Having a female Shih Tzu is going take more than a cute and bubbly dog to keep. Female dogs when they reach their puberty stage at around 6 months old go into a heat or estrous cycle. Female humans also go through this stage where menstruation is observed, an indication that reproduction is possible. Female dogs also have their own version of this period but it is only observed twice year. Should you observe that your 6 month old dog go into heat, do not breed her yet – that is, if you have plans of becoming a serious breeder. If not, have her spayed as early as possible. Consult with your veterinarian and schedule the surgery. Spaying will prevent formation of infection such as pyometra (pus in the uterus) and metritis (inflammation of uterus), and cancers such as mammary and ovarian tumors. However, if your Shih Tzu is already 15 months old and you still don’t observe her go into heat, something is wrong. There may be an imbalance in her hormone system that needs to be addressed by medical means.
So how will you know that your Shih Tzu is in heat? First thing to notice is her swollen vulva. Blood is usually observed during this stage; however, take note that in smaller breeds, bleeding is not as much. The blood is normally thicker in consistency and sometimes occurs with mucus. This is normal, so no need to worry. You can put your pet in a doggy diaper to avoid soiling around the house as this is not something that the dog can control. This is not a painful event; however, some dogs prefer resting or ‘nesting’ when they go into heat. Seven to 9 days after the onset of blood discharge, your dog is very prone to get pregnant because this is the period of ovulation where the egg cell is mature enough to accept the sperm; so for this duration, keep her inside a cage and on a leash during walks. Male dogs will surely try to come hear her. Expect a lot of four-legged suitors on your front porch. The cycle reaches is around 2-4 weeks and will return after 6 months.