As one of our guardian home families you are very important to us! You will help ensure that all of our Australian Labradoodles are raised in a loving family home with the proper care and attention. It can be really hard to find a guardian home family, so we feel super blessed that you are one of ours!
These Care Instructions are meant to be a useful guide to raising an Australian Labradoodle female breeder, such as the one you have from Lumar. These instructions may not answer all of your questions, but we only a text or email away!
As you recall from when you applied to be a guardian home for Lumar:
- You received what Lumar calls the “pick of the litter.” This is a puppy that we think is a potential breeder due to her physical appearance, genetics, soundness in body and temperament, and adherence to our Australian Labradoodle breed standard.
- During the first 18 months of life, Lumar will have the puppy’s health testing completed. This will include testing of her hips, elbows, eyes, and a very long list of diseases that can be inherited. Once we receive all the results from the health tests, Lumar will determine whether or not the puppy will enter our breeding program. If for any reason we decide not to breed the puppy we have placed with you, then we will have you spay the dog, pay the remainder of the owed pet fee, and we will transfer ownership to you. The puppy will then remain a forever family pet with you and your family!
- A Lumar female puppy placed in your guardian home –
- Will usually be bred starting with her second heat that occurs after she is 12 months of age PROVIDED that all of her health testing is complete and we deem her ready to become a mama.
- Will usually be bred back-to-back, every heat cycle after the first. Recent research has shown this is healthier for the female. Sometimes we do skip a cycle to give mom a break.
- Once Lumar determines she will not be bred again, after 3-4 live deliveries, she will be spayed and you will be released from our Guardian Agreement. At that point we will refund your deposit and your Lumar guardian dog will remain with your family with no further obligations to Lumar.
Following is a short summary of the care and actions you must take for your Lumar guardian dog.
- Whenever your female dog goes into heat, it is important that you text us immediately at 757-943-1615. If you do not hear back within an hour, please call us!
- During every heat cycle after her first, Lumar will need access to your female guardian dog for breeding and pregnancy related vet appointments such as progesterone testing and x-rays, etc.; the time away from you will vary depending on the type of appointment.
- Once your female Lumar guardian dog has been bred, she will remain with you and your family until about one week before her due date – a dog’s pregnancy lasts about 63 days (9 weeks) from the date of ovulation. During her pregnancy (even if we don’t know for sure if she is pregnant we always act as if she is), you will continue to care for her. Some additional steps and precautions will be added to your usual routine however. See brief explanation below and further details in the sections that follow.
- Continue to feed your Lumar guardian dog the high-quality dog food that you have been feeding her that is on our acceptable food list (see section below on How to Care for your Dog). She may get picky about eating her food that she has always loved – don’t worry. Call me if she refuses to eat more than 2 days in a row.
- During your Lumar guardian dog’s heat or pregnancy, do not give her any supplements, medications, heartworm meds, topical flea and tick preventatives, or vaccinations without my approval – even if your regular vet recommends it. Many regular vets are not knowledgeable of canine reproduction and the impact some medications or treatments can have – some have been known to cause miscarriages or birth defects in the puppies.
- Avoid all chemicals while your Lumar guardian dog is in heat and pregnant. This includes yard treatments, fertilizer, spraying inside for pests, etc. – in your yard and home and in neighbors or other family members’ homes or yards.
- During the first 4 -5 weeks of pregnancy, your Lumar guardian dog can exercise as usual with regular walks and play. After that, she may become more tired and less energetic. After week 6 of her pregnancy there should be no rough play, no jumping from high places (like a porch, deck or multiple stair steps), and no jogging (walking is great though). During the last week or two of her pregnancy she may not want to do anything – try to encourage her to take a gentle walk daily.
- A few days before your girl comes to settle in here with us, please have her groomed. Her coat should be no longer than ½ to ¾ inches all over her body; her head should be done in the normal ALD style according to the grooming card we have given you, and her tail should remain full. In addition, have the groomer give her a sanitary shave.
- On about Day 57 past ovulation, you will need to bring her back to stay with Lumar throughout her remaining pregnancy, the birth, and the weaning of her puppies. She will be available for you to come pick her up to go back to your home once her pups are fully weaned, at approximately 5 weeks of age.
- After the puppies are two weeks of age, you are welcome to visit during scheduled appointments while your Lumar ‘ guardian dog is here at our home!
Following is more detail about heat, its symptoms, care during pregnancy, etc. See Attachment 1 for FAQs on heat and Attachment 2 on puppy development.
Symptoms of a Female Dog in Heat
The first phase of your Lumar guardian dog’s heat cycle is called proestrus and usually lasts for 7 – 10 days. Its name suggests that it’s something that happens before the “real” heat. However, from the first day of the heat, you have to pay extra attention to your Lumar guardian dog.
Symptoms of a female dog during the first phase of heat include:
- Swelling of the vulva. Beginning with the early days of the heat cycle, cells of the uterus of your Lumar guardian dog will enlarge causing swelling of her vulva. The amount of swelling varies from dog to dog. This swelling is not painful. It may not be easy to notice however, especially if you do not know how her vulva looked before she went into heat. Below is a picture a female dog’s vulva when the dog is not in heat followed by a picture below of the same dog during her heat cycle.
This swelling typically develops a few days before any discharge or bleeding will occur.
- While waiting for your girl to come into season, each day wipe her vulva with a white napkin or tissue. If it shows a discharge a colored discharge, let us know right away! It’s safe to assume that her heat cycle has begun. Colored discharge from the vulva often called spotting or bleeding. During the first phase of her heat, bleeding is often light and then may get a bit heavier a few days later. Sometimes it may be apparent, as you may see small spots on the floor. However, if your Lumar guardian dog cleans herself or the amount of discharge is very light, you may not notice drops on the floor. Most of our dogs have very little discharge.
Some females may need to wear doggy diapers during her heat cycle to prevent soiling if her discharge is heavy or her self-cleaning isn’t effective. This is up to you. Please be aware that doggy diapers do not protect your guardian dog from mating! Finally, discharge from the vulva can also be a sign of a medical condition and not related to a heat. Call me if you are unsure.
- Behavior changes are usually very mild. Some dogs become restless, agitated or grumpy during heat, especially to other dogs, but that is rare. Your Lumar labradoodle may also appear to do the opposite and become more affectionate or more clingy than usual. She may also act aggressive to male dogs as she does not want them to mount her.
- Mounting other dogs, which is aggravating but there is usually no harm done.
- Excessive licking. Your Lumar guardian dog will lick her genital area more often than usual to clean all the discharge.
- Appetite changes. Your female Lumar guardian dog may show either increased or decreased appetite during her heat. Whatever the change you see from her normal pattern, please make note of it as it can be a clue that she is going into heat.
- Attention from other dogs. Most times other dogs, both males and females, sniff a dog in heat and may follow her around and sniff where she has peed on the ground.
The second phase of the dog heat cycle is called estrus – also called “standing heat.” The Estrus stage typically last between 7 and 14 days.
This is the time your Lumar Guardian dog is fertile and when her ovaries begin to release eggs for fertilization. During this phase, symptoms may include:
- Lightened discharge. Previously bright red, the discharge now usually lightens to be somewhat pink, light yellow or even unnoticeable.
- Softening of the vulva. Initial swelling subsides just enough to make the vulva soft enough for penetration.
- Flirting. Whereas previously during the first phase of heat your Lumar guardian dog may have tucked her tail and might have behaved aggressively toward a male dog, the female dog now begins to behave flirtatiously. For example, inviting the male by turning her rear toward him and holding her tail high and out of the way.
- Increased urination. Urine is a marker and tells other dogs that a female dog is in heat. Therefore, your Lumar guardian dog will most likely pee in smaller amounts over many more locations.
- Symptoms from the first phase of the heat, like appetite changes, mounting other dogs, and licking, may remain during the second phase of the heat as well.
The third phase of the dog heat cycle is called diestrus; this stage usually lasts between 60 and 90 days.
As the diestrus phase begins, the fertile part of the heat cycle comes to an end and she can no longer get pregnant. If your Lumar guardian dog has been bred and she is pregnant the diestrus stage lasts from the end of the estrus phase until the birth of the puppies. Symptoms during diestrus stage include:
- Gradual disappearance of vulva swelling. Most of the major swelling is gone within one- or two-week’s time, but the vulva may remain slightly enlarged.
- Less flirting. Whether pregnant or not, your Lumar guardian dog is no longer interested in flirting with male dogs.
The fourth and final phase of the dog heat cycle is called Anestrus; this stage usually lasts between 90 and 150 days. This is the period of sexual and hormonal inactivity between heats. She is no longer in heat.
How to care for your dog while she is in heat or pregnant
While there is a little added work involved when your female Lumar guardian dog is in heat or pregnant, she is definitely worth the extra care! Following are the guidelines you should follow during this time.
Protect your Guardian Dog from Male Dogs
Your priority must be protecting your female Lumar labradoodle from all male dogs and an unwanted pregnancy – this is the most important thing for you to do while your Lumar guardian dog is in heat. The pheromones female dogs emit are so strong that male dogs can detect a female in heat from several miles away and are willing to travel great distances and overcome many obstacles to mate. Males will stop at nothing to get the job done, and many have found their way over, under, and even through backyard fences, through screen doors, through pool enclosures, etc. To protect your Lumar guardian dog from an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, you should take the following precautions.
- Provide constant supervision while outdoors. This means no off leash walks even if you have trained her to walk off leash. In addition, while outside she may need your help to ward off advances from other dogs. She should never be left unattended outside. You must keep a watchful eye on her even if she is in a fenced-in yard. She may opt to jump, climb, or dig under your fence to get out and go look for a male. I would actually recommend bringing your Lumar guardian dog in the house when not on a leash outside until her heat cycle is complete. If you do leave her outside in a fenced in yard, to prevent your dog from escaping or a male dog from entering, make sure someone is near her watching and all entry points (gates, doors) to your home and yard are closed.
- If you are walking your Lumar labradoodle outside on a leash, walk her in areas that aren’t frequented by other dogs, especially ones you are not familiar with.
- When you are going to walk your Lumar labradoodle outside on a leash, you can consider applying a little dab of menthol rub (like Vicks Vapor Rub) at the base of your female’s tail to disguise the heat just a little and to confuse potential suitors. Make sure whatever you use is dog-safe (like PetsBestRx from Amazon) or you apply a little bit in a location where she can’t lick it off.
- Do not take your Lumar guardian dog to dog shows, dog parks (she shouldn’t be going to dog parks even when not in heat), pet stores, pet events, training or any other events where other dogs are present while she is in heat or pregnant.
- When your Lumar labradoodle is inside, you should make sure all doors and windows are shut and secure. “Oops” litters have occurred with other breeders when a child has inadvertently left an outside door ajar, or the garage door was left up while dad was mowing the yard, and many other similar scenarios. Just be mindful of her surroundings.
Provide Good Food and Nutrition
Appetite changes are possible when female dogs are in heat – the same is true if she is pregnant. Some girls have a decrease in appetite, while some may experience an increase. Whether your Lumar guardian dog has a small appetite or if she is hungrier than usual while in heat or pregnant, feeding her nutritious food is key. Acceptable kibble that you may feed to your Lumar guardian dog includes
Do not limit the amount of food your dog can have during pregnancy. Make sure she always has lots of clean water available too.
If your Lumar female is in heat but has not been bred and is therefore not pregnant, continue to feed her as normal. Just watch her to make sure she is getting enough food.
If she has been bred (remember, we will assume and treat her as if she is pregnant), please let me know if she is not eating – I have a few recipes for special food like satin balls that might entice her to eat. If she is just being a fussy eater, add one of the following to her food as a topper or mixed in with her kibble as a way to encourage her to eat:
- About ½ cup of cooked hamburger, cooked salmon (canned is fine – just make sure to remove any bones), cooked ground turkey or boiled chicken (boiled chicken thighs are my go-to food in this circumstance – always remove the cooked bone.)
- A couple of tablespoons of high-quality canned dog food (Solid Gold green beef tripe seems to always be well liked and tolerated.)
- About 1/3 cup of cooked organ meat like chicken liver or calf liver.
((Do not provide any calcium rich foods like cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream, or sardines. Too much calcium during pregnancy can put your female Lumar guardian dog and her puppies at risk as it can cause several problems for the unborn puppies’ growth and during whelping.))
Starting the first day you observe your Lumar guardian dog in heat and throughout her pregnancy, feed her one cooked egg every other day for minis, and one cooked egg per day for mediums. The egg can be soft or hard boiled or scrambled. This helps with placenta strength and health.
Watch her Health
Call/text me if you notice vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. Often an upset stomach in dogs in heat or pregnant subsides quickly and isn’t a major cause for concern. However, I will need to schedule a vet appointment if your Lumar labradoodle experiences prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, disinterest, or any other unusual symptoms.
Give Her Extra Love and Attention
Different dogs react differently to being in heat or to being pregnant. Most dogs behave just as they normally do! However, it is possible that your Lumar guardian dog will experience some behavior changes. If your pooch is anxious, do what you can to soothe and keep her calm. Try to avoid activities or events that will agitate her. Instruct small children to treat her respectfully and not over-excite her with rough play. Turn down the volume to avoid super loud TV and music and make sure she has a safe little den (crate, bed or special area) to escape to. Avoid yelling, super loud noises, and overwhelming excitement.
She may seek more of your attention. Make time to cuddle up with her and stroke her coat to let her know how much you cherish her! Cuddles are always a treat with labradoodles, especially female dogs in heat or pregnant. Your presence is very comforting for your girl!
Based on your dog’s behavior, it is important to choose the right amount of attention and activity to keep your dog comfortable. So, if your dog wants to sleep, let her sleep. If she seems agitated or restless, try playing with her, brushing her, taking a gentle walk, or even talking to her. By giving your dog extra attention and care, she will be much calmer as she knows she has you by her side. Have that extra time available for your dog during heat and during pregnancy and she will feel much calmer and more confident.
Provide Proper Hygiene and Grooming
If you want to avoid stains on your carpet or furniture and want your dog to be able to have access to all of your home, doggy diapers or pull-ups will work. However, if your dog objects to wearing doggy diapers ,covering your furniture and keeping your dog confined to a certain room of the house with hard floors may be an option. If this means isolating her from the family, consider moving her crate to a busy part of your home and crating her instead. It’s important that your Lumar labradoodle does not feel isolated or punished while in heat since this is a bodily function she can’t control.
As I mentioned earlier, if she is pregnant, you must have her groomed a few days before she comes to stay with us. Anytime you take your Lumar labradoodle to a professional groomer while she is in heat or pregnant, make sure the groomer sterilizes all equipment, tables, crates, etc. Be sure she is not exposed to any other dogs. Other dogs may be sick or have diseases, like canine herpes virus, that can cause serious illness.
Continue to Exercise your Labradoodle
Exercise helps your Lumar guardian dog to rid herself of anxiety and excess energy — dogs who are sufficiently active sleep better. However, outdoor exercise like walking, calls for extra precautions when your dog is in heat – see precautions above under “Protect your Guardian Dog from Males.”
Enrich her Time while she is in Heat or Pregnant
Your Lumar guardian dog will probably spend more time indoors while she is in heat, so take extra steps to keep her from getting bored. Set aside extra time to play together and offer stimulating toys or chews to keep her occupied.
Dogs love a new toy or even better, a new chew. We like bully sticks, Himalayan chews, and kongs stuffed with cheese or peanut butter. These last a long time and are extremely healthy compared to other products. Remember, you should never give your Lumar Guardian dog rawhide treats or chews – read the labels as rawhide may be listed in the ingredients but not included on the front of the package. Real bones are not okay at this time. Poultry bones are never OK.
Food dispenser toys are an excellent choice, too. They are usually hollow toys that you can fill with food, both dry and wet. They let a dog receive small amounts of food as long as she continues to play with the toy. To keep your female Lumar guardian dog’s attention on her toys longer, you may wish to use more than one and take each away when it is no longer needed or she is no longer interested.
How will I know that my Lumar dog is pregnant?
We’ll have a vet visit for a checkup shortly before delivery, during which we will know for sure if she is pregnant. There are some signs that you may notice before then.
- Possible morning sickness. At least one of our breeding dogs always throws up around week 2 of her pregnancy. If your Lumar guardian dog appears to be experiencing morning sickness like this, give me a call and we can discuss options, like maybe giving her some over the counter meds to make her more comfortable.
- Nipple enlargement. Your female Lumar guardian dog’s nipples make start to get bigger.
- And of course the most obvious is a growing belly! Toward the end of your girl’s pregnancy, you will even be able to feel the babies moving!
Remember, I am always just a text or email away if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you again for being one of our cherished guardian homes!
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
FAQ: Your Lumar guardian dog during heat
What is “heat”?
Dogs have heat cycles as a part of their reproductive system. The whole process is dictated by her hormones and consists of several phases that all play a role leading up to her giving birth to puppies.
How often do dogs come in heat?
Most dogs come in heat twice a year, once they have reached their sexual maturity. However, every for to ten months is still considered normal, and, while cycling more or less often is viewed as an abnormality, in most cases, there should be nothing to worry about.
At what age do dogs come in heat for the first time?
Dogs start coming into heat as soon as they reach their sexual maturity. For most Australian Labradoodles like ours, it’s between 6 and 12 months of age.
At what age do dogs stop coming into heat?
For intact female dogs there is no point when they stop coming into heat – they have no menopause like humans. Aging, though, can make each heat further and further apart from the previous. Normally, this process begins at around seven years old or so, but it still depends on each individual dog. We will have completed our breeding of your Lumar Guardian dog before she reaches this age at which time she will be spayed and she will no longer go into heat.
Can a dog get pregnant during the first heat cycle?
Yes! It’s a popular misconception that dogs are not able to get pregnant in their first heat cycle. However, the dog has already reached its sexual maturity when coming into her first heat cycle, thus, is able to get pregnant.
Should I worry if the dog does not come into her first heat?
Do not worry about your Lumar guardian dog not coming into heat by the time she reaches a year of age. Dogs can have a “silent heat” and exhibit no signs of a heat cycle.
How long are dogs in heat?
On average, dogs are in heat for 21 days. It can be longer a little longer, however. Sometimes a heat cycle may start and end abruptly after few days. In most cases it then starts again after one to two weeks and lasts for full 21 days. If shorter or longer heat cycles ever happen, call me immediately.
How long do dogs bleed while in heat?
Dogs usually bleed during the first phase of the heat cycle. On average it is 7 – 10 days but may be even as long as 17 – 20 days. After this first phase of her heat cycle has ended, heavy bleeding ceases, and the color of the discharge turns lighter in color and it usually less obvious.
How can I tell when the heat is over?
Telling the ending of the heat in dogs is not easy. The only sure thing is a vaginal cytology test done at a vet’s office. However, it may stress a dog out to have this done so we rarely do it. We usually rely on the absence of symptoms. If a dog is no longer restless, male dogs are no longer attracted to her, and she is no longer responding to male dogs, most likely the heat is over. Adding some days of taking precautions is always wise to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
The fact that dogs are, on average, in heat for 21 days may be helpful, however, we can’t rely solely on the calendar.
Is my Lumar guardian dog able to get pregnant during the entire heat?
In the beginning of the heat, there is a period when the dog is not able to become pregnant. However, in some unusual cases this phase of heat may be as short as three days. As it’s easy to miss symptoms during the first few days of heat and the male’s sperm is able to survive inside the body of the female for up to five days after mating, you must take precautions starting from the first day you observe your Lumar guardian dog’s heat symptoms. Those precautions are explained earlier in these care instructions.
How do I tell if the dog is in heat? What are signs of the dog being in heat?
The easiest way to tell is by observing her symptoms – see section at the beginning of this guide.
Can my dog still have playdates while in heat?
Only **if** you know the other dog is spayed/neutered AND health and vaccinated. If in doubt, do not take a chance. PLEASE AVOID dog parks always!
One of the joys of being a Lumar guardian home is helping to bring some amazing Australian labradoodle puppies into this world knowing that they will go to loving families and become part of their lives. Below is a brief description of the puppies’ development before they are born, courtesy of our friends at JoaLins Labradoodles!