If you have a female Chow Chow dog that hasn’t been spayed yet, and you have noticed some changes that might be related to a heat cycle you should definitely read this article. No matter whether you plan to breed your Chow or just to keep her safe during her period, it’s important for you to know what is really going on, why, and how you can help.
Female Chow Chow goes into heat approximately twice a year. The heat cycle usually lasts for 3 weeks and during this period numerous signs and changes can be noticed. The most obvious ones are the swollen vulva and bloody discharge. Mammary glands are enlarged. In addition to physical changes, there are also behavioral changes. Chow Chow in heat may sleep more than usual, eat less, lick themselves all over, crave extra attention, or totally opposite may prefer to be alone and isolated most of the time.
When Does My Chow Chow Go Into First Heat?
The first heat may happen somewhere between 6 and 12 months of age ( most probably when Chow is 8 months old)
If your Chow girl has never been in the heat before, early signs are easy to miss. Signs may appear one day or a couple of days before the breeding cycle starts. These are:
- slightly swollen vulva ( which you might miss )
- enlarged nipples which appear to be darker in color ( also not easy to spot)
- bloody discharge ( usually the first sign the owner notices )
What Are The Signs That My Chow Chow Is In Heat?
- Swollen vulva ( the vulva might swell up to three times its normal size).
- Nipples are enlarged and appear darker in color
- Vaginal discharge. At the beginning of the heat cycle, it may be pale pink, later on, will become deep red and then the color of discharge lightens again. This coincides with the vulva being very swollen so this is the moment when the chances of getting pregnant are at the highest point for your dog. Even when the bleeding has stopped, your dog might be in the heat for a couple of days more, so take precautions.
- Your Chow Chow in the heat may sleep more than usual
- Your Chow Chow in the heat may have a lack of appetite while some others may have increased appetite
- She may lick herself intensively ( self-grooming), especially her private parts
- Your Chow Chow will crave attention, seeking more of your company but don’t be surprised if she prefers to be alone. Respect that.
- She might show some nesting behavior, and starts collecting toys and food and putting them in some safe place. Let her do that.
- She will start urinating more, developing marking behavior
- She may become stubborn and grouchy
- Whining and howling are completely normal for Chow Chow in heat. These sounds are a form of mating/love call.
How Long Does My Chow Chow Stay In Heat?
The heat cycle usually lasts for 18-21 days. But this is average length and heat cycles may vary widely ( 2-4 weeks)
How Often Do Chow Chows Go Into Heat?
Usually, Chow Chow dogs come into heat every six months which means twice a year. What may happen is that the heat cycle lasts shorter than usual ( for example 2 weeks) and then the next one comes in less than 6 months.
In the beginning, young Chow’s heat cycle might be irregular. Sometimes it takes two years for the heat cycle to settle.
The older dogs may go into heat only once a year. Don’t worry, this is completely normal.
Dogs are born with all eggs they will ever have. Over the years, those eggs will lose effectiveness and die off.
The fewer eggs your Chow has, the fewer hormones she will produce. This means that she will have longer pauses between two heat cycles.
What Is Split Heat in Chow Chows?
Split heat is a false heat that might happen to younger or older dogs. Your dog may show the heat signs but these can last only for 4-5 days and then suddenly stop. Your dog will go into real heat 3-4 weeks after the false one.
Believe it or not, your dog may get pregnant during the false heat. Fortunately, split heat shouldn’t be happening more than once or twice in a lifetime.
If this problem becomes chronic and continuously repeated, you should ask the vet for help. He might run some tests in order to rule out Hypothyroidism and some other conditions.
What If I Notice Lumps During or After the Heat Cycle of My Chow Chow?
The lumps on your Chow’s nipples or around them may occur at any time but there are more obvious during or right after the heat cycle.
The lumps in that area may indicate the presence of mammary gland hyperplasia. What does that mean? Mammary gland hyperplasia is a benign overgrowth of mammary epithelial cells.
The problem is that those lumps may also be breast cancer which is malignant. The only way to discover if the lumps are benign or malignant is to get them removed by operation and let them be examined.
You need to take every lump very seriously, as according to statistics 50% of tumors in Chow Chows are diagnosed as malignant.
Pay special attention if heavy vaginal bleeding occurs in your Chow Chow. If bleeding lasts for more than 40 days, you should rush to the vet.
How To Take Care Of My Chow Chow In Heat?
If you would like to know more about the special care your Chow Chow need during the heat cycle do read our article ”How To Take Care of My Chow Chow During Heat Cycle”
What To Do If My Chow Chow has been Mismated or Accidentally Mates with Another Dog?
If happens that your Chow Chow accidentally mates with another dog then you have an emergency! The best you can do is to go straight to the vet. There are mismating injections that can be effective if given in the first day or two after the accident.
There are certain risks and side effects ( nausea, vomiting, irritability) associated with this treatment so don’t try anything by yourself, look for a professional vet’s help. The vet will explain all your options and will inform you of all risks.
Do Chow Chows Have Menopause?
Chows( dogs in general ) don’t have menopause-like humans. Actually, female dogs stay fertile for their whole life unless they are spayed.
As mentioned before, the heat cycles of older dogs may be shorter or longer than normal ones. The pause between heat cycles becomes longer as time passes. The fertility starts to decrease as Chow girl gets older.
Should I Spay My Chow Chow?
Yes, most of the vets agree that you should get your Chow girl spayed unless you want to use her for breeding. The spaying procedure ideally should be done before going to the first heat cycle, somewhere between the age of 4 and 9 months. Of course, the vet is the best person to advise you when your Chow Chow should be spayed.
It’s important to know that if you miss the moment and haven’t done the procedure on time, make sure it passes at least 6 weeks after the last day of Chow’s heat cycle before you take her to the vet who will perform a spaying procedure.
Some people may raise the question of how wise it is to put your dog through this procedure but science has proven many benefits of it.
For example, spaying procedures may significantly reduce the possibility of your pooch getting ovarian or breast cancer. The sooner you get your dog spayed, the greater her chances are that cancer will never occur.
Do Male Chow Chows Go Into Heat?
Someone will say ” Male Chows are in heat all the time!” As a matter of fact, they are responsive to the females being in heat, it’s not the same thing.
Once the male Chow Chow reaches sexual maturity ( 7-10 months of age), he is sexually active all year round.
As soon as the male senses the female in heat, he will change his behavior. The male Chow will become agitated, even aggressive trying to get to the female.
It’s just a call of nature, he needs to fulfill the natural-born duty – to impregnate the female.
This may seem like your male is in the heat but in fact, he is just responding to the female in heat. As soon as the source (the female)of his strange conduct has been removed, he will start acting normally again.
So it’s pretty clear that this is not a heat cycle since he can get back to normal so quickly.
If you know that some female dog from the neighborhood is in the heat, try to keep your dog inside as much as possible.
If you are in the dog park and you notice that your pet is sniffing some female that might be in the heat, leave the park as soon as possible.
The problem is that males can sense females in the heat at far distances so some people tend to cover the smell with some natural products such as mint oil. I heard that some owners dab a small quantity of this product on windowsills and door frames.
Since every dog is different, you can try different things to cover the smell. The point is that you should never use strong chemical products and never put any product on your dog. The idea is to make your house heat-proof and not your dog.