Do Chihuahuas Have Periods?
Your dainty and feminine Chihuahua is a wonderful, loving family member to have. In fact, there are many Chihuahua dog lovers that prefer female Chihuahuas because they don't tend to mark their territory like their male counterparts. If you plan on adding a female Chihuahua to your household though, you'll need to learn about their heat cycle. Like all dogs, female Chihuahuas go into heat. This is when they are most fertile and will draw the attention of any nearby male dogs...of all breeds.
Chihuahuas in heat will also bleed, which means you'll have to come up with a creative solution to prevent it from getting messy in your home. Dogs do not have periods or menstruate the same way we humans do though, but this time in your Chihuahua’s life requires some special care and attention. So if you don’t want a little litter of mini Chis’ running around, you will want to read all about your female Chihuahua and how her cycle works.
When Will my Chihuahua get her first period?
All dogs are individuals and therefore so are their heat cycles. There isn’t an easy way to know exactly when your Chi will go into her first heat cycle. Some of them will experience it early, while it may take others well over a year. Most female Chihuahuas, however, will have their first heat cycle between the age of 6 months to one year. After that, you can expect your Chi to typically go into heat every six months, but this can vary a lot in the early stages of a young dog’s life. It can take some Chihuahuas around 18 to 24 months to develop a regular heat cycle.
If you notice that your Chihuahua hasn't gone through her first heat cycle by the age of 18 months, it is time to talk to your veterinarian and check if there may be an underlying health problem. A simple checkup by a professional vet if she's a late bloomer or that there is something more serious going on.
Be sure to never breed your little Chihuahua on her first heat cycle! She is too young and this a time for her little body to adjust to all the major changes of this natural process. Breeding too early can not only cause internal damage to the female but mental trauma in the form of abandonment of her new litter.
What are the stages of a Chihuahua's first period?
There are 4 different stages in a Chihuahua’s heat cycle. This cycle generally lasts about 3 weeks and can occur anywhere from twice a year to 4 times a year. Below are the different stages that she will go through and what you should expect.
- Proestrus - This is the first stage of a Chihuahua's heat cycle. Occasionally you may be able to pick up on the changes that occur in your dog’s appearance and behavior. Some Chihuahuas will show clear signs that include bleeding, swollen nipples, excessive licking, and a general shift in mood change. Not all Chihuahuas are obvious with their symptoms though so don’t be surprised if you don’t see any changes at all.
You may notice that your little girl Chi is getting very friendly and flirty with the local boy pooches! She may even chase the boys playfully, even to the point of being annoying to them! Down girl!
- Estrus - The second stage is as known as Estrus. It happens usually about one week after the Proestrus stage. During this time, Chihuahuas are fertile and ready to breed. While most Chihuahuas won't allow the male to mate with her during the Proestrus stage, they will be willing to allow it during the Estrus stage.
It is fairly easy to determine if your Chihuahua is in heat at this stage. She will have swollen, bleeding genitals and be feeling very amorous towards all the nearby boys in the neighborhood. Watch out, boys! Males will also be more attracted to her due to the scent she emits from her discharge.
- Diestrus - If your female Chihuahua did not become pregnant in the previous stage. She will now enter the Diestrus stage. This is a rest period that lasts for 30-90 days when the Chihuahua's body is given time to recover from all the changes that have occurred. She will no longer seek out the male dogs around her and her sexual organs will gradually begin to go back to their normal size.
If a female Chihuahua becomes pregnant at this stage she will skip the Diestrus stage and enter the early stages of pregnancy. Pregnant Chihuahuas will continue to exhibit large, puffy nipples and swollen genitals. However, if she is not pregnant you can expect to see the first signs of the same sweet little Chihuahua you are used to.
- Anestrus - This is the last stage in a Chihuahua's heat cycle. It is a calming-down stage when her body and organs are finally getting back to normal. There are usually no visible signs of this stage of the heat cycle and that points to her being out of the fertile window. Your female Chihuahua will have normal-sized genitals, no bleeding or discharge. The Anestrus stage will last somewhere between 2-6 months until they begin the heat cycle over again.
Phew! You made it to the other side of the heat cycle. You can expect your Chihuahua to be behaving like her usual self, sassy, spirited, and loyal as usual.
How do I know when my Chihuahua is in heat?
So now that you know what is going on inside her tiny little body, let’s dive deeper into how to tell when the heat cycle is starting. When your Chi is in heat, there are both physical and behavioral signs as mentioned above. You may also see more behaviors such as her need to urinate more than usual, she will have a blood-tinged discharge and swollen vulva. Your Chihuahua may also seem more nervous than usual. She may be very distracted (by all the boys in the yard!) and be receptive to male dogs outside. She may start to initiate sexual contact such as raising her rear and deflecting her tail to one side, which is called ‘flagging.’ This girl will be quite frisky!
A Chihuahua’s heat cycle lasts about three weeks. The discharge will start with obvious blood and then gradually lighten to pinkish in color. A female Chi can become pregnant anywhere from around the end of the first week until after the second week of her heat cycle and sometimes even longer. Be sure to be very careful if you want to avoid her from becoming a momma too soon!
How to deal your Chihuahua's heat cycle?
It may seem like your Chihuahua’s heat cycle is going to be very difficult to manage, but take heart dear reader! There is some good news...and some bad news. The good news is that most Chihuahuas will only be in heat for approximately 3 weeks. The bad news... You will need to give them some extra care to prevent any accidental puppies and that everything runs smoothly. There are many dog owners that believe the heat cycle is simply a "natural" occurrence and don’t take the needed precautions to care for their Chihuahua during this special stage in their lives. Here are some tips for a smoother heat cycle for your Chihuahua and a calmer experience for you.
- If you want to avoid an unwanted litter of puppies, then from the moment you notice the first sight of your Chihuahua's heat cycle, keep her away from any nearby males. This means always walking her on a leash and never allowing her to run off alone. Barricade that girl! Just kidding, but no seriously, stay vigilant.
- Female Chihuahuas can be a bit more moody during their heat cycle, so when have gentle when handling her.
- Use a doggie diaper or wrap your Chihuahua's bottom up in a blanket to prevent her from bleeding everywhere.
- Don't make the assumption that your Chihuahua is no longer fertile just because she's no longer bleeding. Depending on her biology, she could still be fertile for weeks after bleeding. The bottom line is that you need to keep her separated from males until you are completely sure she is no longer fertile.
Should I spay my Chihuahua?
If you know for sure that you do not want to breed your Chihuahua, then spaying may be something to strongly consider. There are both pros and cons regarding this procedure. Spaying a female Chi has more advantages than just stopping the heat cycle. It eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and will decrease her odds of developing mammary cancer significantly. It also reduces the stress and strain that her little body endures during each heat cycle. Finally, spaying can calm behavior too. Females in heat are known to try and run away to find a mate and are often can act more territorial when at home. A con of having this procedure done, however, is the possibility of an increased chance of developing urinary incontinence later in life.