How To Know Papillon Dog is In Heat! (+Care Tips)

For every unspayed female Papillon dog parent, the question of the heat cycle is very important. It’s not only about the symptoms and how to sure that your Papillon is in the heat but also how to take care properly of your dog during one specific period.

The most common signs of Papillon dog being in heat are :

  • Vulvar swelling
  • Vaginal bledding ( discharge)
  • Nipples enlargement
  • Appetite changes ( more common is appetite loss)
  • Behavioral changes( clinginess, flirting, nesting behavior, dog may become nervous, alert)
  • Male dogs become very interested in your Papillon female
  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive licking of private parts
  • Lack of energy

How To Know My Papillon Dog 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.

Every Papillon 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 Papillon girl is not in the mood to mingle 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. Don’t be surprised if your Papillon becomes a real velcro dog!

Note that some changes in behavior during the heat cycle depend on a dog’s personality and vary greatly from dog to dog. Some Papillons may become aggressive, expressing pushy behavior.

Although Papillons are generally happy and outgoing dogs, some of them may become grumpy and nervous during the heat cycle. All of these changes are temporary and results of hormonal changes. Don’t worry, your dog will soon get back to her old self.

The Estrus phase is the most dangerous period, especially if you don’t want to breed your dog and produce Papillon babies.

This is the time when your Papillon 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!

Note that the Estrus phase is rather a loud period although this breed doesn’t bark too much. 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 Papillon girl may become more needy, seeking more of your attention. She may insist on playing with one particular toy, hiding it all the time, or leaving it only during a potty break. 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 Age Do Papillons Go Into Heat? And How Often?

Papillon will most probably experience her first heat at the age of 6 months. Since Papillon is a toy breed, the first heat cycle may happen as early as 4 months of age.

Heat cycles should repeat every 6 months but be aware of the fact that in the beginning heat cycles won’t be so regular. 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 Papillon’s first day of bleeding.

This will help you know in which heat stage your dog 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.

What Does My Papillon in Heat Need (+ Care Tips)

Your Papillon Needs Additonal Attention

Papillon 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 Papillon that doesn’t know what is happening. The same stress may occur in older dogs as well. So be patient and supportive.

Give Your Papillon 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 Papillon girl can be alone if she wants to.

While some Papillons 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.

You can also play special calming music for dogs in heat or use calming scents that will help your Papillon to relax.

Doggy Diapers

Even though Papillon usually doesn’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. I picked disposable ones as it was more practical for me.

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 Papillon Away From Other Dogs

Being in heat means that a dog doesn’t behave as usual so you might consider keeping your Papillon inside and away from other dogs, especially dog parks during her heat cycle. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t walk your dog.

This is an energetic breed that normally needs at least 30-45 min of physical activity every day. Don’t be fooled by the size of your dog. Although Papillons are a toy breed, they still need a significant amount of daily exercise.

Of course, if you see that your dog is tired don’t force her to go for a long walk but 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 you have a big, fence yard, don’t let your Papillon wander around unsupervised. Male dogs are super creative and very stubborn when they have to reach the female in heat. They will overcome every obstacle!

Keep Your Papillon Distracted

It’s natural that mating is the only thought Papillon has during the heat cycle. Hormonal changes are so huge 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. For example, treat-dispensing interactive toys, squeaky rubber dog toys, or puzzle toys are a good choice.

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 Papillon may experience appetite loss during the heat cycle. This is also the result of hormonal changes.

There is an enormous 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 Papillon with dry food/ wet food/ raw diet, make sure she gets all nutrients she needs. Note that your Papillon dog 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.

Don’t forget that you can find calming treats for dogs on the market. These treats are designed to calm and relax the stressed and anxious dogs and can help your Papillon during a stressful period of a heat cycle.

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