Man stroking small dog

Is it safe to walk a dog in season?

When your dog is in season, it can be a stressful time for both you and your dog. Here are our top tips for tackling walks with confidence during those weeks of raging hormones.

The short answer is yes it is safe to walk your dog in season. But some precautions should be made…

When will your dog be in season?

A bitch will be in season approximately every 6 months unless she is a Basenji (this breed only cycle once a year). Her season or heat will last approximately 3 weeks and she will be most fertile between day 8 and 15. Male dogs WILL however be attracted to her for this entire period.

Owners of entire bitches (not spayed) may worry about walking out in public when there are other dogs around, in particular un-neutered (entire) males. Of course if you have an enclosed garden then she can toilet there as needed but otherwise ultimately 3 weeks is a long time without daily walks!

How to walk her safely

The main priority is to keep your dog on the lead when out walking at all times. Male entire dogs in the surrounding area will detect she is on heat from the pheromones she will be releasing.

Time your walks well

Walking at unsociable hours such as early in the morning or late evening you will be less likely to meet other dogs.

Consider new routes

It may be better to walk a bitch in season on a ‘safer’ route. Walking her from the car rather than the house will reduce other dogs wanting to follow her scent back to your house. This will break the trail of scent she would otherwise leave behind her on a local walk.

Be mindful of other dogs

Walking away from home and away from other dogs is also respectful of other local dog owners who may be walking their dogs off lead . A bitch in heat will be far more interesting to them than their owner as they will follow her urine marking which she will also be doing on a regular basis making sure she is informing other dogs she is in season.

Be prepared

This leads us on to the point that even a very well trained dog may not adhere to commands when they are on heat as their hormones will be all over the place. This will also be the case for any entire dogs in the area as they will have one thing on their mind and one thing only!

Avoid busy areas

Avoiding busy parks and places where lots of dogs go to run off lead is best. Even if your dog is on the lead if another male dog is off lead it could be a problem waiting to happen. All loose dogs male and female will be attracted to her scent and will want to come over and investigate the new smell. Having a lot of loose dogs around her while she is on the lead may also make her quite anxious.

A long lead instead of off lead

If she is used to having the freedom of off lead then having a long training line will allow her to be ‘attached’ to you but gives her some manoeuvring space and she will feel less restricted. Choose one that you can wind in easily without giving yourself rope burn!

Advantages of a neutered bitch

If your dog isn’t being bred, there are many health advantages to having her spayed. These include:

  • Being more relaxed without being led by hormonal fluctuations.
  • She will be cleaner around the house all year rather than blood spotting on floor, carpets and sofas.
  • She will not be at risk from pyometra (pus in the wound which is a medical emergency)
  • She will be at lower risk of developing mammary cancer.