Dog owners have to monitor their beloved pets to keep track of the changes in their bodies because, just like other animals, dogs experience a reproductive cycle that you would do well to keep track of.
If your female dog is about to start the hit cycle for the first time, you should be prepared and have things on hand to make your (and her) life easier, and this is no different when it comes to the wonderful Yorkshire Terrier.
A Yorkie being in heat means that it is ready to breed and have puppies.
It is typically a cyclic time that happens a couple of times in a year.
The heat period extends for about three weeks.
The behavior of your female Yorkie will change during this time, and you need to be aware of these changes.
As a Yorkie owner, you may be curious about what age this usually starts or how long each cycle will last.
In a nutshell, the female Yorkie heat cycle happens every 3-6 months, unlike human beings who experience their cycle every 28 days.
This means that as a dog owner, you should expect your Yorkie to experience heat about two or three times a year.
If you have a male Yorkshire Terrier, you should be aware of your dog’s unexpected behavior when a female in heat is nearby.
You may find his actions perplexing, but the truth is he might be detecting something that is beyond your line of sight.
How do you know your Yorkie is in heat?
There are physical signs to look out for when your female Yorkie is in heat.
They might indicate somewhere else, but when you look at them collectively, you can quickly tell what is happening in the body of your Yorkie.
These signs include:
- Small odorless vaginal discharge will range in color from white to pink and change throughout the cycle.
- Some Yorkies will demonstrate nesting, where they will play with toys and act motherly towards them.
- The most common sign is a swollen vulva that might also become soft and tender aside from slightly changing color.
- The Yorkie may also have a small blood discharge coming from her vagina. She may lick her vagina frequently to lick off that blood.
- Yorkies in heat also tend to urinate more frequently than normal.
- Moodiness is a common sign where the Yorkie will exhibit emotions ranging from sadness, loneliness, excitement, and aggression.
- A fluctuating appetite is also a solid indicator due to the raging hormonal changes in her body.
It is important to note that Yorkies as young as a few months old can experience heat and get pregnant.
Therefore, you should have this information as soon as you have your female Yorkie puppies to start preparing in anticipation for their first experience of being in heat.
What happens when the Yorkie is in heat?
The body of your female Yorkie will increase Estrogen production.
This will, in turn, make the Yorkie more prone to seeking out an opportunity to breed.
If you have a male Yorkie insight, he will also notice the changes in the body of the female and react accordingly.
As the dog owner, you will need to decide if you want your Yorkie to get pregnant.
If you do not want her to get pregnant, you should place her far from the reach of males.
She will have increased receptivity towards the male Yorkie for breeding purposes.
Your Yorkie may also display increased aggression during the time she is in heat.
This is expected, and you need to give her time to experience the changes happening in her body.
There may even be a need to isolate her from free interaction to avoid any acts of aggression.
Your Yorkie might also cause messing and staining around the house when in heat, necessitating good sanitation, and use disposable diapers for her during this time.
You will also need to be more thorough in your cleaning, especially when the discharge hardens on her body hair.
The males will intuitively tell when your Yorkie is in heat through her pheromones.
She unwillingly emits this, sending the message that she is ready for breeding.
The male Yorkie can sense this even from three miles away, and unless he is neutered, he will look for ways to satisfy that urge.
If you have a male Yorkie that hasn’t been neutered yet, be aware of the strong desire he may have to leave the house.
This urge is typically greater than any training he has received to remain at home.
If he seems uneasy, restless, or appears to stroll out of control when you are walking him, or if he jumps and bounds at a fence, these are indications that he is experiencing the desire to flee and find a female in heat.
To ensure that your dog does not escape, take extra precautions.
Even a split second of having an open door will be enough for him to flee in pursuit.
The Yorkie heat cycle
Typically, the heat cycle takes place in four main stages:
1. Proestrus (takes around 6 or 7 days)
The first signs of heat will appear during this initial stage.
The Yorkie will have a swollen vulva and a slight discharge.
If a male is around, he will usually notice, and mounting and other reproductive acts will become more common.
The Yorkie will also experience her initial mild bleeding, and this will be an almost guaranteed sign of the beginning of the cycle.
2. Estrus (lasts for about seven)
This is the critical stage of the cycle. The female at this time is very receptive to mating and will welcome any male she likes.
This is the time to isolate her and supervise her closely if you do not want her to become pregnant.
The unneutered males will, at this stage, do whatever it takes to mate with the willing female.
You will want to monitor.
Her willingness will also mean that she will ignore her breeding instinct completely and be at risk of being lured away from you or from your home.
3. Diestrus (lasts about two months if the Yorkie becomes pregnant)
The third stage of the Yorkie heat cycle is conditional on whether the Yorkie got pregnant.
The typical pregnancy period for dogs is around 50-60 days when she will be carrying her puppies.
This stage will still happen even if she does not get pregnant, and the cycle will continue as usual.
The swelling on her vulva will abate, and she will no longer have the discharge as she did during the first two stages.
Males will no longer be looking to mate with her, and she will no longer be at risk of getting pregnant.
There have, however, been reports of Yorkies who experience a pseudopregnancy which is nothing to worry about.
Your dog may still experience a strong motherly instinct and still play with her stuffed animals as a result.
Slight lactation is also possible, and this will continue for the duration of the Diestrus period.
4. Anestrus (lasts for about 30-90 days)
Once hormonal activity subsides, the body returns to normal. All the physical signs of the previous three stages disappear.
The Yorkie will stop experiencing the emotional roller coaster that comes with the heat period.
She will not be protecting her stuffed animals anymore, and male dogs will no longer be trailing her at every turn.
The pheromone switch will be turned off, and life will go back to normal.
In the event where she actually got pregnant and had puppies, she will be taking care of them for at least the first half of this period and possibly longer.
The body resets and stays that way until the next heat cycle begins.
Remember that that this cycle is variable and may not happen the same way for all Yorkies.
The Yorkie’s health, age, and environment might make the time be variable from Yorkie to Yorkie.
There is no cause for alarm if some stages in your Yorkie seem longer or shorter than others.
Although a dog can become pregnant on the first day of her cycle upon successful mating, the prime days of the highest chances of pregnancy success are days 9-15 during estrus.
If you want your dog to get pregnant, this is the time with the best chances.
She is most fertile and willing at that time.
Should you spay/neuter your Yorkie?
Spaying (in females) and neutering (in males) is one of the greatest things you can do for your dog’s health.
In females, it entails surgical removal of the ovaries and, in most cases, the uterus, while in males, it entails surgical removal of the testicles.
Spaying or neutering your pet reduces the risk of some cancers and eliminates the chance of your pet getting pregnant or fathering unwanted pups.
It is a very complex procedure that could go wrong with devastating effects if not done by a professional.
When the procedure is done right, it is one of the best ways to take care of your dog and protect her from some of the negatives and risks of the heat cycle.
You should only spay a dog that you will not be expecting any puppies from since the process is irreversible.
Yorkies that have not been spayed have an increased chance of developing ovarian cancer and mammary cancer.
For unneutered males, testicular cancer, enlarged prostates could be a possibility.
Spaying/neutering your Yorkie not only protects them from these risks but also gives you the peace of mind that their life will be much easier without pregnancy and fatherhood, respectively.
In addition, Yorkies older than 7 are also normally too old to handle the heat experience, so you’ll be doing them a favor.
Other benefits of spaying/neutering include:
- Reducing the behavioral changes associated with the heat cycle, like aggression and moodiness.
- It makes room for a more pleasant experience with your furry pet.
- It also helps you keep control of how many dogs you want to take care of.
- Spaying also reduces the bleeding that usually accompanies the heat cycle, eliminating the difficult chore of cleaning stains.
When should you spay/neuter your Yorkie?
A Yorkshire Terrier ought to be spayed or neutered before attaining the age of one-year-old.
Studies indicate that spaying female dogs before the first heat cycle, usually at the age of 4 to 5 months old, has the greatest potential of lowering the risk of cancer development.
Even if a dog just has one heat cycle, the chances of getting mammary cancer rise, and the risk increases with each subsequent heat cycle.
Males are usually neutered before they reach puberty, at the age of 4 to 6 months, to prevent undesirable behaviors like territorial marking from developing.
However, the weight-related hazards of anesthesia must be considered as well.
If your Yorkie is small, the vet may urge you to wait until the 6, 9, or 12-month mark.
The heat cycle in Yorkies is very typical and should not come as a surprise to you.
Once you know what to look out for, you can try out some of the ideas recommended in this article as you continue to do more research on best practices for taking care of your friend.