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We had scheduled Cleo for a spay and gastropexy for this week, but because of the covid-19 outbreak, the vet is reducing elective surgeries and has given some anesthesia and equipment to human hospitals--all very understandable! Even so, they are prioritizing spays (over neuters) because of the obvious consequences for waiting too long. (And b/c Cleo has a sensitive stomach, they don't want to put off the pexy indefinitely either.) So, the surgery is now scheduled for when she'll be 13 months old, a month from now. I am worried that if it gets pushed too much more, she'll go into heat. And who knows what things will be like here in a month?

Her female relatives, from what i understand, average around 14 or 15 months for their first heat. But i'm not sure that's an indicator to swear by! So..what do i need to do to prepare? Collect my kids' old briefs? Do i need to get maxipads of some kind? Also, what kinds of signs should i be looking for so i can catch things beforehand, perhaps?

At least she is not having play dates right now--her best friend she was playing with weekly is a 1yo intact male!
 

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Peggy's first heat caught us off guard at 8.5 months. On her lighter days, and for short periods of time, we used briefs with the flap cut off as a comfy tail hole. The rest of the time we used toddler pull-ups with a hole cut out for her tail.

I say go the easy route and pick up a package of doggy diapers. She can try wearing one before she's in a very sensitive state—get comfortable with it and associate it with lots of treats. And you can get comfortable putting it on.

The first sign of Peggy's heat was barking and jumpiness for a couple of days. I thought I'd go nuts. She was alerting us to every little thing. Then she went to the groomer, which she usually loves, and cowered on the table when the brush came out. I thought she was having some sort of nervous breakdown.

After that, the actual heat was easy. She was a mushy cuddlebug the whole time and even stood patiently for her diaper changes. We returned to the groomer three weeks later, and she was back to being happy Peggy. Hormones!!

Physically, I did notice slight swelling of her vulva, but figured she was just growing up. Then I saw drops of bright red blood on the floor and still didn't actually believe she was in heat until she left a swipe of blood on the side of the bathtub. The bloody discharge got quite heavy, then eventually turned pink and watery, before turning straw coloured. At that time her vulva was HUGE. It remained quite swollen for about a week after the discharge tapered off. The other most obvious sign of what I assume was her fertile period was she'd push her tail to the side if you touched or scratched above it. When she stopped doing that, I felt fairly confident we were done.

I think it's a good thing to let your dog have at least one heat, but there's still some debate. Do your research to ensure you're comfortable with your choice. :)
 

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Pushing her tail aside is called flagging and it is most definitely a sign of fertility since it is a signal to male dogs she would be receptive to making the tie.
 

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Hi Must Love Dogs. Waiting another month could be pushing a bit, eh? In absence of a fenced in yard where you'd still have to supervise, she'll need really short walks to eliminate with you carrying a stick to fend off suitors.

If Mother Nature beats the vet to the punch, this item comes in different names: period panties, menstrual panties for dogs, or dog diapers. If you get the 3-pack washable ones, black is nice since blood stains lighter colors. Rinse each day and do NOT put in the dryer; it messes up the velcro.

I like the washable ones here at chewy.com. Here are more Chewy selections in both material and disposable. As a rule, with one phone call, Chewy will instantly give you a refund if one of their products don't fit and no-hassle with returning it, they'll let you keep it. Free shipping for orders over $50.

Amazon Prime has free shipping no matter, and has a larger variety of brands and styles. I especially like JoyDaog products, and they have the panties too, here. On the other hand, getting a refund isn't as quick or easy as a phone call.

If your girl comes heat before the vet can do a spay, the heat can last 21 days. The veins and tissues are engorged and vets rarely will do a spay during that time period since there is more bleeding and that kind of surgery is more risky. Wait six weeks until after it ends so her reproductive system can settle down back to "normal".

And here's everything you want to know about Dog Reproduction (The Heat Cycle).
 

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Thank you for all this advice and info about what to look for!!! Luckily we do have a fenced yard where we can walk her, and our two "fence-neighbor" dogs are females... The male across the street is fixed. And she won't be having playdates during the pandemic, so that helps. If we were able to go anywhere, though, this would complicate things, b/c we can't board her at the usual place until she's spayed, now that she's turned one. But, we won't be going on any of our planned weekends away for a while anyway, i guess. :(

I will look at the various panty options you suggested. I understand that Chewy is taking a long time to ship right now. They don't carry Cleo's food so i haven't ordered there in a while. I will try there and amazon...whoever can send it first.

I was originally going to wait for her first heat to spay, but the vet discussed the various studies with me, and it seemed like with each heat the odds of breast cancer went up, while the odds of any other cancer being higher for not waiting were miniscule. That, and her bone growth is finished now, so waiting until she might be 15 months seemed unnecessary--especially given the boarding situation. My son's college graduation weekend was going to be out of town, and i'd have no one to watch her. (I think the graduation will probably be cancelled, since classes are online now and all the students have dispersed, but they haven't told us yet.) Anyway, i'm still really hoping another month will not be too long; seems like we're dealing with enough right now and i don't need the dog in heat on top of it!
 

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Hopefully you won't be faced with the heat cycle before your vet gets her into surgery, but some dogs- like mine, will not tolerate a diaper well-
she wants to be able to keep herself clean, so when we started with the diaper on she was going around in circles trying to address her hygiene.
We managed her cycle by keeping her in the kitchen gated with puppy pads down, and there really wasn't a lot of clean up.

We would diaper her up when she insisted on having the run of the house, and she got the hang of the situation pretty
quickly and would bring herself to the kitchen when she wanted that diaper off.

Best of luck!
 

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We're hoping we don't face the same situation with Kiki - we're in NY (upstate, not NYC) and "sheltering in place." She is 8 months old - we were planning to spay her between now and 1 year old - but if the restrictions are in place for several weeks (or months) longer (which wouldn't surprise me), and she goes into heat - we'll be having her go through that first heat and spay later (which wasn't the original plan).

One warning I gave my husband and share here is that unalterted males can detect a female in heat from quite far, and can be in a yard and on the female in a flash. I would be super-careful with her outside, even when she is supervised (ie you are out there with her). I grew up in a country with a lot of roaming, unaltered dogs - and have witnessed firsthand how quickly they can find and mount a female in heat.


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We're hoping we don't face the same situation with Kiki - we're in NY (upstate, not NYC) and "sheltering in place." She is 8 months old - we were planning to spay her between now and 1 year old - but if the restrictions are in place for several weeks (or months) longer (which wouldn't surprise me), and she goes into heat - we'll be having her go through that first heat and spay later (which wasn't the original plan).

One warning I gave my husband and share here is that unalterted males can detect a female in heat from quite far, and can be in a yard and on the female in a flash. I would be super-careful with her outside, even when she is supervised (ie you are out there with her). I grew up in a country with a lot of roaming, unaltered dogs - and have witnessed firsthand how quickly they can find and mount a female in heat.


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Very good advice, thank you!
 

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One warning I gave my husband and share here is that unalterted males can detect a female in heat from quite far, and can be in a yard and on the female in a flash. I would be super-careful with her outside, even when she is supervised (ie you are out there with her).
That is such true advice, even for those of us that do intend to breed our dogs at some time.

Also learn your town's ordinances- our new town requires that a female in heat be kept contained on our property,
with supervised time outdoors.
No walking down the street, going to the park- etc. (seems obvious, but you would be surprised.)
Conversely, they will impound an intact male dog that is loose near our property during this time,
and inform the owner of the penalties they will invoke if he is found loose again.

Now with the virus, I do not know how well these laws will be enforced but hopefully I don't have to find out.

For us in the country during Noodle's last heat, the males started showing up and stalking well before time. We had to call the sheriff,
who spoke to the owners and told us to keep a rifle handy, (we didn't, just the foghorn and a baseball bat) but I guess he told their owners we would,
because they stopped showing up and leaving their messages along our road.
 

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One possible consideration is that the ovaries grow as the follicles develop. So as Cleo gets closer to ovulating, the ovaries enlarge. I don't know how this affects the surgery or surgery outcomes, but I do know that my vet appreciated that I timed the spay for the exact midpoint of her cycle and commented how compact her structures were. It's worth a conversation with your vet.
 
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