If your Pomeranian is a female who has not been desexed, you’ll need to learn facts about the heat cycle. Pomeranians do have a bloody discharge. Although the discharge isn’t as pronounced compared to bigger breeds, there will also be some physical and behavioural changes due to fluctuating hormones. First Heat. You want your pet spayed before her initial cycle as this could happen as early as five months of age. However, the normal range for a first heat is between six – nine months. In rarer cases, she may be late in blossoming and can be one year old plus before it happens. Sometimes your Pom exhibits signs before her cycle. These signs can happen from one day to one week prior to the heat kicking in. If you have no idea what to look for, it’s easy to miss them: • A full or slightly swollen vulva. • Enlarged mammary glands. • You would be likely to know your Pom has a flat, pink belly. However, when she’s in heat, teats may swell and appear darker coloured. Full heat. Once your Pom is completely in heat, the signs are very obvious: • A vulva can swell up to three times its regular size. • Teats are clearly visible. • A pale pink discharge at the start of the heat. As the cycle progresses this discharge darkens to a deep red colour and then the colour of the discharge lightens and her vulva will appear very swollen. This is usually where the Pom’s ability to be impregnated is at its highest point. When her bleeding has ceased, she can still remain in heat for up to a week so you need to take precautions to avoid a pregnancy that’s not planned. There can be behavioural changes: • She may start humping because it’s a strong urge and then she’ll hump inanimate objects or other dogs. • Your Pom may lick all over herself at times. This is known as self-grooming. • Your dog may demonstrate nesting-type behaviours. This may include: gathering toys and food and other things she finds and putting them away in a safe area. • Your Pom may crave extra attention or may have the desire to be alone in isolation. Studies haven’t officially verified that a dog either does or doesn’t feel pain and/or discomfort during this time. However, scientists know that when the uterus lining is shed, it contracts (similar to the way it does in female humans) and so they theorise that there would probably be some degree of discomfort. Apart from nesting, this could be a reason why your Pom in heat wants to rest and be on her own more than usual and is also less playful. How long does it last? You can’t say with certainty that dogs go through heat cycles twice annually because the actual cycle length can vary enormously. On average, it will last for three weeks. However, it may last between two and four weeks and still be regarded as normal. The heat cycle occurs between 5.5 and 8 months so it can happen twice or three times per year. If your Pom’s first cycle is in January and her second one is in July, the next one after that would be the following January if the cycles occurred every six months. That means she has two cycles each year. When calculating the time between cycles, you start from the first day of the cycle until the first day of the second cycle. Her ability to conceive. It’s strongly advised to avoid breeding a female younger than two years of age. However, the AKC will accept litters from female Poms that are age 8 months and 12 year. The vital thing to be aware of is that a female Pom will emit a specific scent that male dogs quickly take notice of…and not only those dogs in close proximity. It’s believed that males who are not neutered will sniff out the female’s unique scent from as far away as 4.82 kms. Because of this, it’s crucial to protect your female Pom from male dogs. Never have a play date with an un-neutered male dog. You should avoid all dog parks and any other places where male dogs may be found. Each time your pet urinates, there will be a small amount of blood that’s also excreted and that contains a heavy scent that can linger for longer. Remember this whenever you take your dog outside to attend to her toilet needs. A male dog could be wandering the area anticipating your dog’s next visit. Never underestimate the urges and desires of a dog who hasn’t been neutered, regardless of size or breed. If you’re outside with your dog and a male approaches, pick her up and take her back into your home or car. You should have a fenced-in safe, back yard for your dog to play in and be exercised. If she is taken anywhere else, always have her on a leash and harness. Split heat. This problem isn’t uncommon and generally it happens to younger Poms or much older dogs. When it does happen, you may think she’s going through her cycle but it will only has 4-5 days and then stop. In 3-4 weeks’ time, she has a full blown heat cycle. It’s rare for the Pom to conceive during the first false heat. In the majority of cases, if a split heat only happens once or twice, medical intervention isn’t needed. However, if the problem persists, take her to the vet for a full check-up so the vet can rule out hypothyroidism and other conditions. Red flags – finding lumps during or after the end of a heat cycle. If you see lumps appear on your Pom’s nipple area during a cycle or after it has finished (in the dog’s mammary area around her teats), it’s a strong indication of the existence of mammary gland hyperplasia. This is where there’s too much growth of mammary epithelial cells. These cells are benign cancers. In breast cancer, the cells are actually malignant. There’s only one way to decide if the lumps are cancerous or non-cancerous and that’s to operate and remove all lumps so they can be examined. As an example, your Pom may have five lumps removed and tested. One may be malignant and the other four are benign. 50% of tumours in Pomeranians are diagnosed as malignant so it’s critical that you pay attention to any lumps that may appear on your Pomeranian’s nipples at any time, especially after a cycle because that’s when they’re the most obvious. In an ideal world, you should give your Pom whatever she wants (apart from letting her mate, of course). If she becomes moody and wants to be left alone, then leave her alone. Many owners love having a doggie bed in a quiet corner of the room where people are active. She’ll be happy that she has human company but she isn’t close enough to be annoyed. If she demonstrates nesting behaviours, let her collect her toys . Your Pomeranian may have a small amount of discharge and it’s common for owners to put a doggie diaper on their pet. This helps avoid constantly having to clean the furniture, mop the floor and washing the cushions if there’s any blood or discharge. Spaying. If you spay your Pomeranian, you’ll stop her cycles from happening. Some people say spaying isn’t wise but there are numerous benefits that literally help your dog live longer. Spaying reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancers and the sooner you get her spayed, the greater her chances are that cancer won’t occur. Your Pom shouldn’t be spayed during or soon after her cycle. It needs to happen around the six week mark from the last day of a cycle. Caring, responsible pet owners will have this procedure done prior to the start of their Pomeranian’s first heat and research has shown that spaying your Pom can possibly stop future health problems from happening. Menopause. Dogs don’t stop having their cycles when they become seniors. The length and duration may be lower and longer. If a Pom isn’t spayed, she’ll stay fertile during most of her life. Copyright Pomeranian.org. All Rights Reserved.