Things You'll Need
Washable blanket or other bedding
Diapers as desired
Rubber dog brush
Bristle dog brush
Aloe-based dog shampoo or other mild shampoo
Skin and coat conditioner
Canine nail clippers
Cotton balls and swabs
Baby wipes or feminine hygiene wipes
The reproductive cycle in a female dog varies according to breed, size and individual characteristics, much like humans. Generally, she will experience her first heat between six months and a year in age, and thereafter about every six months. Menses -- the bleeding during heat -- lasts about three weeks. Grooming your dog during this time is really no different than grooming at any other time. However, she is probably experiencing discomfort to mild pain. Grooming can prove to be soothing and a bonding experience for you both.
Place a blanket or other bedding in an area where you can encourage her to rest. Wash or change the bedding daily to every few days to prevent her from laying in any blood spots present. Consider using specially-made diapers that will keep her from getting blood on things.
Brush her coat gently while talking to her soothingly, stroking her as you do. Begin with a rubber brush, which loosens dirt and dead skin. Follow with a bristle brush to remove loose hair. Plan to do this at least once a week if she is a short-haired breed; dogs with long hair need brushing daily.
Bathe your dog once every three months, recommends the ASPCA, although you may bathe her more frequently while she is in heat if blood and odor become an issue. She may find a warm bath soothing for menstrual cramps. Use an aloe-based shampoo and a coat conditioner to prevent drying out her skin and causing problems. Run room temperature water, wet and lather her, avoiding her eyes, nose and ears. Follow with a conditioner, rinsing products well to prevent skin irritation. Dry her with a hair dryer, making sure not to burn her.
Examine her ears and fur as part of the routine. Treat her for fleas, as necessary. Clean out her ears with a cotton swab, moistened with water or even a little mineral oil, as necessary. Access the outer ear only -- do not insert objects into the ear canal.
Trim her nails using nail clippers that enclose the nail and chop the end off, or new grinding-style trimmers. Avoid cutting the quick -- a vein that runs through the nail and causes pain and bleeding if cut. Smooth rough edges with a nail file to complete.
Look over her entire body to note any problems. Swab out eyes with a wet cotton-tipped swab, inspect wrinkles if your dog has a lot of loose flesh, or address any other concerns unique to her.
Cleanse the blood from her between baths, if needed, using baby wet wipes or feminine hygiene wipes. Your female dog will typically keep herself clean, but a gentle wipe will help remove blood if you are in an area where blood leakage is a special concern.
Massage her to relax her. Start at her neck, giving her a deep rub, and work towards her tail. Feel free to massage her feet as well, which will make it easier to clip her nails in the future.
Keep her calm and allow plenty of rest, and be patient while grooming her. Dogs, while they are in heat, might feel anxious and irritable.
Dab a bit of menthol rub just over her tail to deter male dogs while she is in heat. It masks the smell to the males.
dog image by Michal Tudek from Fotolia.com
Karie Fay earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in law from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. After growing up in construction and with more than 30 years in the field, she believes a girl can swing a hammer with the best of them. She enjoys "green" or innovative solutions and unusual construction.