Shiba Inu, a small to medium Japanese dog that hasn’t been desexed will go into heat for the first time most probably between 5-6 months of age. After that, the heat cycle will repeat every 6 months. The heat cycle usually lasts for 3 weeks during which each Shiba Inu needs special care.
Devote more time and attention to your Shiba Inu during her heat cycle (she might become snuggly and demanding). Restrict any contact of your dog with male dogs. Walk your dog on a leash only. Offer her more apeling food, extra treats, tastier cuts of meat, as she may suffer from appetite loss. Keep all areas in your home as clean as possible and try to distract her with some additional activities and new toys.
If you want to get more details and tips about taking care of your Shiba Inu during the heat cycle keep reading this article.
How Do I Comfort (Care) My Shiba Inu While in Heat?
The heat period is quite a special one and your Shiba Inu may behave much different than usual due to hormonal level changes. Of course, every dog is different.
While some Shiba Inus may become more clingy during the heat period – real velcro dogs, others will get grouchy, moody, and even aggressive. But all these changes are normal.
During her heat cycle, your Shiba Inu may become clingy, quite snuggly but also nervous sometimes. She could want to spend the whole day in your lap. Take a little more time than usual to cuddle her. She really needs that.
Although dogs generally don’t feel pain like cramps during the heat, hormonal changes may cause a certain level of physical discomfort which is why you can give her a gentle massage of her belly area or legs.
Other behavioral changes are also possible. Your Shiba Inu may become more protective, she may start barking more at strange people and sounds.
Distraction is very important during the heat cycle. The perfect tool to divert your Shiba Inu’s thoughts is by providing some new toys
During her second phase called Estrus, she will have only one thought on her mind- to mate! In order to distract her and make her think about something else, a new, interesting toy or some safe chew toys would be perfect.
Shiba Inu in heat may feel sleepy. Lethargy is quite normal during the heat cycle, although some dogs may appear restless. Provide a safe and calm zone, where she can rest as much as she wants.
During the first stage of the heat cycle, called Proestrus, your Shiba Inu girl will have vaginal bloody discharge.
Dogs usually lick themselves intensively during these days so most probably you won’t find any mess on your floor but still, if you do, don’t yell at her, don’t scold her, just comfort her gently while you clean the mess.
How To Walk My Shiba Inu While In Heat?
Some people think by mistake, that they shouldn’t walk the dogs in heat. On contrary, dogs in heat do require some physical activity. Shiba Inu generally requires at least one hour of daily exercise since this is an energetic dog with a high prey drive.
During the heat, Shiba Inu may not be in the mood to walk/run for the whole hour but still needs to go out.
When you walk your Shiba Inu girl while in heat, you need to take precautions to avoid any unpleasant situations like an unwanted pregnancy.
Did you know that Shiba Inu that was bred earlier may hold the semen for 5 days and wait for ovulation? That means that you need to be very careful and attentive right from the beginning of the heat cycle.
Although the most fertile period is when the discharge changes from bloody red to a more transparent color, you have to take precautions before that.
First, make sure that the ID tag and microchip information are up to date. Dogs in heat usually have a strong urge to escape so they can find a mate so this way you will find your Shiba Inu easier if she runs away.
Another thing, you can invest in a GPS tracker for even better results.
Never leave your Shiba Inu girl without supervision while outside. No matter you have a big yard with a tall/strong fence. You won’t believe what males are capable of when they smell the female in heat.
It’s recommended to walk your dog in the least crowded time – very early in the morning and late in the evening to reduce the possibility of meeting other dogs.
Don’t go dog parks, dog shows, or public events where you think other dogs will show up. Pick some less visited place/park/path for a walk where you won’t be meeting other dogs.
It’s a good idea to mask the scent of your female in heat. One of the most common and popular solutions is to put some Chlorophyll liquid solution in your pet’s drinking water. It’s said to reduce the smell of Shiba Inu in heat. It seems that female canine in heat urine smells less intensive if this solution is used (by the way one of the main heat cycle symptoms is frequent urination).
Giving your dog Chlorophyll tablets may also reduce the odor but you should consult the vet about the exact dosage. Never give any medicine to your dog before consulting the vet.
Some dog owners apply a tiny amount of Vicks VapoRub cream on the tip of her tail that should keep the males away from her but cause.
Dogs hate menthol scent but you should be careful and do not let her lick the area you applied the cream as this product contains menthol and camphor among others and these are toxic to dogs.
Another solution is to use diluted essential oils that are safe for dogs, like tea tree oil. If you don’t have diluted tea tree oil you can make it by yourself. Every one drop of essential oil has to be diluted with 12 drops of carrier oil.
This is the safest proportion. If you have never used diluted essential oils, apply a tiny amount on your Shiba Inu body and observe if it’s going to be any reaction/irritation. If not, you can use it carefully the same a Vicks Vapo Rub cream to mask the scent of the dog in heat.
You should also prevent male dogs to track her scent all the way from the park or some other spot to your home.
Males can detect the scent of a female in heat up to 3 miles. So they know that there is some female in heat even if they don’t see her.
They can track her smell all the way to your home and then hang around trying to get to her. This is a possibly dangerous situation that should be prevented.
Don’t walk to the park, take the car instead. This way, males will have no chance to track your girl.
Don’t forget though that your Shiba Inu in heat should be always on a leash while outside ( even in normal conditions they cannot be trusted off-leash due to high energy and prey drive). During heat, even if Shiba Inu is the most obedient dog on earth and has good recall, her natural instincts would win in this situation, so keep her tight and never let any intact male come near her.
How To Keep Clean My Shiba Inu While In Heat?
As you know, the dog should have several baths during one year. The general rule of thumb for Shiba Inu is one bath per three-four months unless your dog gets really dirty so you are forced to bathe her.
Like we said in the beginning, the heat period is a bit different than anything else so different rules apply when it comes to hygiene as well.
Even though Shibu Inas like other breeds take really good care about their intimate area, lick themselves more than usual, they might need your help in order to keep a good level of cleanliness.
During the first phase ( around 7 days ) of the heat cycle, you might be able to see the bloody discharge. The amount of discharge varies from dog to dog but still, it can make a mess.
So some extra baths won’t cause any problem for skin and fur. If you don’t feel the need to bathe your dog you can only wipe her intimate area on daily basis. This will keep her clean and will reduce the scent.
Many Shiba Inu owners use either disposable or washable diapers for dogs in heat. This can prevent a mess but never consider these items as contraception for dogs ( as some owners do) as males will easily find the way even if a female wears diapers or heat pants.
You can also place disposable absorbent pads on the place where your pet sleeps. Other options are light-colored blankets that are easy to wash and for which you can use bleach. You would need a couple of them, since you may need to change them 2-3 times a day. You can also use washable pee pads.
What To Do If My Shiba Inu In Heat Won’t Eat?
This is a completely normal thing. Especially for the second phase ( Estrus). Your female canine friend has only one job to do and that is to find the mate and breed. Nothing else matters, not even the food.
Having said that, I must emphasize that there are Shiba Inus that have increased appetite, but that’s also a normal occurrence.
Luckily the appetite loss during heat doesn’t last long enough to harm your dog but still, you have to do your best so your Shiba Inu gets all nutrients she needs.
No matter how well she usually eats, during those days she may become a picky eater. That means that she likes one food today but totally dislikes it tomorrow. As a good dog parent, you have to cope with it.
- Offer her favorite food more often than you usually do.
- Bribe her with some tasty treats.
- Give her tastier cuts of meat.
- Put some delicious topping over her regular food. That can be a healthy and tasty fish or coconut oil or even peanut butter. You can always purchase ready- to use toppers or cook a delicious unsalted chicken broth and soak her kibbles in it. It will give her a different texture and improve its dry food taste.
- Treat her with some tasty fruits like blueberries, strawberries, or bananas.
- If she used to kibbles, mix them with some wet food
Always make sure your Shiba Inu drinks enough water to keep her hydrated.
If she refuses to eat, try hand-feeding, in some cases, it helps since she needs more of your attention and affection.
Your Shiba Inu girl won’t be so interested in food during the first and second phase of her heat cycle ( around 2 weeks ) If her appetite doesn’t recover and get back on track after the heat cycle symptoms are over, you should consult the vet.
Your Shiba Inu will go into heat every 6 months or so, will stay in heat for approximately 3 weeks, and during that period she will require special care and attention.
The most important thing you need to do is to give her more cuddles and more of your time if she asks for them.
Another equally important thing is to keep her away from an intact male. This means that you should seal up your house, don’t let any intact male come in, always supervise your girl while outside, walk her on a leash and never let her go near males.
I really do hope that you find this article helpful and that you will find some tips on how to handle and properly take care of your Shiba Inu female in heat.