile phase. This is the time when your dog may become hostile towards other female dogs. They seem like a competition to her!
Note that the Estrus phase is rather a loud period. Your dog might be howling or whining. You shouldn’t worry about this, she is not in pain or anything.
This point of that noise is to call the males from the vicinity and inform them that there is one female ready to breed.
During this phase, your Brittany girl may become more needy, seeking more of your attention. She may insist on playing with one particular toy, hiding it all the time. This behavior is completely normal and it will go away in 7-10 days, no worries.
Diestrus is the third phase of the heat cycle. Things slowly get back to normal. Your dog’s vulva is not swollen anymore, there is no discharge, she returns to her usual self.
What Does My Brittany Dog in Heat Need (+ Care Tips)
Your Brittany Needs Additonal Attention
Brittany in heat may crave human attention. She can be especially cuddly during her heat cycle. Try to be gentle and calm when handling your dog.
Avoid high-pitched tones and yelling at your dog, especially if she makes a mess unintentionally. You need to send her a message that there is nothing wrong with her.
Note that the heat cycle might be a frustrating experience for a young Brittany that doesn’t know what is happening. The same stress may occur in older dogs as well. So be patient and kind.
Give Your Brittany Peace, If She Wants It
Totally opposite, some dogs prefer to isolate as much as possible during the heat cycle. Having a crate is super important these days, as the crate is something only hers, her own private cave, a place where your Brittany girl can be alone if she wants to.
While some Brittany dogs like to stay isolated, others will be perfectly happy with a big, soft cushion or doggy bed in the corner of your busy living room.
This means that your dog prefers to be in your vicinity but she would like to reduce interaction to a minimum. Respect that.
Even though Brittanys don’t bleed heavily when in heat, the vaginal discharge still makes a mess. Not just that.
Dogs in heat may urinate more frequently so you get a picture of how your house can become messy unless you do something. Doggy diapers are the perfect solution.
They come at different sizes, styles, and prices. You will be able to find disposable ones but if you care more for the environment do purchase fabric washable diapers.
Some people are not willing to accept changing diapers for three weeks. As a matter of fact, bleeding doesn’t last more than 7-10 days. If you still don’t want to mess with diapers limit your dog to one room only, preferably with linoleum flooring which makes cleaning much easier.
Note that vaginal discharge doesn’t have a very pleasant smell. If you need to leave your dog for a couple of hours, do think twice about diapers, especially if you have a sensitive nose.
Dogs will lick themselves ( self-grooming) but they won’t clean floors, bedding, toys, etc. They will leave all that stuff to you. That’s why prepare some light-colored blankets which are easily washed and bleached and use to cover a doggy bed. Instead of blankets, you can use disposable pee pads for the same purpose.
The main idea is to keep your home clean and tidy. If you use these items and change them frequently, you will succeed.
Keep Your Brittany Dogs Away From Other Dogs
Being in heat means that a dog doesn’t behave as usual so you might consider keeping your Brittany inside and far from other dogs, especially dog parks during her heat cycle. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t walk your dog.
This breed is energetic, loves to run and play so don’t neglect her needs for physical activity. Brittanys needs at least one hour of physical activity daily. Of course, if you see that your dog is tired you won’t insist but still bear in mind that she needs her regular walks and play. Just always keep her on the leash.
The males are an obvious threat ( of course if you don’t want to breed your dog intentionally) and the problem is that they can smell the female in heat at very long distances ( cca 3 miles/ 5km ).
Other females are not the same kind of threat of course, but their interaction might be a challenge. Females in heat might be very aggressive towards other female dogs, especially during the second phase ( Estrus stage ) when they become receptive to males.
Remember just not to isolate her from humans or other pet companions ( that are not dogs). Your Brittany needs a lot of love in this period so don’t leave her alone, unless she wants to be left alone.
Keep Your Brittany Dog Distracted
It’s natural that mating is the only thought Brittany has during the heat cycle. Hormonal changes are so immense that she cannot do anything about them. But you can try to distract her a little bit.
For example, you can offer her a new toy every few days ( especially chewing toys that are perfect to calm the anxious dog) or you two can play a new game more often.
Visit A Vet
If you are first time owner or you are especially concerned, it will be a good idea to visit a vet. Even though the heat cycle in dogs is not unnatural, it’s normal to have tons of questions and possible concerns. The vet’s practice is the right place to find the answers.
Appetite Loss During the Heat Cycle, What to Do About It?
Your Brittany may experience appetite loss during the heat cycle. This is also the consequence of hormonal changes.
There is a massive increase in estrogen levels, along with other hormone changes( estradiol, progesterone, and others). All these changes strongly affect appetite.
What you need to do is to offer high-quality, appealing food. Since your dog will eat less during the heat cycle, she needs to eat highly nutritious food.
No matter you feed your Brittany with dry food/ wet food/ raw diet, make sure she gets all nutrients she needs. Note that your Brittany girl might be more fastidious than usual when it comes to food, so maybe you will have to do some tricks.
Pour some warm water in dry food to make it tastier or you can sprinkle some nice food toppers such as:
Petchup Variety Pack rich in glucosamine, omega 3 fatty acids, and prebiotics or
The Honest Kitchen Proper Topper will boost your dog’s immune system and enhance vitamin and mineral level
You can also offer more treats than usual. Make sure those treats are healthy and rich in nutrients. Home-made treats are also a good idea.
For example, take quality coconut oil and blueberries. You need a mold ( no matter the shape) in which you should put blueberries ( 3-4 blueberries in each hole).
Heat the coconut oil until it becomes liquid and then pour it into each hole of the mold, freeze it. When it’s solid, pop them out of the mold and keep them in the freezer. The perfect treat for a dog in the heat especially during hot summer days.