When Does Shih Tzu Go Into Heat? Know the signs!

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Just like us, humans, Shih Tzus have an entire reproductive cycle that should be monitored by their owners.

It is particularly important for dog owners who wish to breed a puppy.

A thorough knowledge of the process and how the mechanism works will simplify it for both parties.

Furthermore, the primary concern will always be the health and safety of the Shih Tzus.

The heat cycle is part of the reproductive process in female Shih Tzus.

This article will discuss the stages of a heat cycle and how to look after your young Shih Tzu during it.

The Shih Tzu Heat Cycle

Heat is the word used to refer to a female dog’s menstruation cycle. In this period, the dog is likely to experience some discharge.

Also, most importantly, this term tells us that a female can become pregnant at this time.

Some alternative ways of referring to the heat period in dogs are ‘entering into the season,’ ‘heat cycle,’ ‘heat season,’ and ‘estrus cycles.

Some of the most common symptoms that your female Shih Tzu is bound to experience during her cycle are in the following list:

  • A Swollen vulva
  • A minute amount of blood discharge
  • Male dogs showing interest in the female
  • Fatigue
  • Cramps
  • Discomfort
  • Restlessness
  • Mammary glands swelling
  • Frequent urination
  • Requiring regular vagina grooming
  • Alterations of mood
  • Paying more attention to male Shih Tzu dogs

When Does Shih Tzu Go Into Heat?

Tiny-sized dogs such as the Shih Tzu generally have their first heat earlier compared to others in the same category. Normally it happens between the young ages of 4 -7 months.

Interestingly it comes as a surprise to owners when their puppy enters her first cycle and they find out it’s a female.

Small dogs tend to experience this pattern relatively soon.

If you have a female Shih Tzu who is unsprayed and does not enter her first heat within a year, you should seek guidance from a veterinarian.

How Often Do Heat Cycles Occur?

With the Shih Tzu breed, you can expect them to have a heat cycle after every 4 – 8- months.

So on average, they experience heat 3 times each year. It is also crucial to keep in mind that even senior dogs can enter heat.

There generally is not a canine equivalent to menopause. You might notice a lighter discharge for senior dogs than when she was younger.

Additionally, the cycle might occur with greater time in between them. It is a prime reason why it is recommended to spray dogs since there is a chance for older dogs to become pregnant as well.

Stages of the Shih Tzu Heat Cycle

There are four stages of the Shih Tzu Heat Cycle, which comprise the following:

  1. Stage 1: Proestrus Stage
  2. Stage 2: Estrus Stage
  3. Stage 3: Diestrus Stage
  4. Stage 4: Anestrus Stage

There is no fertility in the first few days of stage one. However, it is better to remember that the male sperm can stay alive for multiple days inside the female.

In this case, it is critical to watch your Shih Tzu closely and pay attention to any signs or symptoms she may exhibit.

Consider purchasing a few appropriate-sized dog diapers or pants for dogs if you want to keep her safe from unwanted mating sessions.

Unexpected pregnancies can have a negative effect on the health of the Shih Tzu.

Additionally, the genetics of the Shih Tzu puppies will definitely be compromised.

Signs Your Shih Tzu Is In Heat

A few telltale signs will indicate when your Shih Tzu has entered her heating cycle. Initially, these signs might be difficult to spot, especially in case the discharge is light.

Over time, you will become used to knowing when your female doggy is beginning her cycle.

The most common signs of a Shih Tzus heat cycle are:

Swollen Vulva

The vulva of the Shih Tzu will beocme swollen. It might become 2 or 3 times bigger than its normal size. In this scenario, dog owners should take notice of what the vulva visualizes when the Shih Tzu is not in heat. This way, they will be able to tell the difference.


There will be discharge that varies between being light to moderate. In most circumstances, this might not be apparent and will be visible and challenging. Although in a matter of a few hours, this discharge will gather on the bedding and other places where the dog might be resting.

Color of The Discharge

The coloring will range from a whitish-pink to a read. This is a normal occurrence for dogs in heat. Their discharge tends to change color. It may begin with very light colors to dark ones. Although when the cycle is ending, it will lighten again.

Male Dogs Will Be More Interested In Her

Also, you might notice that male dogs will show more attention to the female dog in her cycle. Even the stray male dogs might hand around in your yard, trying to get close to her.

Male dogs that have not undergone the neutering will be able to identify females in heat from almost 3 miles away. As a few of these dogs might be quite bigger, you should keep the female in heat indoors as much as possible.

Shih Tzu In Heat: Important Things To Know

Shih Tzu In Heat: Important Things To Know

Your Shih Tzu in heat will show some slight changes in her mood. A few females will exhibit a nesting attitude.

They will start picking up the things that start placing them over to a doggie bed or any other of their favorite resting spots.

You can also expect your female Shih Tzu to become more receptive toward males and their attention.

When the female’s eggs are dropping and she is in a fertile place, she might want to “present” herself to the male dogs near her.

It is usually exhibited with the “flagging’ of the male. You might see your little Shih Tzu moving her tail from the side and showing her rump.

To manage this time in the doggy’s life there are a few things that you would want to do beforehand, as a precaution.

The first thing that you can do is put on a doggy diaper on your Shih Tzu.

Options available in the market The disposable diapers come in every size. The diapers are fairly easy to use and comfortable for your small dog.

Another option is washable diapers. They can be reused, which makes them budget-friendly.

Furthermore, you will also be reducing your carbon footprint by not polluting the environment too much.

You will have to wipe the genital areas off your schedule on a daily basis. You will also have to take care of the surrounding areas.

Spot cleaning your Shih Tzu Will ensure that Your house remains clean. You can easily use wipes to do this and stay ahead of the mess.

Also, make sure that you give the little puppy baths frequently. Normally you should give a bath to your dog after every three weeks.

However, there are numerous reasons why this might be a better period. You should invest in high-quality shampoos that are good for the coat of the dog, so a couple of extra baths, even during the Shih Tzus heat cycle, will not be an issue.

Tips For Managing A Shih Tzu’s Heat Cycle

As a dog owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your Shih Tzu is taken care of and well-rested when she is in heat. Here are a few care tips to help you during this period.

Hygiene and Cleanliness

The amount of discharge may seem like a little in the beginning. Over time it will accumulate, and you might not notice. It will result in the hair on the rump of your Shih Tzu sticking to one another.

The bloody discharge will then soak into the bedding, the furniture, and any other permeable surfaces that your Shih Tzu comes into contact with.

Keep Your Dog Safe.

There is always a possibility that a stray or neutered male dog might come close to your Shih Tzu when she is in heat. Male dogs can sense females in their cycle within 1 to 3 miles of their vicinity.

So for instance, even if for the most period you keep your Shih Tzu indoors if she got goes outside, even to pee, her scent will have been left there. This scent will send out extremely strong signals.

Males that are unfixed will be attracted to it.

They will be forced to follow that sent by every means possible.

Dogs have been observed to go to extreme lengths in these scenarios, for instance, jumping over fences, running across rivers, etc., to locate females in heat.

It is a crucial reason why it is suggested not to let your female Shih Tzus be a part of public areas, such as dog parks, when they are in heat.

To be safe when you take her outside to pee, you should look around the area first. During the night, you should bring a light with you. Also, use a harness and not a collar in case you have to swiftly draw her towards you to pick her up.

How Long Does Shih Tzus Stay In Heat?

How Long Does Shih Tzus Stay In Heat?

The length of the heat cycle is something a dog owner should be aware of. The average heat cycle lasts between 2 – 4 weeks. One might only be able to identify each and every sign for part of the period.

Although, even if there are no apparent signals at the start of the end of the cycle, a female still possesses the ability to be impregnated.

At What Age Can You Breed A Shih Tzu?

The recommended age for Shih Tzus to breed is at least 2 years as that is when the female dog will be physically mature with enough youthful flexibility left in her.

The accepted age to breed a Shih Tzu is between when they have their second heat and when they are seven years old. At one time, you can expect the Shih Tzu female to give birth to 3-4 puppies on average.

Concluding Remarks

This entire process may seem quite daunting, although it is easily manageable.

With the passage of time, owners become used to the routine of their Shih Tzus and are prepared for the heat cycle every 3 months or so.

It is a routine occurrence and a natural part of Shih Tzu’s life.

If and when you do decide to breed the Shih Tzu, be cautious of their health and involve a vet.

Professionals are adept at taking care of your little puppy from every angle and ensuring that they go through a safe pregnancy.

Shih Tzus love their owners and are highly dependent on them. So we are accountable for making them feel safe at all times.


I am the owner of Shihtzuadvice.com and the proud parent of two black and one gold Shih Tzu's. I belive that the Shih Tzu is the best all-around dog for anyone and want to share with you as much valuable knowledge as possible about this great breed!

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