Shih Tzu Heat Cycle: 5 Important Things to Know

The Heat Cycle Duration

Small breeds such as Shih Tzu dogs generally have their heat cycle earlier than other dog breeds. This begins between the age of four and seven months old, which is actually a surprise to many Shih Tzu owners since their Shih Tzus are still regarded as puppies during this time.

The Heat Cycle Duration

The estimated length of a Shih Tzu heat cycle is typically between twenty-three days or approximately two to four weeks, and it normally happens biannually. We suggest that you take note of the dates of the start and end of your dog’s heat cycle so you could observe its pattern. Even though you could not really predict the precise date of their succeeding heat cycles, you could use this information and data to track abnormalities that should be addressed to a vet.

Signs of a Shih Tzu Heat Cycle

Here are some common signs to know if your female Shih Tzu is in heat:

  • Her vulva might swell twice or even thrice its regular size.
  • There would be a discharge that ranges from light to moderate.
  • The color of their discharge could be from pinkish to red. Keep in mind that it is normal for the color of their discharge to vary during the heat cycle.

Mild mood changes would likewise be observed. The are some female Shih Tzus that would exhibit nesting tendencies, where they would move different items to their resting spot or crate. Others would be quiet or withdrawn. Look for abnormal behavioral changes.

Your Shih Tzu bitch might likewise present herself to male pooches, which is typically done by moving her tail to the side and presenting her rump to male dogs.

Male and Female Shih Tzus in Heat

Male Shih Tzus experience their heat cycle very much differently from their female counterparts. The male heat cycle starts as soon as they sense pheromones that female dogs give off when they’re in heat. Female pheromones become hypnotizing, irresistible, and intoxicating for a male dog, and it would be this scent that drives him to find a female dog.

Nevertheless, when it comes to heat cycles, both female and male Shih Tzus undergo various changes like:


If a female Shih Tzu declines a male dog, he could suffer from depression because they thought the scent from the female dog would lead to the chance to mate and breed. This could manifest itself with behaviors like crying, fatigue, decrease in appetite, or even howling.

Shih Tzu Heat Cycle - Depression

Aggressiveness and Frustration

When the male Shih Tzu starts his heat cycle, the male hormone testosterone production is triggered, which then encourages the production of another hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol hormones are the primary cause of irritability, frustration, stress, and aggressiveness. This is why a lot of dogs experience continuous stress, and it could also result in other types of psychological issues. Then again, a male dog that has sensed a female dog in heat nearby would not allow other male dogs around her, so he could eventually become aggressive toward other male dogs.


Female Shih Tzus in heat urinate more frequently, so male dogs would tend to follow the scent that they left. Hence, they would be hell-bent in trying to find the source of the scent and would even try to dangerously cross streets, without even thinking about their owners, to find the female dog. If you see your male dog being obsessed with sniffing more than usual, be more careful during walks. They could bolt and be determined to find a female dog in heat.

Frequent Marking

A male dog that senses female pheromones in the air would feel a great urge to leave his mark in various spots, which could cause issues, particularly at home, because he would leave his urine anywhere he thinks he needs to.

Stress and Confusion

Various states of stress indicate this. Your Shih Tzu might even ignore you and be confused or distracted. This behavior could often lead us to believe that our Fidos have become rebellious and disobedient when it is really just a jealous reaction to other male canines around them.

How to Care for Your Dog during Shih Tzu Heat Cycle

Even though Shih Tzu females in heat might have small traces of discharge from their vulva, it is crucial to keep your Shih Tzu and your house clean. You could put on a diaper on her to protect your carpets and floors from their bloody discharge. Since your female Shih Tzu would become very attractive to male dogs, you need to make sure that she is safe.

Yes, it would best to just keep her inside your home. However, it is not always possible to do so. If you have to go out with her for a walk, ensure that you use a shorter leash than usual because male dogs could smell her, and they would be determined in getting to her. There’s nothing that pushes a male dog more than the instinctive opportunity to mate and reproduce.


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