If you’re waiting for your Yorkie to go into their first heat it can certainly be worrying. Just like so many other owners you likely have a lot of questions about this!
Don’t worry, I’ve been there myself dozens of times and over the years have learned a thing or two about this process.
This article will act as your complete guide answering all your questions about Yorkies going into heat. Let’s get into it!
Yorkies typically go into heat between 5-12 months of age, with 10-12 months being the most common time. Keep in mind, this timeline is not strict and on some occasions, a Yorkie may not go into heat until 15 months.
When Do Yorkies Get Their First Heat?
The majority of Yorkshire Terriers will get their first heat sometime between 5 and 12 months of age. The most common time is between 10 and 12 months.
However, It’s certainly possible that your Yorkie doesn’t stick to these time frames. Some Yorkies get their heat earlier than usual at 4 months, and others later than usual up to 15 months.
If your Yorkie hasn’t had her first heat by 15 months it’s advised to schedule a vet appointment for a general health check. Getting her period late isn’t always a cause for concern, but it’s best to have a health check-up regardless.
Signs Your Yorkie Is Entering Heat
So the all-important question is how do you know exactly when your Yorkie is going into heat…?
Thankfully there are several signs to be on the lookout for. Please note, some Yorkies will demonstrate certain signs more than others, so it’s important not to get fixated on spotting a particular sign.
Signs your Yorkie is entering heat:
- Swelling of the Vulva
- Tail tucking
- Blood spots or discharge
- Unusual changes in behavior/mood
- Paying extra attention to her genitals
- Aggression towards male dogs
Once again, all Yorkies will vary in what signs they display, so it’s best to be on the lookout for all of them!
How Long Are Yorkies In Heat/Season For?
On average, the overall heat cycle in Yorkies lasts for 3 weeks.
Before your Yorkie establishes a regular pattern, each heat cycle might vary and be unpredictable in length.
3 weeks is just the average, for some, it may be a few days shorter or longer than 3 weeks.
How Often Do Yorkies Go Into Heat?
Yorkies typically experience two heat cycles per year. Roughly one every six months.
Keep in mind, however, it can take 3 or 4 heat cycles (about 2 years) before a regular pattern is established. Until then, heat cycles may not come exactly every six months.
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Yorkie Heat Cycle Stages Explained
For owners to truly understand their Yorkie’s heat cycle, it’s crucial to learn about each stage and what it means.
There are four stages to each heat cycle. Let’s explain each one below.
The first stage is known as Proestrus. This stage last for around 7-9 days and is when your Yorkie’s body is preparing to be fertile. During this stage, she will NOT be fertile and will want nothing to do with male dogs.
Signs of Proestrus:
- Swelling of vulva
- Blood spots
- Tail tucking
- Unusual behavior/mood swings
- Changes in appetite
- Aggression towards males
Any one of these signs may happen so be sure to remember all of them.
The second stage is called Estrus. This is perhaps the most notable stage of any heat cycle. Your Yorkie will be FERTILE and capable of conceiving. This stage lasts for another 7-9 days on average.
During this stage, your Yorkie will likely accept an intact male, and may even take it upon herself to seek a partner. More on this later.
Signs of Estrus:
- Swollen Vulva
- Presented Vulva (tail to the side)
- Flirtatious behavior around male dogs
- Blood spots becomes watery (meaning fertile)
- Change in appetite, behavior, mood swings
- Aggression towards female dogs
The third stage is called Dietstrus. This is the stage when your Yorkie’s body starts returning back to normal. It lasts for another 7-9 days, and by the end, your Yorkie will be completely “normal” again.
If your Yorkie mates and conceives during Estrus, her body will remain in Diestrus for the duration of the pregnancy (60-70 days).
Signs of Diestrus:
- Vulva returning to normal size
- Blood spots or discharge slowing to a stop
- Behavior stabilizing
Anestrus is the final stage and is considered the resting phase. Technically, your Yorkie remains in Anestrus until her next heat cycle begins in about six months time.
Nothing happens in Anestrus.
Caring For Yorkies In Heat: General Advice & Tips
So what should you expect when your Yorkie goes into heat? What will happen? Do you need to do anything? These concerns will all be answered below.
1. Be ready for extra mess
Let’s get the simple one out of the way. There is no avoiding it, there will be extra mess for owners to clean up! With blood spots and potential discharge, it’s important that your cleaning game is at an all-time high.
Your two best friends during this time will be spare towels and dog-friendly disinfectant. You’ll need plenty of both. Lay as many towels down as you can in the areas your Yorkie resides the most.
It’s particularly important to wash her bed every other day. Her bed will be a breeding ground for bacteria, so to prevent possible skin irritation, keep her bed as clean as possible.
2. Be ready for weird behavior and mood swings
It’s true, your Yorkie will act quite weird during heat. Not even she will know how she feels… One moment she’ll be super attentive and endearing, and the next she’ll be cold and distant.
As the hormones fluctuate throughout her heat cycle, it’s normal to experience quick changes in mood and temperament. The best thing we can do is understand that any unusual behavior is only temporary and will pass.
It’s a good idea to inform the rest of the family that this is totally expected. Never get frustrated or short with your Yorkie if she’s acting up during heat. Try to be extra tolerant of bad behavior, and be supportive of her when she wants attention.
3. Avoid interactions with other dogs
It’s almost never recommended to avoid interactions with other dogs as socialization is so important! But for dogs during heat, it’s both necessary and important.
During the first stage (Proestrus) your Yorkie will want nothing to do with most dogs, especially male dogs. If any come close it will often result in fighting which could prove to be a disaster.
During the second stage (Estrus) the risk is even greater. Not only is she capable of mating with any intact male (which can happen quickly while out on a walk) but she’ll also be aggressive towards most females.
4. Exercise at home
The answer to the advice above is to exercise your Yorkie at home for a few weeks. If this can be managed with medium and large dogs, it should be possible with a cute little Yorkie!
This will mean using your yard to play fetch, train, chase, or grab a flirt pole if you want to make things really exciting.
If you don’t have a yard or just want to continue taking your Yorkie outside in public, that’s fine, just choose times and locations carefully to avoid other dogs wherever possible.
5. Keep her on the leash
Regardless of whether you continue going outside or just use your yard, it’s important to keep her on the leash (especially if your yard is not escape-proof).
First of all, it’s worth making your yard secure… This will stop wondering male dogs trying to get into your yard, and it will stop your Yorkie from trying to escape once she’s in Estrus.
Yep, female dogs often take it upon themselves to find a partner during Estrus, which could mean escaping. It sounds dramatic, but this has happened so many times before.
6. Be ready to handle food refusal
Just as her behavior might change, so too will her appetite and sleeping habits. Sleeping issues will fix themselves, but if she starts refusing food, it helps to be ready and know what to do.
You can make her kibble instantly more appealing by making it wet, adding in a small amount of wet dog food, adding dog food toppers, or pouring a little meat broth over it.
Only try one of these at a time, and be sure to keep an eye on the calories. You don’t want to be adding too many calories (ideally nothing extra).
It’s always important our dogs eat their meals, so it helps to be ready in case she starts leaving food.
7. Consider a health check up after her first heat cycle
When she has finished her heat cycle (or at least you think she has) it might be worth scheduling a precautionary vet check-up.
While not all owners do this, I’ve always done it and think it’s a good idea. There are a few known health complications that could happen after the heat cycle.
Although these are extremely rare, it helps to have a vet give your Yorkie the once over, ensuring she is in good health after her heat.
This is probably a good time to have another check-up anyway, just to ensure she’s growing as she should. Your vet would also be able to give you some advice on switching over to adult dog food, which won’t be too far away at that point.
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Do You Need To Do Anything Else?
Nope! that’s it…
As long as you are there to support her when she needs it, and avoid dangerous situations with other dogs, the rest will take of itself.
After all, dogs were handling this biological situation themselves for thousands of years in the wild without us. So most of the time, they’re just fine!
Your Yorkie will come out the other side mature, sensible, well behaved, and better prepared to handle the next one.
Thank you for reading! Back to more Yorkie articles