My puppy is 6 1/2 months old, and has had a vaginitis infection that she is on her 3rd antibiotic for. I have gotten 2 vet opinions and they both said she has a very small vulva that is tucked up high, which means that it doesn't get as much air as it should and stays damp. She also has a lot of hair in that area. They both said that a dog with her structure is likely to have problems throughout life with UTIs and vaginitis. Both vets recommended that she go through one heat cycle, because they said that is likely to enlarge the vulva and thus decrease chances of later vaginitis and UTI infections. So we have decided to wait to spay her until she goes through a heat cycle. However, I have never had a dog in heat and I know almost nothing about what it is like and how to manage it. :uhoh: Obviously I know that we have to keep her away from other dogs, but how? Obviously I know she can never be off-leash outside. I don't have a fenced in yard. Is it okay to take her for walks on a leash? How do I make sure no male dogs come running up to her when she is outside? I haven't seen off leash dogs in my neighborhood, but I'm guessing that may change once I have a dog in heat! Do I need to carry a baseball bat when I walk? :curtain: When is she likely to go into heat? I know it varies. One of the vets said that based on her size and structure he thought it would be the spring rather than the fall, but that would make her 1. She weighs 43 pounds now at 6 1/2 months. Her birthday is March 11. Is there a seasonal aspect to it at all? Any reason it wouldn't be the winter? How long does a heat cycle last? Is the dog fertile throughout the whole cycle? Is there a way to tell when exactly she would be fertile? Also, I am most worried about making sure she stays safe and away from other dogs, but I also need to know about how to manage the blood. How much blood is there? How do you keep the house clean? She'll be moving at the end of October from a house with off-white carpet to a house with mostly hardwood floors, so I'm just really hoping that she doesn't go into heat before then! I have seen diaper type things in pet stores, but don't dogs just bite them off? Sorry to bombard you all with questions, I just feel totally clueless. Help!!!