DEAR JOAN: I’m writing to ask for advice about a new female dog, not officially ours until this Sunday.
She is 8 months old, in good health and according to our vet, in her first heat. I’ve had dogs for over 40 years, but the first female in heat for the duration. The vet wouldn’t take action because she wasn’t mine.
Anyway, my husband and I have both researched this online and know it can go for up to 28 days. We are now approaching that. There are many characteristics during heat and one issue is that she has been peeing by the side of my bed, something she’s done at least three times.
She was house trained when she arrived. She knew to go outside and quickly learned to use our dog door, but she does pee in a specific spot. She knows she shouldn’t have because her behavior is indicative, but she does it.
She is more attached to me than my husband. He’s big and can be loud at times. One of the articles said dogs can mark during heat. I first attributed it to that. What do you think? Do you think it will continue?
She has another vet appointment on Monday, when she will be fully inoculated and an appointment made for spaying.
Midori Tabata, Oakland
DEAR MIDORI: Urinating more than usual is common for female dogs during this time. Her urine will have pheromones and hormones that are a canine version of sexting.
Chances are very good that when she’s out of season, the marking will stop. To make sure, clean the area where she’s peed with a strong disinfectant, encourage her to go outside often, and reward her with a treat or praise when she tinkles in the flower bed and not by your bed.
Having her spayed will solve a lot of issues.
DEAR JOAN: On Sunday, I found the back one-fourth of a rat, partially hidden under a bush with its tail trailing out onto a concrete pad near the door to the water-heater closet on the outside of our house.
By the length of the tail and the size of the one back leg, it had been quite a big rat.
I think the rat remains appeared overnight because I have been in my yard frequently due to the shelter-in-place, and would likely have seen it in the days before. I am wondering how it got there and why the front three-quarters were gone.
Any ideas? The water-heater closet is very close to the porte cochere and driveway, if that makes any difference. We don’t have any cats.
Linda, Bay Area
DEAR LINDA: There are a number of animals who rely on a tasty rat for their dinner, including hawks, owls, coyotes, opossums, raccoons, foxes, snakes, dogs and cats, both the house variety and the wilder kind — all animals that could be visiting your yard.
Hawks don’t hunt at night, but they are early risers and might have caught a rat sneaking back home just at sunrise. Owls are night hunters, but they usually take their kill to their nests, especially if they are feeding chicks.
The larger predators tend to eat the entire rat, but occasionally leave behind some bits. Snakes swallow them whole. From the location, my best guess is that a feral cat killed the rat, ate its fill and left a few remains behind.