If you’re a pet parent to a female Yorkie, you may have heard about heat cycles. You may even be observing odd, unexplained behaviors in your dog out of nowhere. These may be symptoms that your dog is going through in its reproductive cycle, and the term “heat cycle” refers to the stage called estrus, which is characterized by a time for mating.
To best support your furry little friend during this critical time in their life, you can learn and understand what’s happening when your dog is in heat.
What is the Yorkie Heat Cycle?
Dogs have similar reproductive cycles to the human menstrual cycle. However, the timings and frequency can vary significantly among dog breeds. Large dog breeds have less frequent reproductive cycles than smaller ones like your Yorkie.
The entire reproductive cycle is characterized by four periods: the Proestrus stage, the Estrus stage (heat cycle), the Diestrus stage, and the Anestrus stage. Bleeding through the vagina starts during the Proestrus stage, and your dog’s discharge may be thick and red, which is natural and nothing to worry about. Your Yorkie would also want to avoid mating during this phase and keep her tail low.
Your Yorkie’s heat cycle will be followed by either the rest and recovery from the shedding or baby development if your Yorkie gets pregnant. Since the reproductive cycle is meant to cause pregnancy, your dog will want to search for a male mate when in heat. This period is the peak fertility period for your Yorkie and will last for about 3 to 4 days (possibly more).
You may be wondering how a male Yorkie would react around this time. Whether you have another male Yorkie in the house or someone else around the neighborhood, it’s essential to predict their behaviors. The male dogs can sense a female Yorkie in heat and consequently have an innate drive to mate with her during this time. This urge is particularly strong in unneutered dogs. While your Yorkie will be able to fend off the males if she is in the proestrus stage, she will become receptive to mating afterward. So unless you plan on having additions to the family, you may want to keep your Yorkie at a distance.
When Do Yorkies Go into Heat For The First Time?
Even within the Yorkies, including Teacup Yorkies, the time of the first heat can differ significantly. The first heat cycle for your Yorkie can arrive as soon as five months of age, and it might take a late bloomer up to 14 months. Regardless, you shouldn’t worry too much if your Yorkie inches closer to the 14-month mark because most Yorkies go into their first heats at 10-12 months of age.
Your Yorkie’s natural bodily rhythms can be affected by infections. In this case, uterine infections can be the cause. If your Yorkie doesn’t have its first heat by 15 months, you should get her checked up by a veterinarian.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: What To Do When Your Yorkie Is In Heat, and How Long Are Yorkies Pregnant?
How Long Do Yorkies Stay in Heat?
This bit depends on the age and maturity of your Yorkie. The average heat cycle can last anywhere from 2 weeks to a month and may come as frequently as twice a year. However, certain factors can affect the duration of heat. As the Yorkie matures, the heat cycle will come around once a year.
Health conditions like obesity and hormonal imbalances can also cause irregularities in heat cycles, making them last longer and come after long periods.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Yorkshire Terrier Pregnancy Symptoms
Symptoms & Signs That Your Yorkie is in Heat
Yorkies have very strong behavior patterns and personalities, as we’re sure you might be familiar with if you own a pet Yorkie. This, coupled with other conditions that cause behavioral changes, can confuse you over whether your canine best friend will go through a heat cycle. Here’s a list of things you can check for when wondering if the heat cycles have begun:
- Discharge from the Proestrus stage decreases
- The color of the discharge goes from a thick red to a lighter pink
- The vulva becomes enlarged and soft (may appear to be swollen)
- Some Yorkies might start collecting toys and “Nesting” them as the motherly instincts kick in.
- The shift in hormones can also cause your dog to have unpredictable, often irritable moods.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: A Male or Female Yorkie – Which One Should You Pick? The Girl vs Boy Puppy?
How to Take Care of a Yorkie in Heat
While you may not be familiar with what your dog is going through, we can understand that you want to do your best to help your Yorkie through this. This bit can be challenging because not only is your Yorkie going through uncontrollable mood changes, it literally cannot tell you what it wants.
There are some ways you can approach the situation smartly and let your Yorkie know that it has your full support.
First and foremost, giving your dog privacy and space is the best thing you can do for her. This doesn’t just mean you being away but also making sure that her resting pin is quiet and away from other animals.
Secondly, if you happen to have a male Yorkie in the house, it is important to keep it far apart from your female Yorkie. This is crucial if your dog is not neutered because it will do anything it can to mate.
Another thing you need to be very mindful of is cleanliness. Your dog is already going through a hormonal overhaul, and the discharge can get messy and smelly. Investing in dog diapers or general cleanliness with regular washes and deodorant can go a long way in keeping your Yorkie happy and safe.
Lastly, you need to walk the tightrope of balancing the amount of attention you give your Yorkie. While privacy is something a Yorkie in heat loves, she still needs some love and affection to not feel alone and anxious.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: What Breed Makes For A Good Yorkie Buddy?
Breeding Yorkies in Heat
Let’s suppose you want to use this heat cycle to expand your pet family and experience pet parenthood all over again. If you’re going to get your Yorkie pregnant during the heat cycle, you need to keep a few things in mind.
While your Yorkie’s first heat cycle is an indicator that it is now fertile, it doesn’t mean you should get it pregnant. It is possible that your dog’s body hasn’t yet fully developed and that pregnancy during this time can lead to health complications.
The optimal time to get your Yorkie to mate and get pregnant is around the 11th day after the reproductive period begins, but your dog is pretty fertile from the 10th to 14th day.
Should I Spay My Yorkie (And When?)
Spaying is a process similar to neutering, except here, a female Yorkie’s reproductive organs -the uterus and the ovaries- are removed. This process is relatively common because of how both you and your Yorkie benefit.
It is advised to get your Yorkie spayed before it gets its first heat cycle because, after that, the process becomes complicated. However, you should also not get a very young Yorkie spayed because they may not be able to endure the process of surgery and recovery. The best time to spay is, therefore, between 4-6 months.
How Spaying May Affect Your Dog’s Health
Some health benefits can help you decide whether or not you want to spay your Yorkie. The most significant change is in your dog’s ability to mate and get pregnant. This is a more permanent and reliable way for you to ensure that your dog doesn’t get pregnant. You also prevent many reproductive cancers, and by removing hormone-producing glands, you reduce your dog’s aggression.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll enjoy: Get Ready for Traveling with your Yorkie
Do Yorkies Experience Menopause?
A fun fact about a dog’s reproductive system is that it generally never stops. Unlike humans, a dog’s ability to procreate doesn’t have an age limit. So no, Yorkies do not undergo menopause.