Yorkies are adorable, bold, and intelligent, but, as a new Yorkie parent, you may find it confusing to understand their heat cycle or know what signs to look out for when your puppy is in heat. One of the common questions is how long do Yorkies stay in heat?
A Yorkie can stay in heat for 2-4 weeks, but this depends on your dog’s health condition and age. Mature female Yorkies can have a cycle that lasts up to five months and go through more cycles per year. Yorkies may exhibit nesting behaviors, experience an appetite change, or be irritable during this period.
Handling Yorkies in heat can be difficult as some may become aggressive and stubborn. Read on to learn more about what the heat cycle entails, signs of a Yorkie in heat, and if it’s possible to breed your Yorkie in her first heat cycle.
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What is a Yorkie Heat Cycle, and How Long Does Each Heat Cycle Last?
A Yorkie heat cycle is the reproductive cycle of the dog. It’s a phase in which the dog has increased estrogen levels. As a result, Yorkies in this cycle are likely to conceive when bred.
Yorkies start their heat cycles around 10-12 months. However, like humans, each dog is different, which means some may have their cycles either earlier or later.
The Yorkie heat cycle has four stages that recur every 5-6 months, but also remember that the cycles could vary depending on the Yorkie’s age. Younger Yorkies go into heat more often and may get into heat three times a year.
Stages of a Yorkie heat cycle include:
- Proestrus stage: The Proestrus stage is the first stage that lasts up to 10 days. During this stage, the Yorkie will have a bloody discharge, and the vulva will be darker. The discharge will be thick and later watery. You’ll notice the Yorkie will keep her tail down and won’t have any desire to breed.
- Estrus stage: The second stage is referred to as Estrus and can last up to four days. There will be reduced discharge, and the vulva will be soft and large. At this stage, the female is most fertile and will be receptive to a male’s advances.
- Diestrus stage: At this third stage, the discharge disappears, hormones balance, and the vulva swelling reduces. This stage can last about 60 days or until the Yorkie gives birth.
- Anestrus stage: The fourth and final stage can last up to 90 days, and it’s the time between the end of the third stage and the beginning of the first stage.
How Long Will the Yorkie Stay in Heat?
A Yorkie in heat means that your pup is sexually mature and can breed.
On average, a Yorkie stays in heat for two to four weeks. Factors like age and health conditions may affect any given stage of the heat cycle.
Older Yorkies may have one heat cycle per year, but younger dogs may have up to three heat cycles in a year.
Health conditions like hormonal imbalance and obesity can also affect a Yorkie’s heat cycle.
Signs of a Yorkie in Heat
Telling when a Yorkie is in heat can be challenging for a new Yorkie owner. However, knowing the symptoms and signs can help you better prepare yourself and understand how to handle the Yorkie.
Some of the signs of a Yorkie in heat include:
A Yorkie may experience slight mood changes. For example, some dogs will want to retreat quite a bit, while others will be more clingy or aggressive. Behavioral changes are due to changes in hormone levels.
The Yorkie may have a slight bloody discharge with the color ranging from dark red to pink. It’s normal for the color to change over the heat cycle course.
- Appetite Change
General discomfort and hormonal changes can affect your Yorkie’s appetite. As a result, you’ll notice that the puppy may eat less or more than usual.
- Nesting Habit
Some Yorkies may begin nesting by placing certain items like toys into their resting area. Alternatively, the puppy may start to stockpile soft items. Nonetheless, this short-term nesting behavior is not typical in all Yorkies. It’s also normal for Yorkies to urinate frequently when in heat.
- Soft and Large Vulva
When a female Yorkie is in heat, her vulva swells and darkens. Yorkie owners should check the regular size of the vulva to recognize the change once the dog is getting into a heat cycle.
Caring For a Yorkie In Heat
Handling a Yorkie in heat can be challenging, especially if she’s experiencing mood changes. Now that you know some of the signs to look out for, here are some tips to help you care for your Yorkie and make her feel comfortable while in heat.
- Keep the Males Out
Female Yorkies in their first heat cycle may not be receptive to their male counterparts. Therefore, avoid all males if you don’t want her to mate.
Put her in an enclosed outdoor patio or inside the house until the cycle is complete.
- Contain the Yorkie
Some Yorkies can be aggressive and can end up damaging your rugs and furniture while they are in heat. If you can, keep the dog in a contained area for her comfort. Avoid any strenuous activity, but try to calm her by massage and brushing her hair.
Give the Yorkie a regular bath due to the discharge that may stick to the coat. You can also use dog wipes to clean the area.
Can I Breed My Yorkie in First Heat Cycle?
Although female Yorkies can get pregnant in their first heat cycle (6-9 months), it’s not advisable as they are not fully developed. Instead, wait until the Yorkie experiences the second heat cycle to breed.
If you wish to breed your Yorkie, you need to know when your dog is most fertile. That is between 10-14th day, also known as the Estrus stage.
A veterinarian can also perform specific tests to determine the right time to breed your Yorkie. He/she can carry out a serum progesterone test to measure progesterone levels in the blood. A vaginal smear test can also predict ovulation by checking the vaginal cell’s appearance.
What is Spaying?
Spaying is a surgery that involves the removal of both ovaries and uterus. Doing this can have its positives and downsides. (See the same advice for Poodles)
The procedure eliminates any chances of pregnancy and the heat cycle. Furthermore, it also gets rid of any symptoms associated with the heat cycle.
A study from the University of Georgia found that spayed female dogs lived 25% longer than unspayed dogs. Furthermore, they discovered that sterilization reduced the risk of death from trauma and infectious disease.
That shows that spaying has its benefits. Nonetheless, dogs are different, and you need to consult your vet for advice on how to handle your pup.
Can I Spay My Yorkie While in Heat?
Although you can spay your Yorkie while in heat, the procedure makes her prone to bleeding. In addition, she may experience other complications from the surgery.
Veterinarians recommend spaying your dog after the first heat cycle, which lowers the risk for possible complications.
Research done by vets at A&M University discovered that dogs sterilized before six months were likely to become infected with parvovirus compared to dogs sterilized when over one year old.
Yorkies’ heat cycle can be complicated to understand as a pet parent. Understanding how long Yorkies stay in heat and knowing the signs to look for can help you confidentially handle your dog and ensure she is comfortable during this natural process.