Being in heat is a very specific period for every intact Pug female dog but for her owners as well. This period is considered equivalent to the human female menstrual cycle although there is a difference. During the dog heat cycle, your Pug may conceive and get pregnant.
In most cases, the owners want to prevent mating and breeding that’s why is very important to learn the signs and know when your Pug is in heat.
The most common symptoms that your Pug is in the heat :
- Bloody discharge ( approximate duration 3-17 days )
- Swollen vulva ( during the whole cycle )
- Enlarged nipples
- Changes in appetite (more common is appetite loss but increased appetite is also possible)
- Changes in behavior (the dog may become clingy, nervous, alert, or develop nesting behavior)
- Lack of energy, sleepiness
- Flirting behavior like tail flagging ( during second phase – Estrus )
- Aggressive with other female dogs ( during second phase – Estrus)
- Excessive urination
- Excessive licking of private parts
How To Know If My Pug is In Heat?
Pug will go into her first heat at the age of 4 -6 months. Heat cycles should repeat every 6 months but be aware of the fact that in the beginning heat cycles can be irregular.
Usually, it needs to pass at least two years in order to heat cycles to become predictable. It’s recommended to keep a record of the date of your Pug’s first day of bleeding.
This will help you know in which heat stage your Pug is and what will happen in the next two to three weeks plus will help you to predict the time of the next heat cycle.
How to be sure that your Pug is in heat? This is an important question especially for novice owners or for those who have handled only desexed dogs so far.
Fortunately, the heat cycle has some very visible signs so you don’t need much effort to spot them.
During the heat cycle, every Pug goes through 3 main stages – Proestrus, Estrus, and Diestrus.
Proestrus is the initial phase of the heat cycle. Swollen vulva ( even the skin folds in the genital area will be swollen) 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 Pug 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 to become even more clingy than she used to be before going into heat. She may have reduced appetite and a lack of energy.
Note that some changes in behavior during the heat cycle depend on a dog’s personality and vary greatly from dog to dog. Some Pugs s may become aggressive, expressing bossy behavior. Some otherwise calm Pugs may become agitated and nervous.
The Estrus phase is the most challenging period, especially if you don’t want to breed your dog and get Pug babies.
The part of the heat cycle when your Pug girl becomes receptive to males, her bloody discharge almost disappears but not entirely as it becomes pale in color and very thin. Once it becomes watery it means that your dog 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!
So in this period of the heat cycle, it is better to keep your Pug away for both girls’ and boys’ company.
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.
The 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 Pug 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, and she returns to her usual self.
What Does My Pug in Heat Need (+ Care Tips)
Your Pug Needs Extra Attention
Pugs in heat may crave human attention. Cuddling sessions are a must 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 Pug that doesn’t know what is happening. The same stress may occur in older dogs as well. So be patient and kind.
Give Your Pug peace, If She Wants It
Totally opposite, some dogs prefer to isolate themselves 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 Pug girl can be alone if she wants to.
While some Pugs 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 Pugs usually 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 in 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. Doggy clothes can be also a great choice for your Pug during the heat cycle, especially to keep diapers in place.
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 Pug Away From Other Dogs
Being in heat means that a dog doesn’t behave as usual so you might consider keeping your Pug 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 not so energetic and doesn’t need a lot of exercises ( due to their small size and nose issues) but still needs some physical activity. Pugs need at least 30-40 min of physical activity daily. Of course, if you see that your dog is tired don’t force her to go for a long walk but if she is willing to go outside please 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.
No matter if you have a big, fence yard, don’t let your Pug run around unsupervised. Male dogs are super creative and stubborn and might be so pushy when they have to reach the female in heat. They will overcome every obstacle!
Keep Your Pug Distracted
It’s natural that mating is the only thought Pug has during the heat cycle. This is the result of massive hormonal changes and 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 a 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 Pug may experience appetite loss during the heat cycle. This is also the consequence of hormonal changes.
There is a huge 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 whether you feed your Pug with dry food/ wet food/ raw diet, make sure she gets all nutrients she needs. Note that your Pug girl might be pickier than usual when it comes to food, so maybe you will have to do some tricks.
Pour some warm water into 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, and 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.
When Should I Spay My Pug?
Unless you tend to breed your Pug girl you should spay her.
In general, experts say Pugs should be spayed between 4 and 6 months of age, which is a bit earlier compared to other dog breeds. The reason is that toy breeds mature earlier than larger breeds.
The most reliable advice you will get from your vet, of course.
Spaying has many advantages though. Many studies have shown that spayed dogs have fewer chances to get mammary cancer.
Since this procedure involves removing the ovaries and uterus, this means that your dog will never get cancer-related to these organs.
Don’t forget that if you spay her, you won’t have to deal with unwanted pregnancy and litter.