If your Bichon Frise is not fixed then at some point you will deal with the process of heat. All unfixed female dogs go through heat, although they may go through it more or less often depending on their size and some other factors.
How often does a Bichon Frise go into heat? Bichon Frises generally go into heat about three times a year, although the exact frequency varies by dog. Keep an eye out for signs of heat like a swollen vulva, discharge, or excessive clinginess.
Here’s what you need to know about how often you can expect your Bichon Frise to go into heat, what you can do to predict it, and what are some ways to make it easier on you, your dog, and the rest of your household..
How Often Does a Bichon Frise go Into Heat?
Bichon Frise dogs go into heat about as often as other dogs their size. Large breed dogs go into heat less frequently, as infrequently as only once every 12 months.
By comparison, a small breed dog like the Bichon Frise may go into heat as much as three times a year. Exactly how often will depend on your Bichon’s size, age, and whether she has had puppies recently.
How Long After Having Puppies can a Bichon Frise go Into Heat?
Most of the time, your Bichon Frise will need about two months after they are done nursing puppies before they go into heat again. However, every dog is different, and some dogs will start a heat cycle sooner or later after having puppies.
It is very important that your dog not breed again so soon after having had puppies. Having puppies is very hard on a female dog’s body, and being asked to support puppies while they develop so soon after having weaned the last litter can have serious negative consequences for a female dog. Responsible breeders generally do not breed a dog more than once a year at most.
How Can You Tell That a Bichon Frise is Going Into Heat?
Predicting and recognizing a heat cycle is extremely important whether you want to breed your dog or keep her from getting pregnant. Keep in mind that when a female dog is going through heat, she will behave in new and often expected ways to find a male dog.
Male dogs will do just about anything they can to get to a female in heat. It is your responsibility to protect your dog from unintended pregnancies. Every year thousands of dogs are euthanized in America because they are born without being planned or wanted.
Pregnancy can be very hard on your dog’s body and may cause your Bichon Frise to experience medical issues that could have been prevented if they had not experienced pregnancy. Be sure that you are fully aware of what the signs of heat are in your Bichon Frise so that you can prevent unexpected pregnancies.
In small breeds like the Bichon, it can sometimes be challenging to toe the line between your dog being big enough to be spayed without having her go into her first heat cycle.
If you are a bit late and your dog enters a heat cycle, don’t panic. Just be sure that you can recognize the signs so that you can delay surgery until your dog’s heat cycle is over.
Every dog is a little bit different, but in general, the signs that your Bichon Frise is going into heat will be relatively consistent across dogs. Here are some things to look for so you can predict when your dog may be going into heat.
As your dog goes into heat, the vulva will appear larger-than-normal. Your dog may urinate more often and there will be a bloody discharge from the vagina. Behavior changes such as anxiety and being more clingy with people are perfectly normal.
After the first stage is complete, your Bichon Frise will be ready to breed. Vaginal discharge goes from bloody to clear or brownish. If there are male dogs around, your Bichon Frise will likely move her tail to the side to make yourself available to them.
Male dogs can smell the pheromones that your dog will be giving off for miles around. Female dogs may also smell the pheromones and show aggression. It is very important to protect your dog from all other dogs during this time.
Be sure that you are respectful of how intense this time can be. Male dogs will fight to the death over a female dog in heat, even if they were best of friends. Places that are typically considered secure, like your backyard, may be invaded by wandering dogs that have smelled your dog’s heat cycle.
This could be an extremely dangerous time for you and your dog, so it is very important that you take this time seriously and take steps to protect your Bichon Frise if she is in heat. Remember, these cycles can happen as many as three times a year, so be on guard against them.
Should You Spay Your Bichon Frise?
The vast majority of pet owners choose to have their Bichon Frise spayed. Dealing with heats several times of year is nobody’s idea of a fun pet experience. Unless your Bichon Frise is descended from champions or has done very well at dog shows, it is unlikely that their breeder will encourage you to keep them unspayed.
In fact, if you bought an AKC registered Bichon Frise, you probably bought with a pet contract that keeps you from being able to register your dog’s offspring with the AKC. It is in the best interests of most people to have their dog spayed.
Not spaying can lead to medical problems, even if you don’t breed. Even as soon as your dog’s first heat, they could experience a complication known as pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus.
If you see any pus-like discharge coming from your dog’s vulva, you will need to bring them to the emergency veterinarian immediately, as this can be a life-threatening situation. Not spaying has been tied to increased incidences of cancer and some other issues.
What Are The Downsides of Spaying My Bichon Frise?
The vast majority of people find more advantages than disadvantages in spaying their Bichon Frise. However, that said, there are a couple of potential downsides.
Naturally, you won’t be able to breed your dog if you decide to spay her. If your dog has champion lineages, you may regret the decision to spay, especially if by about three years of age she is has a gorgeous coat. Talk to your breeder about whether they believe your Bichon Frise will be a benefit to the breed by breeding.
As a rule, only dogs that do well in AKC shows and are cleared of all potential health problems are well-suited to breeding and adding to the population of dogs. However, there’s no going back, so it’s important to talk to your breeder and be sure that you really want to spay before you go forward with surgery.
Potential Health Consequences
There has been some evidence that early neutering can result in some issues like potential growth malformations in larger dogs such as golden retrievers. Spaying early may also be tied to an increased risk of cancer in adult dogs.
Studies have mostly been focused on large breed male dogs, so this may or may not apply to your Bichon Frise, but if you want to be as educated and thoughtful as possible about your decision, it may be worth talking to your veterinarian about the potential advantages of waiting until your dog is sexually and physically mature to spay.
Neutering or spaying changes the hormonal balance in your dog, which can lead to some behavior changes. Most people and their dogs seem to be much happier with behavior after a spay or neuter.
The sex hormones present before spay or neuter are most likely to make your dog want to fight, run away, or otherwise disobey you or get themselves into danger.
By contrast, once your dog is spayed or neutered, they will be free from these powerful urges to mate or fight, leaving them with more time to enjoy playing and living their happy lives.
What Should You do With Other Dogs When Your Bichon Frise Goes Into Heat?
If you decide to keep your Bichon Frise intact, you will have some problems to deal with every several months. Other dogs in your home, like any neighborhood dogs that may be around, will likely go crazy when your dog enters heat.
There is no point in trying to train your dog to behave differently. The powerful instincts that surround a dog in heat are likely to cause your male dogs to respond by trying to mate with them or cause female dogs to show aggression.
It doesn’t matter how well-trained they are or how well they typically get along. Therefore, you will need to completely separate your Bichon Frise from other dogs in the household when they go into heat.
In fact, many people find that they need to separate other dogs in the household from one another as well. Even if your other dogs are fixed or not going through heat currently, the pheromones in the air can cause all kinds of very strong reactions.
Aggression is likely to increase among dogs in your household, even if you keep the dog that is in heat in another room. You may find that you need to keep all the dogs in your home separated from one another or under close supervision until your dog has moved out of the heat cycle.
Thankfully, heat does not last long for most dogs, typically only a few days for each stage, so you won’t have to separate your dogs for very long.
Be Conscious of The Signs Of Heat
Your Bichon Frise going into heat is a very important time of their life. There are special risks associated with this time that first time dog owners are often unprepared for.
Knowing when your dog will go into heat and what are some indications that the process is beginning will help you to prepare and protect your Bichon Frise during this time.