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When a pooch isn't spayed, she will do whatever she can to escape and mate with a pup that's not neutered once she goes into heat. Your pup's heat cycles start sometime after she turns 6 months old. While spaying is the only definitive way to prevent an unwanted litter, you can prevent unwanted breeding between pooches by using special clothing that provides a physical barrier to sexual contact between pups.
The Doggie Heat Cycle
When a pooch goes into heat, she's ruled by her hormones and develops a need to breed. Once she reaches between 6 and 18 months of age, she'll start experiencing a heat cycle every four to six months. Each cycle lasts between two and three weeks, during which time your pup can become pregnant if she mates with a male pooch. While your pup is experiencing her heat cycle, you can't allow her access to any male dogs that haven't been neutered or you'll wind up with an unwanted litter. Unfortunately, this may not always be practical, which is why doggie clothing to prevent mating may work well for your situation.
Functional Clothing Options
You can find canine "chastity" belts for both male and female dogs. These items completely cover a pup's genitalia and prevent her from physically making contact with another dog's sexual organs. What this means is that if a dog attempts to mate with another dog wearing these breed-blocking garments, they can simulate the act of mating without sexual penetration. Some of these garments also contain an absorbent pad to prevent a pup from urine marking around the house due to hormones and to absorb any discharge from a female pup in heat. You have to remove some garments to allow a pup to eliminate, while others allow a pup to eliminate while she wears them.
The Right Size
Measure your dog to determine the proper size breed-prevention garment for her. Depending on the type of clothing, you'll usually need to measure your pup's waist, near her back legs, her length and her collar size. Some clothing will completely cover your pup's body with fabric, much like a doggie "jumpsuit," while other options are more like belts that attach around your pup's rear end and sometimes extend to a collar around her neck. You also may need your pup's weight to properly size the garment. Many clothing options contain comfortable, stretchy fabrics for a secure fit and allow for some weight fluctuations in your pup.
Is Clothing Appropriate for Lassie?
Any type of clothing that prevents breeding in dogs is never a foolproof form of birth control for your dog. Clothing can move, tear or be pulled off by your pup, allowing her to mate with another dog. You'll need to wash your pup's clothing regularly to keep it clean and free from dirt, odors and germs. For this reason, you may want to have at least two garments available so that Lassie can wear one during the washing and drying process. Your best bet is to spay or neuter your pup to prevent unwanted litters and to prevent certain health issues in dogs from developing as well, recommends the Petfinder website.