Last Updated on February 21, 2023 by The Puppy Mag
To calm some nerves, this article will answer ALL of your questions about your Havanese’s heat cycle with additional tips and advice.
I know it can be worrying when you start thinking about your Havanese going into heat. Been there myself!
There are so many questions to be asked and as owners, we want to know what to expect, if there’s anything we need to do, and quite a bit more…
When Do Havanese Go Into Heat/Season
Most Havanese go into heat between 6-10 months of age, but it’s essential to know this isn’t set in stone. Some Havanese may experience their first heat from as early as 4 months, and others as late as 15 months.
So although it can be a worrying and tense moment once your Havi reaches that 4-5 month mark, just keep in mind that she still may have a while to go!
The best thing is to be ready and attentive, which means knowing the signs! Let’s cover that now.
First Signs Your Havanese Is Going Into Heat
Thankfully, there are a handful of signs that you can watch out for indicating your Havanese is about to go into heat.
Common signs of heat:
● Swollen vulva
● Bleeding/blood spots
● Licking the genital area
● Increase in urination
● Change in eating habits/appetite
● Change in temperament (irritable)
● Change in energy and sleeping habits
● Holding her tail differently (tail tucking to start)
● Change of behavior around other dogs
Now it’s worth remembering that not all of these signs will show themselves.
Some Havanese may display certain signs more than others, so it’s a good idea not to get fixated on any one particular sign to be on the lookout for.
P.S This was a mistake I made! (I was constantly anticipating blood spots but in the end, she hardly bled at all. This is just how some dogs are)
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Havanese Heat Cycle Stages
If you really want to understand your Havanese’s heat cycles, you gotta know the four stages and what they mean. I’ll break each one down and keep it really simple.
The first stage of the heat cycle is called the Proestrus stage. This stage lasts around 8-10 days and the most important thing to know is that your Havanese is NOT fertile or willing to mate during this stage.
Because she isn’t fertile it means she won’t want anything to do with those pesky males. The trouble is that the males will know she’s entering into heat and try it on anyway… This is why it’s crucial to keep her away from all male dogs as it usually ends in a nasty fight.
Signs of the Proestrus stage:
● Tail tucking (covering vulva)
● Blood spots or discharge
● Swollen vulva
● Increased licking (genital interest)
● Changes in behavior
● Aggression towards male dogs
The second stage of the heat cycle is called the Estrus stage. This is the most notable stage of the heat cycle as it’s when your Havanese IS fertile and capable of being impregnated. This stage lasts for about another 8-10 days.
The crucial note about this stage is that she will be accepting of almost any male dog, and typically aggressive towards female dogs. In many cases, female dogs in Estrus even take it upon themselves to find a mating partner (even if that means escaping!) more on that later.
Signs of the Estrus stage:
● Tail held to the side or high (presenting vulva)
● Flirtatious behavior around male dogs
● Increased urination
● Discharge may change color or slow down
● Aggression towards female dogs
● Changes in behavior
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The third stage is called the Diestrus stage and is considered the transition stage back to normal. Phew! However, if your Havanese got impregnated during Estrus, then her body remains in this stage for 60-70 days until giving birth.
If she didn’t mate during Estrus, then her body will take about another 7 days to return back to normal.
Signs of Diestrus stage:
● Vulva will return to normal size
● Any bleeding or discharge will eventually stop
The final stage is called Anestrus and is considered the complete resting stage that your Havanese remains in until her next heat cycle begins in another 6 months or so.
How Long Are Havanese In Heat For?
Most Havanese will be in heat for around 3 weeks, sometimes a few days longer. This is mostly made up of the first two stages (proestrus and estrus), which can take around 8-10 days each.
I know, the quicker the better! Don’t worry, it goes quicker than you think.
Just remember that there’s no set-in-stone duration, and it varies slightly with every Havi.
How Often Do Havanese Go Into Heat?
Most Havanese have two yearly heat cycles, once every six months being the typical frequency. But yet again, it varies with every Havanese. Additionally, it can take a few heat cycles before a regular pattern is established.
Most smaller dogs like Havanese have two heat cycles per year, and once she has her second or third heat cycle, they become more predictable and established.
I thought after my girl had experienced her first cycle, it would be 6 months exactly until the next one, but that wasn’t the case until around the 3rd or 4th cycle. And that’s quite normal for many dogs.
Caring For a Havanese In Heat: Advice & Tips
To make this entire heat cycle thing a breeze, there are a few pieces of advice I can offer you. Admittedly the first time I handled it, I winged it, but the second time was much easier.
This is what I learned…
1. Be accepting of her change in behavior
I wish I knew this the first time around… Her behavior and mood will probably change quite a bit. Whether she becomes more needy, distant, irritable, or just isn’t the same, it can be worrying if you aren’t expecting it.
So my advice is to be ready for a change, and just know that it’s normal and temporary.
It’s equally important to inform everyone in the house that this will happen too.
The best way to help your Havanese is to be supportive when she needs it, and be ready to give her space and peace if she seeks it.
2. Limit her movement in the house
If you’re like me, I let my pooches go wherever they want, but when my girl’s in heat she stays in only two or three rooms.
First of all, this isn’t being mean. It’s necessary not only to keep an eye on her but for hygiene purposes too. With discharge and blood spots it’s really important to keep on top of cleaning to avoid excess bacteria throughout your house and limiting her movements is a very big help.
This doesn’t mean segregating her, after all, she may need more attention than ever right now. But by limiting the movement, it’s much easier to keep tabs on her and any mess that needs to be cleaned.
This brings me to the next tip
3. Old towels and pet-friendly cleaning products
Old bath towels are your best friend while she’s in heat. The advice is simple: Lay them everywhere, including her bed!
Having this extra layer is so helpful to protect your floors and her bed, and at the end of the day or every other day, the towels can easily be washed on high heat ready for use again.
Keeping her bed clean is really important as it can get particularly dirty and is prone to bacteria build-up with all the discharge and bleeding going on. It’s advised to wash her bed area at least every other day (whether this is towels, or the bed itself).
In addition to towels, stock up on plenty of pet-friendly cleaning products beforehand as you never know when her heat cycle might start.
4. Supervision outside is crucial!
There are no two ways about it, you’ll need to be on high alert whenever your Havanese is outside: In your own yard AND in public.
If you want to remain on the safe side, then exercise her in your own yard while she’s in heat (full 3 weeks). While some owners agree with this, others still go to the dog park (and that’s also fine, but it just increases the chance of a clash).
No matter what stage she is, her smell will attract males to her and if you’re at the dog park, it’s almost guaranteed to happen! This could lead to a fight that could have just been avoided altogether.
Additionally, when she becomes fertile she may even take it upon herself to find a mating partner, this could mean running away from you, or even escaping your own yard!
This is why I personally prefer to stay in my yard for the 3 weeks and use a leash, especially after the first week.
Whatever way you decide to handle this situation, she definitely shouldn’t be left alone outside.
5. Try hygiene pants
Hygiene pants are basically like doggy diapers.
Some Havanese will accept them, and others won’t. If yours hates them then don’t force her to wear them, but I definitely recommend trying them out!
For those that will happily trot around in these pants, your home and her immediate environment will remain cleaner. This is important for everyone in the house, including her.
6. Be ready to make her meals appetizing
Many dogs in heat experience a change in appetite which is mainly down to an overall change in their temperament and hormones.
If your Havi starts turning her nose up at her food, it helps to be ready with a couple of things to try…
The two best methods to get her eating again would be a little meat broth (ideally plain with no seasonings or salt) poured over her kibble OR you can try substituting a small amount of kibble for wet dog food (another instant win). These usually work, but only try one at a time.
Something to keep in mind is that while a change in appetite is to be expected, it is also a very common symptom of other underlying health issues. So with this said, if she continues to refuse food despite your efforts, and things just don’t seem right, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
7. Consider a vet appointment after her heat cycle
This one is totally up to you and optional, but to ensure everything is fine, you may want to consider a routine vet check-up after her heat cycle.
It could be a good idea to schedule basic bi-yearly routine appointments following every heat cycle.
The reason being is that there are few known health issues that can occur in female dogs after their heat, albeit very rare.
When Can Havanese Get Pregnant?
This is a surprisingly popular question with two answers: A technical answer, and a more responsible answer!
Technically, Havanese dogs can get pregnant from their very first heat cycle which means they could be as young as 4 months old (in rare cases). This, however, is not the recommended moment to breed a Havanese or any dog for that matter.
It’s best to wait until the 3rd or 4th heat cycle before breeding. This allows for the dog to mature properly both physically and mentally before taking on such a stressful task.
By waiting, the mother will be better prepared to raise the offspring and the chances of negative behavioral effects from giving birth are reduced. It’s not uncommon for female dogs that are bred very early to develop behavior issues later on in life.
Another crucial reason to wait is due to health complications. Whether you’re a professional breeder or not, the basic rules of responsible breeding apply to all of us.
Many underlying health issues do not present themselves in puppies until 1-2 years old, so if you breed a female too young, you may unknowingly be passing on hereditary health issues to the offspring. This is why it’s necessary to wait, and have further health tests to ensure the mother is healthy and suitable for breeding.
How Many Puppies Do Havanese Have?
The usual litter size for Havanese dogs is 2-5 puppies per litter. As Havanese are small dogs, they usually don’t have more than 5 puppies.
But like with most things, this varies! There are some reports of Havanese having as many as 9 puppies in a litter! What an overload of cuteness.
Thank you for reading!
I hope this has cleared up any worries and has been a useful resource! If I’ve missed any questions be sure to let me know!
For now, check out more Havanese articles here >>>