When a female dog is in heat, the smell travels. Every unneutered male dog in the vicinity is likely to visit, and your own male dogs may be at risk from dogfights. The best way to avoid these scenarios is to reduce the scent your bitch gives off. You will never be able to eliminate it completely, because the vomeronasal organ in dogs can detect the pheromones in the scent for many miles. However, you may be able to reduce its potency and fool the visitors into thinking the bitch is not on the premises.
A female dog in season has a bloody discharge, which can become quite messy. The discharge drips quite freely, and the smell sticks to the legs of the dog, her underbelly and her facial hair when she tries to clean herself. The first step towards reducing the scent is to keep her clean through frequent bathing. Wash her twice a day using a mild shampoo specially formulated for dogs, and ensure that you rinse her well to prevent skin irritation. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar to the final rinse water – it does wonders for her skin and coat, and will help to mask any smells with its own.
Keeping your house as clean as possible will help to prevent the smell from building up into a ripe scent that attracts other dogs. When you first discover that your dog has come into heat, clean the house thoroughly, using bleach or vinegar in the cleaning water for all hard surfaces and a carpet shampoo formulated to reduce pet odors. Clean her bedding too, because any droplets that have dried will leave a lasting smell in the bed, room and dog.
Varieties of fitted pants are available commercially for dogs to wear, either for incontinence or during their heat. They are washable and can be used with any self-adhesive sanitary napkin, or cotton facial pads for tiny dogs. Alternatively, fit your dog with a diaper for the duration of her heat, to avoid having her leave droplets of the discharge wherever she goes. Some products may contain a deodorizing agent to help reduce the odor.
Adding small quantities of liquid chlorophyll to your dog’s drinking water every day also helps to mask the odor contained in her urine, according to professional Great Dane breeder Linda Arndt. Chlorophyll is used generally to clean the dog’s internal systems and reduce odors, and the dosage is based on the size of the dog. It also helps to freshen the dog’s breath and most dogs accept it readily.
Many breeders recommend dabbing touches of camphor, eucalyptus or wintergreen on the dog’s coat and around its tail area. Products, such as Vicks Vaporub, for example, contain quantities of these substances in a petroleum jelly base and have a strong scent. The product can be toxic if ingested, however, so you need to apply it in areas where the dog is unable to reach to lick it off. Additional commercially available spray products also can be used around the house and on the dog to help cover the scent for other dogs.