How to keep the house clean when my (spayed) dog's in heat?
November 11, 2012 6:48 AM   Subscribe

My female dog goes into heat twice a year (although SHE IS SPAYED - there is a weird medical reason she still has a "cycle"). Any novel suggestions for keeping her from bleeding unmitigated?

My female dog is 100% spayed (confirmed by a surgical examination after she mysteriously went into heat the first time), BUT she has an anomalous ovarian growth that is located in an atypical spot, and fed by several major blood supplies, making it VERY dangerous to operate on. So PLEASE don't advise me to simply spay my dog, as this has already been done, and given her unusual medical circumstances her going into heat is something we (human parents and dog) will likely be dealing with for life.

That being the reality of the situation, I am here to see if anyone has novel suggestions for preventing her from bleeding all over the house? I do not want to confine her to a crate or to a single room or anything like that. The heat typically lasts about 3 weeks and that would be cruel. However the problem is we have tried all assortment of diapers, Little Swimmers, cloth boxers with a pad, and doggie overalls. Most of these slip off easily without her deliberately trying (just from running around or jumping on and off the couch), and the more secure ones she eventually destroys when we're not looking. I really wish there was some kind of doggie tampon (I know, ew), but barring that, has anyone come across something unique to make heat time more sanitary? I have already invested a lot of money in internet products that have failed me, so I expect to see a lot of suggestions for what I've already tried, but on the off chance someone can suggest something I haven't thought of, I would be very grateful for your recommendations.
posted by Angel de Lune to Pets & Animals (18 answers total)
The Pill? It's not just for humans any more.
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:04 AM on November 11, 2012

Dammit. In the above linked article, a member of the research team says "The animals continue to cycle, so it will not yet be ideal for many pet owners." But that was 2008. Further research needed.
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:08 AM on November 11, 2012

Further research suggests you ask your vet about megestrol acetate, a.k.a. Ovaban. Wikipedia says side effects may include 'breakthrough bleeding', so presumably it suppresses other bleeding? And the other link seems to say you can use it to suppress your dog's cycles for perhaps as long as 18 months at a time, depending on your individual dog. (Nb I am not a vet, and you can probably make better sense of these links than I can.)
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:54 AM on November 11, 2012

Smaller, better dog panties. If she doesn't have a tail, or has a very short stub, that can make it harder to keep the dog's nethers safely contained. We've had good luck with our tailless bitch by double-bagging her -- one set of undies, done normally w/ a pad, and then an outer set of undies over that, put on upside-down. I think. I may have the tailhole-up/tailhole-down wrong.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:06 AM on November 11, 2012

How does she destroy the overalls? You could also add the Cone Collar of Shame to keep her from chewing on them/ripping them off (it seems harsh, but desperate times...).
posted by anaelith at 8:08 AM on November 11, 2012

When she destroys these articles of clothing, she rips them to shreds with her teeth. Unfortunately the Cone of Shame does seem the only cure for that...
posted by Angel de Lune at 8:36 AM on November 11, 2012

Have you thought of something like an unflatable collar Procollar. It seems like it would be much easier to wear than the stiff collars.
posted by Vaike at 9:15 AM on November 11, 2012

How big is your dog?
posted by dottiechang at 11:54 AM on November 11, 2012

She is almost 40 lbs.
posted by Angel de Lune at 12:01 PM on November 11, 2012

Racing greyhound females are put on a heat-cycle suppressing hormone while they're at the tracks, so yeah there is a thing for this.
posted by Lou Stuells at 12:19 PM on November 11, 2012

I assume you've tried some of the various dog diaper contraptions like the Pee Keeper or Tinkle Trousers?
posted by barnone at 12:21 PM on November 11, 2012

Yes Barnone, we have used these exact products. Our pooch acts all cool with wearing them until we go to sleep or leave the house or otherwise she escapes our notice, then they become expensive confetti!
posted by Angel de Lune at 12:29 PM on November 11, 2012

In that case, why not use those products combined with an e-collar? She'll get used to it fairly quickly and it won't hurt her. If you're in the same room, you can take it off, but you can also just keep it on for 3 weeks twice a year.

If they stay on otherwise, that seems like the easiest solution, no? Or am I missing something with the e-collar? They have soft cones (and another soft brand, neck brace style, and the inflatable donut) that are a bit more comfortable but my dog actually prefers the clear plastic ones - I think he likes having peripheral vision.

Keep her in the crate and have her wear the collar at night and when you're out. The crate can actually keep anxiety down and prevent her from having too much room to try to pull that thing off. It's 3 weeks twice a year - not the end of the world to do a bit of confinement and the e-collar. Make sure you keep up her exercise during this time.

Here's a DIY version you could try as well.
posted by barnone at 6:42 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Has your dog had an ovariohysterectomy, meaning that she had her ovaries and her uterus removed? Some vets simply remove the ovaries when they "spay" a dog. If your dog does not have a uterus, which is the hysterectomy part of the procedure, then she should not be bleeding regardless of whether or not she has ovarian remnants or whatever her ovarian anomaly is.
posted by little miss s at 7:07 PM on November 11, 2012

Supposedly they removed it all during the spay. I asked my vet that very question, i.e., what is there left over to bleed if it was all removed, and he says there always remains a uterine "stump" which is enough to allow the bleeding. I know human females who have had hysterectomies can experience that same phenomenon, and in their case they can cauterize the remaining tissue so it doesn't bleed. I mentioned it to my vet, but he made it sound like that's not a thing they do for dogs.

Also we have not utilized any kind of cone/inflatable collar yet.
posted by Angel de Lune at 8:06 PM on November 11, 2012

We have a couple of intact females (we show in conformation), and keeping things clean takes a bit of work.

Our girls are kennel-trained, so when they are in season (thankfully they only go in 1x/year) they spend most of their time in their crates. We bring them out (individually) for cuddle-sessions, walks, to go outside etc. - whenever they are in the house and loose, they wear the undies with a panty liner, and are supervised at all times.

I have never noticed any significant mess from them being in the crate all day - as gross as it sounds, they will keep themselves clean.
posted by PGWG at 7:41 AM on November 12, 2012

If you need to end up going with an e-collar, I recently found these, which are too cute.
posted by QuakerMel at 2:00 PM on November 13, 2012

Haha QuakerMel, love it!
posted by Angel de Lune at 2:22 PM on November 13, 2012

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