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Maltese Heat
When you have a female Maltese, it is important to understand the Maltese heat cycle and all that it involves.  Learn all the details about this...The age when Maltese heat begins and ends...And how to help give comfort and safety when your Maltese is in heat.

The Age of Maltese Heat

Some dog owners are surprised to learn that heat begins when a dog is still a young puppy, with 6 months old being the average and the most common age range being 8 to 10 months. Like humans, this will vary.  A Maltese may begin her first heat cycle as early as 5 months old or as late as 1-year-old.   If your dog has not shown signs by the age 1, it is imperative to take her to the veterinarian.

The Maltese heat cycle may last a female dog's entire life.  Few go through the canine equivalent of human female menopause...Therefore, a senior will still endure the heat cycles.  This can be rough for an older dog...And if you are not planning on breeding her, you may wish to have her spay....More on that ahead, but first let's look at more details about this topic.

Maltese heat cycleHow Will I Know My Maltese is in Heat?

It is easier to spot the signs with large breed dogs.  With a toy breed dog such as the Maltese, you will need to pay close attention to the signs that she is entering heat:
  • Her vulva will become swollen - with some dogs this is a very slight swelling.  Therefore you should take note of the normal size of her vulva to make a comparison when determining if she is indeed entering this phase.
  • Male dogs are taking notice - This is more than an "old wives tale".  Male, un-neutered dogs are very strongly drawn to a female dog in heat.  Breed does not matter and distance is almost irrelevant.  Males will pick up on her scent from 2-3 miles (3.2 km to 4.82 km) away. You may notice stray dogs hanging around your home.
If your Maltese urinates outside, the males will most likely be noticing her scent in her urine, as small amounts of blood mix in.   It will be important to always supervise her when she goes outside.  Very small traces of blood will mix into her urine and male dogs can almost enter a frenzy.... If possible, bring her to an enclosed area for bathroom needs...and at the very least, have her on leash and harness (not dog collar) so that you have full control and can keep her close by.
  • Discharge - larger dogs can cause quite a mess when in heat; the Maltese will usually not have a heavy flow.  However, for the sake of hygiene most owners implement the use of doggie diapers.  Growing more popular each day, these come in a variety of colors and are an easy and simple method to keep the discharge from messing the carpets, her bedding or any area that she will be sitting on or resting on.

For some, there can be some hair loss after a heat cycle...If this is to happen, it is temporary...the coat may thin a bit but will grow back in as thick as before during the next couple of months.

How Often Does This Happen?

Your Maltese will enter heat about twice per year.  Each time she enters heat, it will last from 2 weeks to a month.

Is There a Way to Prevent This?

Yes!  Unless you are seriously planning on breeding your Maltese (something that should be given a lot of thought, as breeding can be quite complicated and there is always a risk to your dog), you should have your Maltese spayed.  Your dog and you will benefit in several ways:
  • Spaying greatly reduces the chances of your dog getting ovarian and/or mammary cancer.  You quite literally could be saving her life.  Clinical studies show that having a dog spayed before her first heat reduces the risk of cancer even more.
  • You will not need to worry about taking her for walks.  When she is in heat, walks can quickly turn into a disaster as male dogs are a potential danger to her.  You will not need to be concerned about allowing her outside.  When she is in heat,  it is suggested to limit her outside activities to a bare minimum for the same reasons.  It only takes a few minutes for an unsupervised female to become impregnated by a wandering male.  Never underestimate the senses of male dogs and the lengths that they will go to, to reach your female!
NOTE: Would you like to have very detailed information on all pregnancy issues, breeding a Maltese, and female issues ...and detailed coverage of all behavioral issues, health concerns and detailed training? We have this for you via our PetMaltese Book. Find out more.

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