How to Take Care of a Puppy When She Has Her First Estrus

Comfort your dog while she's in heat; she may be more tense than usual.
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Estrus, or heat, usually begins between 6 months and 2 years of age, depending on breed and other factors. If your puppy is showing signs she's about to have her first estrus, you can increase her comfort and help her through this change. She may be especially needy or anxious for several weeks, which means you'll need to be more patient. If your pup seems generally unwell or you have other concerns, consult your veterinarian.

Step 1

Watch for signs that your puppy is about to have her first estrus. The most obvious signs are swollen genitals and a slight leakage of red or brown blood from her vagina. She may spend an unusual amount of time licking her genitals.

Step 2

Purchase protective panties from your local pet store. These panties will catch the small amount of blood from your puppy's vagina so that it does not stain your carpets or furniture. Wearing panties means your pooch can roam free during her estrus instead of being confined.

Step 3

Wash her bedding if it becomes soiled with bloody discharge. If she does not currently use a dog bed, prepare a comfy place for her to sleep that is fully washable.

Step 4

Keep her calm while she's in heat, and offer soothing massages. Brush her frequently, both for comfort and because she may be too distracted to groom herself. She will likely be more anxious than usual, especially during her first heat.

Step 5

Secure gates when your dog is outside, to keep male dogs away from her. This will also prevent her from running away. Do not leave her unattended. Larger male dogs may be able to jump your fence.


  • Spaying your dog will prevent estrus issues while protecting your dog against unwanted pregnancy. It may also protect her health in other ways, according to VetInfo.

An Item You Will Need

  • Protective hygiene panties