Shih Tzu’s First Heat Cycle: All You Need To Know

Discover everything you need to know about your Shih Tzu’s First Heat Cycle with this all-inclusive guide for beginners. We’ve got you covered – from recognizing signs to providing essential care advice. Gain insights into the various stages, maintain optimal hygiene, and guarantee the well-being of your beloved Shih Tzu throughout this critical phase. With our comprehensive resource, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate your Shih Tzu’s first heat cycle confidently.

Shih Tzu's First Heat Cycle

Shih Tzu’s First Heat Cycle – Signs and Caring Tips

*Understanding the Heat Cycle

Shih Tzu’s first heat cycle, also referred to as estrus, stands as a significant milestone in her journey. This marks the point when she reaches sexual maturity and gains the ability to reproduce. Generally falling within the six to twelve-month range, the specific timing can vary from one dog to another. The cycle unfolds across four distinct stages: proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus.

Proestrus: The outset stage witnesses your Shih Tzu’s body commencing preparations for the reproductive process. This phase typically extends for approximately 9 days, during which slight swelling and a bloody discharge may become noticeable.

Estrus: A pivotal period follows, during which your Shih Tzu becomes fertile and open to advances from male dogs. Typically spanning around 9 days, although this duration can vary, this time might bring about shifts in behavior and a more pronounced discharge.

Diestrus: In case of successful mating, this stage signifies pregnancy. Otherwise, your Shih Tzu could experience a “false pregnancy,” potentially resulting in behavioral shifts and even milk production.

Anestrus: This acts as the interlude, the phase of rest between cycles. It is the lengthiest stage, spanning several months before the cycle starts again.

*Signs of a Heat Cycle in Shih Tzu

When it comes to understanding your Shih Tzu’s first heat cycle, there are several telltale signs to keep an eye out for. These indicators provide valuable insights into your Shih Tzu’s reproductive stage while allowing you to provide the care she needs.

Swelling: The vulva’s swelling stands out as an initial sign, signaling the onset of proestrus – the first phase of the heat cycle. This swelling is nature’s way of letting you know that changes are happening internally.

Discharge: Natural occurrence that might catch your attention. During both the proestrus and estrus stages, a bloody discharge is commonly observed. While it might seem alarming, rest assured, it’s part of the cycle and indicates that your Shih Tzu is progressing through her reproductive cycle.

Behavioral Changes: Behavioral changes are par for the course during this time. Your usually sweet and composed Shih Tzu might display more affection than usual, seeking your attention and comfort. On the flip side, irritability might also be on the menu, a result of hormonal fluctuations. Additionally, increased marking and a newfound attraction to male dogs could be noticed, as your pup’s instincts kick in.

Frequent Urination: Another change to be aware of is frequent urination. Your Shih Tzu might start to urinate more frequently than usual. This behavior serves a purpose beyond just the need to relieve herself – it’s all about leaving scent markings that act as invitations for potential mates. So, if you find yourself taking more trips outdoors for bathroom breaks, it’s just a sign that Mother Nature is at work.

*Caring Shih Tzu Throughout Her Heat Cycle

Ensuring utmost comfort and safety during Shih Tzu’s first heat cycle demands thoughtful care. Here’s your action plan:

Hygiene: Prioritize cleanliness by gently tending to any discharge. To handle the situation, consider utilizing doggie diapers or reusable cloth pads, offering a practical approach to managing potential messes.

Supervision: If breeding isn’t in your plans, it’s advisable to keep your Shih Tzu indoors when the estrus stage emerges. This precautionary measure effectively wards off any unwanted mating encounters.

Exercise: While maintaining your regular exercise routine, it’s wise to adjust your outdoor activities. Steer clear of dog parks and areas where unneutered male dogs might be present. This safeguard ensures your Shih Tzu’s interactions remain controlled and safe.

Diet: Sustain your Shih Tzu’s balanced diet, but keep a watchful eye on her weight. Hormonal shifts can influence her appetite, so it’s essential to strike a balance between nutritional intake and weight management.

Vet Visits: Making regular appointments with your veterinarian holds paramount importance during this phase. These check-ups serve as crucial checkpoints to guarantee your dog’s well-being. If the decision to not breed your Shih Tzu is final, seize the opportunity to discuss potential spaying options with your vet. This proactive conversation enables you to make informed choices aligned with your pet’s health and future.


Grasping and effectively handling your Shih Tzu’s inaugural heat cycle stands crucial in the realm of responsible pet guardianship. By keenly noting her cues and offering fitting nurture, you guarantee her ease and health throughout this pivotal phase. It’s vital to recognize the individuality of each dog, so maintain close vigilance over your Shih Tzu and seek tailored guidance from your vet.

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At what age do Shih Tzu dogs menstruate?

Shih Tzu dogs typically begin menstruating, or experiencing their first heat cycle, between 6 to 12 months of age. It varies based on the individual dog's development.

Why is my Shih Tzu not eating during her heat cycle?

It is common for Shih Tzu’s to have reduced appetite during their heat cycle due to hormonal changes. If this persists, consult a vet to ensure her well-being and discuss dietary adjustments.

Why does a Shih Tzu's behavior change during heat?

Shih Tzu's behavior changes during heat due to hormonal fluctuations. Increased restlessness, mood swings, and attraction to male dogs are common. Provide extra care and attention during this phase.

How much shih Tzu can bleed during menstruation?

The amount of bleeding a Shih Tzu experiences during menstruation can vary. It's typically “ight to moderate”. Light to moderate bleeding refers to a discharge that's not excessive but noticeable. It might resemble spotting or a light flow in comparison to a heavy flow. If the bleeding seems unusually heavy, it's advisable to consult a vet for further guidance.

What are the stages of a Shih Tzu heat cycle?

A Shih Tzu's heat cycle generally consists of four stages: proestrus (preparation), estrus (fertile period), diestrus (after mating), and anestrus (resting phase).

Shih Tzu heat cycle chart

Proestrus: Around 7-10 days. Vaginal bleeding begins, but mating isn't recommended. Estrus: About 5-10 days. Bleeding lessens, and she's fertile. Mating can occur if desired. Diestrus: Roughly 60 days or until pregnancy ends. False pregnancies are possible. Anestrus: Resting phase before the next cycle.

How do I know when my Shih Tzu's heat cycle is over?

You can tell when your Shih Tzu's heat cycle is over by observing changes in her behavior and discharge. When bleeding stops and she's no longer receptive to male dogs, it's a sign that her cycle has concluded.

How can I help my Shih Tzu during her first heat?

Supporting your Shih Tzu during her first heat involves careful attention. Keep her comfortable indoors, provide extra care, monitor changes, offer proper hygiene, and consult a vet for further guidance and advice.

What happens to a Shih Tzu's behavior post first heat?

After a Shih Tzu's first heat, her behavior often becomes more settled. Mood swings and attraction to males decrease as hormones stabilize, resulting in her returning to her typical demeanor.

Is the first heat of a Shih Tzu painful?

The first heat of a Shih Tzu is typically not painful. However, there might be mild discomfort due to hormonal changes. If you notice excessive pain, consult a vet for assessment.

How long does a Shih Tzu first heat last?

A Shih Tzu's first heat typically lasts around 2 to 3 weeks. This phase includes proestrus, estrus, and potential diestrus stages. Monitoring behavior and discharge helps gauge its duration.

What foods can I feed my Shih Tzu during her heat?

When it comes to nourishing your Shih Tzu during her heat, focus on balanced, nutrient-rich options. Opt for high-quality commercial dog food with lean proteins, whole grains, and vegetables. Homemade meals featuring cooked meats, rice, and veggies are also suitable. Prioritize hydration and consult your vet for personalized dietary recommendations that cater to her specific needs.

How many times does a Shih Tzu experience heat in a year?

A Shih Tzu typically experiences heat twice a year, although some variations can occur. This cycle involves stages like proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus,each lasting different durations.

Do Shih Tzu smell during their in heat cycle?

Yes, Shih Tzu dogs can produce a distinct odor when in heat. This scent is natural and part of their reproductive behavior, intended to attract male dogs during their fertile period.

Why is my Shih Tzu avoiding water during her heat?

A Shih Tzu might avoid water during her heat due to hormonal changes affecting her behavior. Increased restlessness and changes in thirst can contribute to this behavior. Monitor her hydration closely and consult a vet if concerned.

Can I give my Shih Tzu a bath while she's in heat?

Yes, you can give your Shih Tzu a bath while she's in heat, but it's advisable to avoid bathing during the active bleeding phase. Gentle bathing practices and consulting a vet are recommended.

Do Shih Tzu become hungrier when they're in heat?

Yes, Shih Tzu can become hungrier during their heat due to hormonal changes. It's important to monitor their increased appetite and adjust their diet to maintain their health.

Do Shih Tzu drinks more water when in heat?

Yes, Shih Tzu may drink more water when in heat due to hormonal changes and increased body temperature. Monitoring their hydration and offering access to clean water is essential.

How do I calm my shih Tzu during her heat cycle?

Calm your Shih Tzu during her heat cycle by providing a quiet and comfortable space, engaging in gentle activities, using calming techniques, and consulting your vet for additional advice if needed.

Do Shih Tzu tend to show aggression while in their heat cycle?

Yes, Shih Tzu may display heightened aggression during their heat cycle due to hormonal changes. Supervision, training, and providing a calm environment help manage their behavior effectively.

How to clean a Shih Tzus private area when in heat?

To clean a Shih Tzu's private area during heat, use a gentle approach. Wipe with a damp cloth or unscented baby wipes, moving carefully from front to back. Avoid irritation and consult a vet if needed.

Should I let my Shih Tzu lick herself in heat?

Allowing your Shih Tzu to lick herself during heat is generally fine, but excessive licking can lead to irritation. Monitoring her and providing distractions when necessary helps maintain her comfort and health.

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