About six months after you have taken the female dog from the breeder, the pet would come into first heat. This cycle will be repeated every 6 to 8 months. In effect, female dogs would come into heat about twice a year. Dog breeders and long time dog owners would know what must be done to a dog that goes into heat. If you are a first time dog owner it is highly probable that you would have no idea what happens when the dog is in heat. You also would not have an idea what must be done to the pet.
Actually, what you need to do to the dog would depend on your plans. Do want to have little bundles of fur that looks like your beloved pet? Or would you rather prevent the dog from being pregnant as you do not have prospective homes for the litter and you do not want to add to the numbers of homeless dogs? To be able to do this you need to understand what happens to a dog that is in heat. A dogs heat cycle generally last for 18 to 24 days. A swollen vulva is the first sign that the dog is in heat. The vulva would also have a bloody discharge. This means that while the dog is bleeding, the floor, the rugs and carpets will be stained with blood. If the dog is sleeping with you, your bed sheets will be stained with blood as well. But blood stains would be the least of your worries. This concern can be easily resolved by buying some doggie diapers.
A dog in heat will emit a distinct scent that will announce to all the male dogs in the area that she is in heat. Male dogs milling around the home is another sign that the female dog is in heat. During the first week of the cycle, the dog will not accept the attention of male dogs. She will only accept being mated if the bloody discharge is gone and the vulva is less swollen. This will be on the second week after the onset of bleeding and swelling of the vulva.
So what do you need to do to the pet when she goes into heat? If you have plans of breeding the pet and you have chosen a particular breed or the male dog of your friend, you need to ensure that the dog is not made available to her other suitors but only to the chosen dog. The dog has to be kept indoors if the yard is not well fenced. If you have no plans of breeding the dog, you also need to do the same thing. The only difference is that if you are anticipating holding small cuddly puppies, you would allow your pet to be mated. If there are no plans to breed the pet, it must be guarded against male dogs in the area. At least while the dog is in heat, it must not be allowed to play outdoors unsupervised. Preventing male dogs from being with a female dog in heat would be very challenging. These animals are great escape artists. Your six foot fence may be ineffective in preventing male dogs from mounting your pet. Dogs need regular exercise but preventing male dogs from following your dog can really be tedious. If there are no plans to breed in the future, the best thing you can do is to have her spayed. Not only would be released from the need to constantly watch over the dog, you would also support the programs aimed to lessen the number of homeless dogs. And more importantly, by having the dog spayed you can also prevent some health concerns that can endanger the life of the pet.