Heat Cycle

The Female Yorkie and Heat


When you have a female Yorkie, you may have many questions about heat. If you have a male, you should be aware of what behavior your dog may suddenly show when a female in the heat cycle is even remotely close by. His behavior may seem puzzling to you; since he may be sensing something that is out of your line of sight.


Owners wonder what the typical age is for this to begin...Others want to know how long each cycle will last for. 

For those who are waiting for their pup to enter heat for the 1st time, there are understandably be many questions about what to expect and the signs and symptoms to look for.


Having a dog in heat brings up many issues; not only how to care for your dog when she is in heat, but also the subjects of ovarian cancer, how to fend off male dogs that can sense her at this time from miles away and how to care for her during this time.


Also discussed will be how the Yorkie heat cycle works in conjunction with conceiving and becoming pregnant. If you are wishing to avoid having newborn pups or you are attempting to breed your Yorkie, understanding the heat cycle is vital.


You may be surprised to know that this applies to all females dogs of any age; a 14 month old puppy and a 14 year old adult female Yorkie will both have heat cycle issues and will be able to become pregnant.


How Does This Apply if I Have a Male?


An un-neutered male Yorkie has a very strong, inbred urge to find and pursue a female dog that is in heat. A female will usually not allow a male to mount her unless she is in heat; therefore once a female is in this stage the male will follow her to the ends of the Earth!


The male dog is capable of sensing the scent of a female dog for up to 2-3 miles and if he is off leash, he will try and traverse that far to reach her. It is not uncommon for an unfixed male to try and dart out of the house due to hormonal urges. This can be avoided if your have your male Yorkie neutered. Until that time, beware of the strong urge your dog may have that is usually stronger than any training he has had to stay put at home! If your male dog seems anxious, restless, keeps trying to look out the windows, rushes ahead or seems to walk out of control while you are walking him or he leaps and bounds at a fence...these are signs that he is having the urge to run. Extra care should be taken to make sure that your dog cannot run away. Even one second of having an open door is all he will need to take off in pursuit. 


What Happens During the Cycle


Heat is somewhat equivalent to the human female menstruation; however it does differ in many ways.



The Age a Yorkshire Terrier Enters Heat


This will vary, but it will mostly likely begin when she is still a young puppy. It can happen as young as when she is 5 months old....Or it may begin as late as 14 months. If you have an un-spayed female that has not had a heat by the age of 15 months, she should be taken for a checkup.


Hormone levels will be checked and tests will be run to check for any uterine infections and other various illness that could be interfering with the body's natural rhythms.




Do dogs enter menopause? Many owners are surprised to find out that the answer is No. It is very rare. Seniors will keep entering heat...and that means that they can become impregnated; which is obviously very dangerous in the senior years as it can put a lot of stress on the body.


​Those that are bred are often retired by between the ages of 6 and 8 years old, depending on how many litters she has carried, if she had any complications and how healthy she is. Now, with this said, each dog is an individual and some will have a gradual hormonal slowdown.... For those few that do, they may stop coming into season as young as 10 years old.


It is strongly recommended to have your Yorkie spayed as soon as possible if you know that you will not be breeding her. Spaying is best done as soon as possible. Veterinarians often spay even before the 1st heat cycle.


Signs and Symptoms


Swollen vulva - Owners are encouraged to make note of the normal size of this so that they can make a determination as to when the dog is entering heat. It will swell and sometimes become darker in color.


Discharge - This will range from whitish-pink to dark red and it is normal for this to change color over the course of the cycle.


Nesting - Female hormones may cause a dog to develop short-term nesting behavior. She may bring toys and soft items into her area to 'mother' them or just to stockpile them.


Moodiness - Some but not all female dogs will have some slight mood changes. This can be much more clingy behavior or she may want to retreat more often.


Change in appetite - A Yorkshire Terrier may eat more during heat due to an increased appetite or she may eat less, thought to be due to discomfort that she is feeling when the uterus contracts. 





How Long Each Heat Cycles Lasts


This can last from 2 to 4 weeks. Each cycle may be different from the one before it. For example, your Yorkie's first heat may last 2 weeks and her next one may last 4. She may stay on a dependable schedule for years and then it may begin to vary.


At What Time During Heat a Yorkie can Become Pregnant


A dog can have a successful mating on the very first day, however, the most fertile days will be 10-14 days into the cycle. 


If you are not planning on having Yorkie puppies or and want to avoid having mixed breed pups, it is vitally important to keep her in the home as much as possible and when outside, have her on a short leash. Pheromones will be released, mixed into the urine each time she goes to the bathroom. Therefore, male dogs from literally miles around (up to 3 miles) may sense her presence. You may notice that stray male dogs are roaming around your property.


Never allow her to go outside alone, even for a moment. She should be supervised at all times when outdoors. A larger male dog may injure her and it only takes a few minutes for a dog to mount her and tie. This is not a good time to go for walks at the park or in any areas that there may be males present. If you need to take her to the vet during this time, crating is recommended. 


What to Expect in Regard to Discharge


Smaller dogs do not bleed as much as larger breed dogs; however the amount varies from dog to dog. In any event, there will be some blood that discharges from her vagina and her vulva will become swollen.


You may not notice any blood as it may just be trace amounts. It can vary from red to a light pink. Toward the end of the cycle it can appear to be more of a light tan.


She may have a tendency to self clean by licking, however if you notice that any discharge has dried and become stuck to the coat, you can remove it with baby wipes.


Even if your Yorkie appears to have just a slight discharge, over the course of days and up to 3 weeks, this will accumulate on bedding, flooring, furniture and more. For this reason, you will want to place doggie diapers on your dog while she is in the active stage of heat to absorb and contain the blood and other bodily fluids.  Many owners opt to place a pretty canine panties over that just so that the dog looks cute.


How Often the Heat Cycle Occurs


Your Yorkie will enter heat approximately every 6 to 8 months; therefore you should expect this phase about twice per year. 


Behavioral Changes


Some go through this without any noticeable changes at all. With others there may be a few things that you do notice...She may seem a bit moody. Some Yorkies will not seem as playful, she may want to rest more often and/or lie down in a quiet spot away from noise and activity. It is not yet known if a dog shows these signs due to hormonal imbalances that cause a change in mood, discomfort from cramping or a combination of the both.


Caring for Your Female While She's in Heat

Caring for your female while she's in heat is relatively simple.
•Keep a close eye on her. This is mainly to protect her from an unwanted breeding because males can detect the scent of a female in heat from some distance away, and they'll travel from blocks away to find her.
•Be extra patient and gentle with her. She may feel a little under the weather during the proestrus stage.
•Avoid bathing her until she completely stops discharging. That way you can figure her cervix is closed again, and she'll be less likely to develop a vaginal/uterine infection from the bath water.
•If you've determined your female's regular heat cycle pattern and you intend to breed her, have her checked for brucellosis prior to her next heat cycle, and request that the stud dog owner has the male checked as well. Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that is sexually transmitted between males and females, and it can cause infertility in both sexes.


Should I Have my Yorkie Spayed?


It is very strongly recommended to have your dog spayed. In today's day and age, veterinarians are spaying dogs even before their first heat cycle and it is safe to do so if she is in good health. Spaying will severely lessen her odds of falling victim to mammary gland cancer and will eliminate the possibility of ovarian cancer. Going through just one cycle increases the odds of cancer by 16 percent.


If you are not planning on breeding her, spaying will help you have peace of mind that she will be safe from male dogs and there will be no unwanted pregnancies. In addition, since a Yorkie is able to have puppies even as an elderly dog, it is very important to have her spayed. A Yorkie older than 8 should not have to endure having pups!


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