Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

How to Calm a Male Dog When a Female is In Heat (4 Methods)

Kristin Hitchcock

May 21, 2021

If your female dog is not fixed, they will eventually go into heat. When this happens, they become fertile. To maximize their chance of becoming pregnant, several biological and behavioral changes occur.

Many of these changes are designed to entice the male, which can make them act a bit bonkers. If you have a male and female dog in your home, the female going into heat can completely throw off the male dog. Some males will do absolutely anything to get to the females. Even previously, very well-behaved males can become quite erratic.

There is nothing you can do to prevent this besides getting the female spayed. However, there are a few things that can make this time a bit more comfortable for everyone.

divider-dog paw

1. Separate the Dogs

dog walking

This should be done to prevent unwanted pregnancy. An intact male should never be around a female      that is in heat unless you plan on having puppies. The dogs should be separated by something reasonably substantial to keep them apart. A baby gate will usually not work in this instance, even if your dog’s stay behind it most of the time.

It is best to put your dogs in separate spaces and keep them there until the female’s cycle is over. Switching them between areas may work. However, this increases the odds of them being exposed to each other. The female’s scent will also be spread into a wider area, which will drive the male crazy. Your best bet is to keep them on separate sides of the house, if possible.

If you can manage it, having a family member take your male dog for the time being is your best option. This is probably the best solution but is understandably not available to everyone.


2. Hide the Female’s Scent

dog with diaper
Image Credit: Zmaj88, Shutterstock

Females that are in heat smell – it is how they attract a mate. Even if you can’t smell it, the male dog likely can. Do your best to keep the female’s scent under control while they are in heat. This involves cleaning their living area more than you would otherwise. Cleaning with vinegar is often the best option since it overpowers the smell for the most part.

You can also bathe your dog more often with a mild shampoo. You shouldn’t do this to the point that you dry out their skin, but a few extra baths over the week or two they’re in heat can make a big difference. Adding a splash of apple cider vinegar to the bathwater will also help mask the scent.

You can also put a doggy diaper on your female. This will help mask the scent quite a bit and adds a physical barrier should your dogs manage to get together despite your best efforts.


3. Exercise

dog with leash exercise

Get your male dog out of the house as much as possible. Go on walks and make them tired. A tired dog is often a good dog – even when there is a female in heat. It will also give your male dog a break for them temptation of the female dog.

You should not take your female on walks during this time. The last thing you need is for the neighbor’s male dog escaping and showing up at your house. Keep her inside as much as possible, but remember to play with her as well.


4. Try a Menthol Spray

They make menthol sprays that help mask a dog’s smell while in heat. These sprays can overpower your female’s scent and calm your male considerably.

Technically, you’re supposed to spray these on your female. However, we recommend using these sprays on both of your dogs. After all, your male won’t be able to smell your female if he smells like menthol too.

You can often use these sprays multiple times a day as needed. Be sure to follow the directions for whichever spray you’re using. You can even use sprays made for humans, such as Vicks VapoRub. However, be sure that your dogs don’t lick it off, as large amounts can be toxic.


Featured Image Credit: Annadudkova, Unsplash

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!

Did you know: an average of 18 dog foods are recalled every year?

Get FREE Dog Food Recall Alerts by email whenever there's a recall.