If you have a female dog that is not spayed, you may be wondering if you can board her in a kennel when she’s in heat. You absolutely can, but not every kennel or boarding facility will accept her. Different kennels often have different policies and requirements for boarding dogs in heat. Some even outright ban it. In this article, we will explore some of the factors that affect whether you can board a dog in heat and what are some of the options and alternatives you can consider.
What Does It Mean for a Dog to Be in Heat?
A dog in heat, also known as estrus, is the period when a female dog is fertile and ready to mate. Hormonally, she wants to have puppies. This usually happens twice a year and lasts for about two to four weeks. During this time, your dog may exhibit some behavioral and physical changes, such as:
- Swelling of the vulva and discharge of blood or mucus
- Increased urination and marking
- Restlessness, nervousness, or clinginess
- Attractiveness to male dogs and willingness to mate
- Aggression or protectiveness towards other dogs or people
These changes are caused by hormonal fluctuations that prepare your dog for reproduction. However, if you do not intend to breed your dog, it is easiest and even advisable to spay her to prevent unwanted pregnancies and health problems.
How Does a Dog’s Behavior Change When She Is in Heat?
Depending on her personality and breed, a dog’s behavior can change a lot when she is in heat. Some of the common behavioral changes are:
- Flirting. Your dog may flirt with male dogs by wagging her tail, licking her lips, or raising her rear end. She may also try to escape from your home or yard to find a mate. She may also be more vocal, such as barking, whining, or howling.
- Anxiety. Your dog may feel anxious or stressed when she is in heat, especially if other dogs or people surround her. She may pace, pant, or tremble. She may also seek more attention and affection from you or hide under the bed or couch.
- Aggression. Your dog may become more aggressive or protective when she is in heat, especially towards other female dogs or people who approach her. She may growl, snap, or bite. She may also guard her food, toys, or bed more than usual.
- Moodiness. Your dog may have mood swings when she is in heat, such as being happy and sad. She may also lose interest in her usual activities, such as playing, eating, or sleeping.
These behavioral changes are normal and natural for your dog when she is in heat, but they can be challenging and frustrating for you. You will have to be patient and understanding with your dog and provide her with extra care and comfort. You will also have to keep her safe and secure from unwanted male dogs and pregnancies.
What Are the Dangers of Boarding a Dog in Heat?
Boarding a dog in heat can be risky and dangerous for both your dog and the other dogs in the kennel as well as the kennel staff. Some of the dangers that may occur are:
- Pregnancy. The biggest danger of boarding a dog in heat is that she may get pregnant if she comes into contact with an unneutered male dog. This can happen even if the kennel staff are careful and vigilant, as dogs can be cunning and determined when in heat. Pregnancy can have serious consequences for your dog’s health and well-being and for the unwanted puppies that may end up in shelters or worse.
- Infection. Your dog may be more susceptible to infections when she is in heat, as her vulva is swollen and open, and her discharge may attract bacteria or fungi. She may also get infections from mating with male dogs or from biting or scratching herself or others. Some of the common infections that may affect your dog in heat are vaginitis, pyometra, mastitis, or sexually transmitted diseases.
- Injury. Your dog may be more prone to injuries when she is in heat, as she may be more restless, aggressive, or protective. She may also get injured from fighting with other dogs or from trying to escape or break free from her enclosure. Some of the common injuries that may affect your dog in heat are cuts, bruises, sprains, fractures, or wounds.
- Stress. Your dog may experience a lot of stress when in heat, especially in a kennel with other dogs or people. She may feel anxious, nervous, or frustrated by the changes in her body and behavior. She may also feel lonely, scared, or confused by being away from you and her home. Stress can affect your dog’s physical and mental health and cause problems such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, depression, or aggression.
To avoid these dangers, find a kennel that specifically accepts dogs in heat and provides them with adequate care and safety. They will likely be better equipped both in terms of equipment and staff training to take the best care of your dog.
What Are the Options for Boarding a Dog in Heat?
If you need to board your dog in heat, you have a few options to consider. Some of them are:
- Find a kennel that accepts dogs in heat. Not all kennels will accept dogs in heat, as they may not have the facilities or staff to handle them. However, some kennels may be willing to take your dog in heat as long as you provide proof of vaccinations, health records, and consent forms. They may also require you to bring your own bedding, toys, food for your dog, and diapers or pads to contain the mess. They may also charge you a higher rate or a special fee for boarding your dog in heat.
- Find a kennel that has a heat program. Some kennels may offer a special service or program for dogs in heat, where they provide a separate area or room for your dog, away from the other dogs. They may also provide extra care and supervision, such as daily checks, medication administration, or vet visits. They may also offer a reduced rate or a discount for boarding your dog in heat, as they understand pet owners’ difficulties during this time.
- Find a pet sitter or a friend who can take care of your dog. If you cannot find a suitable kennel for your dog in heat, you may want to look for a pet sitter or a friend who can take care of your dog at their home or yours. This way, your dog can have more personalized attention and comfort and avoid the stress and risks of being in a kennel with other dogs. However, you will have to make sure that the pet sitter or friend is experienced and trustworthy and that they have no other pets or children that may interfere with your dog’s well-being.
- Postpone or cancel your trip. If none of the above options work for you, you may have to postpone or cancel your trip until your dog is out of heat. This may be the best thing for your dog, as she can stay with you in her familiar environment and avoid the potential complications of being in a kennel. However, this may not be feasible or desirable for you, especially if you have urgent or important reasons to travel.
Are There Increased Boarding Costs for Dogs in Heat?
Boarding a dog in heat can be more expensive than boarding a dog that is not in heat, depending on the kennel and the services they provide. Some of the reasons why boarding a dog in heat may cost more are:
- Extra fees or charges. Some kennels may charge you an extra fee or a surcharge for boarding your dog in heat, as they have to provide more care and supervision for your dog. They may also have to use more supplies and equipment, such as diapers, pads, or cleaning products. The extra fee or charge may vary depending on the kennel and the duration of your dog’s stay.
- Higher rates or prices. Some kennels may have a higher rate or price for boarding your dog in heat, as they have to allocate more space and staff for your dog. They may also have to limit the number of dogs they can accept, as they have to keep your dog separate from the other dogs. The higher rate or price may depend on the kennel and the availability of their facilities and resources.
- Special services or programs. Some kennels may offer a special service or program for dogs in heat, where they provide a separate area or room for your dog, away from the other dogs. They may also provide extra care and supervision, such as daily checks, medication administration, or vet visits. They may also offer a reduced rate or a discount for boarding your dog in heat, as they understand pet owners’ difficulties during this time.
Before you board your dog in heat, you should ask the kennel about their policies and fees for dogs in heat. Compare different kennels and their services and prices, and choose the one that suits your budget and needs. Just don’t be surprised if you must pay more than usual for boarding your dog when she’s in heat, as it requires more attention and care.
Boarding a dog in heat can be a challenge, but not impossible. You will have to research, plan, and weigh each option’s pros and cons. You will also have to be prepared for some extra costs, responsibilities, and possible risks and complications. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what is best for you and your dog and what will make your journey easier and happier.
If you have any questions or concerns about boarding your dog in heat, you can always consult your vet or a professional dog trainer. They can give you more advice and guidance on handling your dog’s heat cycle and the best options for boarding your dog in heat.
We hope this article has been helpful and informative for you. Thank you for reading! 🐶