Taking care of Labrador in heat may represent a great challenge for you and other members of your household. Labs in heat go through a series of physical and behavioral changes which may require greater dedication and commitment on your part.
Spend more time with your Lab in heat. She craves extra attention during the heat cycle so she needs more of your attention. Lab in heat my feel more tired than usual, provide a calm and safe zone where she can nap. Bloody discharge can make a mess but never scold your Lab, don’t yell at her. Keep your Lab on the leash all the time when you are outside. Avoid dog parks and other public places where you can run into other dogs. Keep her away from intact male dogs. 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.
What Does My Labrador in Heat Need (+ Care Tips)
Your Labrador Needs Extra Attention
Lab in heat may crave human attention. She can be especially cuddly during her heat cycle. Try to be gentle and kind when handling your pet.
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 stressful experience for a young Lab that doesn’t know what is happening. The same stress may occur in older dogs as well. So be patient and kind.
Give Your Lab 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 Lab girl can be alone if she wants to.
While some Labs like to stay isolated, others will be perfectly happy with a doggy bed in the corner of a busy 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 Poms don’t bleed too much 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. In that case, it’s recommended to 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 (two even better)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 Labrador Away From Other Dogs
Being in heat means that a dog doesn’t behave as usual so you might consider keeping your Lab 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. Regular walks are a must. 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 Lab needs a lot of love in this period so don’t leave her alone, unless she wants to be left alone.
Keep Your Lab Distracted
It’s natural that mating is the only thing your Lab thinks about during the heat cycle. Hormonal change is so big that she cannot do anything about it. But you can try to distract her a little bit.
For example, you can offer her a new toy every few days or you too 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 Lab 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 heavily affect appetite.
What you need to do is to offer high-quality, appealing food. Since your Lab will eat less during the heat cycle, she needs to eat highly nutritious food.
No matter you feed your Lab with dry food/ wet food/ raw diet, make sure she gets all nutrients she needs. Note that your Lab girl might be pickier 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.