Female dogs will have their first estrous or heat cycle as early as 6 months old. She may have two heats each year. Her first one may be scary for you and her. As her owner, you will need to comfort and protect her. The cycle will last about 18-24 days. She can become pregnant during this time, so if you are not ready for her to have a litter of puppies, take special precautions during this time.
Watch for signs that your female puppy is about to experience her first estrous. A swollen genital area and blood leaking from her vagina will likely be the first sign, according to Web Vet.
Place protective panties on your female puppy during her estrous. You can obtain the protective panties at a pet store. This will protect your floor and rugs from possible blood stains. Also, she will be able to walk around the home freely without having to be confined to her to a crate or one room in the house.
Speak calmly and soothingly to her. A puppy in heat may be anxious. Do not excite her. Give her gentle massages behind the ears, tummy rubs and brush her coat to relax her.
Keep a close watch over your female puppy. Male dogs will be attracted to her scent and will seek her out. Keep the gate closed, go outside with her while she relieves herself, and do not leave her unattended. Male dogs may jump fences to mate with her.