How to Calm a Male Dog When a Female Is in Heat

If you have both a male and female dog in your home, your male dog is going to lose his little puppy mind when your female goes into heat. You may find your male dog whining all the time, becoming a bit aggressive, and frequently getting agitated and antsy. These behaviors are perfectly normal when the urge to reproduce takes over, but that doesn't mean they're acceptable. Fortunately, there are ways to calm down your male dog.

tired sleeping labrador retriever dog puppy with cute nose
You need to calm your male dog when a female dog is in heat.
credit: manushot/iStock/GettyImages

Keep them separated

The simplest solution for keeping your male dog calm when your female goes into heat is separating them. The less exposure your male dog has to your female, the fewer opportunities he will have to bask in her pheromones and decide he's ready for action. Keep the dogs as far away from each other as you possibly can, housing them on separate floors or sides of the house.

You can also put some distance between your dogs by temporarily keeping the male in a safely fenced yard or outdoor kennel. If you go this route, make sure you put your male dog outside and keep the female indoors. A male dog can find a female in heat up to three miles away. If you put your female dog in the yard during her heat cycle, your property will attract tenacious male dogs determined to find a way to get to her.

If separating your dogs in your home isn't doing the trick, consider boarding one of them or sending your male dog to stay with a friend or family member. Rooming with a friend will be the least-expensive option and the most comfortable for your dog since your female's heat cycle may last up to three weeks.

Home remedies for a dog in heat

If separating your dogs proves difficult, try a doggie diaper. Readily available in pet stores, diapers collect any discharge from your female to keep her and your house clean. Collecting this discharge also helps to mask its smell, hopefully keeping your male dog calmer. Diapers also form a physical barrier that prevents mating should your dogs manage to get themselves in the same place at the same time.

It's also important to keep up with your housekeeping chores while your female is in heat. Any shared areas of the home or shared toys, blankets, or other items will carry your female's scent and arouse your male. You'll never eliminate the scent completely, but frequent cleaning helps minimize it.

Tire him out

Exercising your male dog rigorously and frequently can render him too tired to concern himself with your female dog's feminine wiles. Craft your workout plans carefully, however. If you plan to walk your male dog to tire him out, take a different route than you follow when walking your female dog. She will leave her hormones along any path she travels, so following her later with your male dog will cause more problems than it solves.

It may only take a lengthy game of fetch in the yard to exercise your male, but avoid places in the yard where your female has toileted or recently played. Play and exercise sessions with your male may work best on neutral territory, such as a local dog park.

Try odor maskers

If desired, you can try menthol sprays and other odor-masking agents to cover up the scent of a dog in heat. These sprays won't cover the scent completely, but they do reduce it and may calm your male. You might need to try multiple scents and formulas before you find one that works for your particular dog.

Consider spaying your dog

Spaying your dog prevents her from going into heat, thereby permanently solving the problem of what to do with your male when she enters her heat cycle. Spaying your dog before her first heat can also lengthen her life, reducing the risk of mammary and other types of cancers. At what age do dogs go into heat? Most have their first heat cycle at around six months of age and then go into heat once every six months thereafter.

If you wish to breed your female, you can opt to neuter your male dog rather than spaying your female. A neutered male won't notice her heat cycle the way an intact male will.