Pitbulls stay in heat for around three weeks, and it usually happens every six months. This can vary, though (just as it does with women) and some dogs will be in heat for a few days more or less than three weeks, and may have shorter periods between heats.
What Does "Being In Heat" Mean?
When people refer to a female dog as being "in heat", they're talking about where she is in her estrous cycle. This is a period of sexual receptivity, where the dog's behaviour may change and become more erratic.
You may find menstrual blood on your furniture, find your dog urinating more frequently, and notice her being more restless than usual, and interested in other dogs. She'll also "flag" her tail — wave it in the air, to (however crude this sounds) display her genitals to male dogs.
Dogs go through puberty, just like humans do, and this is when they have their first heat. This usually happens when they're between six and twenty-four months old, depending on the breed.
Caring For A Dog Is In Heat
It can be hard to know what to do when your dog's in heat — you can't exactly give her a tub of Ben and Jerry's and let her watch rom-coms in her pyjamas! Although being in heat is kind of like being on your period, it's also completely different.
Looking after a dog in heat really isn't that much trouble — it's probably easier than looking after a grumpy woman with cramps! This is all you need to do:
- Walk her on a leash. Your dog wants to be sexually active, and she will try to find a mate if you don't keep her tethered to your side.
- Make a place in the house for her to stay during this time, otherwise you'll spend three weeks cleaning doggy discharge from the couch. If you've got a conservatory, or somewhere with wipe-clean surfaces, this would be ideal. Then, give her a load of blankets to lie on, but make sure they're old ones that you don't care about. This will make the whole thing a lot easier on you.
- If you really can't be dealing with the mess, buy some dog diapers or panties. Problem solved!
- Rub a little menthol oil on the tip of her tail to disguise her scent (no, Febreze won't work). If male dogs can smell her, they'll know she's in heat, and it'll be distressful for her to have male dogs all around when you're not going to let her mate with any of them. The menthol should keep them away.
- Accept that she's going to be restless and anxious, and try not to put her in any situations that will cause her stress or excitement, such as being in large groups of people or around strangers. Give her extra love and attention, and take her for additional walks if she seems restless.