Can a spayed dog have signs of being in heat?

My unneutered male dog is constantly sniffing my female, and hunching the air some. And whining! It’s driving me nuts. She has no bloody discharge, but the male sure is interested in where she’s been sitting. At first it was funny, but now it’s getting a bit gross, to tell you the truth.

Any vets or vet techs out there?

Oops, forgot to add that she was a stray. I took her to the vet when I got her, and the doc said she was spayed. (I’ve seen the scar, too!)

It may depend on how long ago she was spayed. Does she appear to be a purebred dog? I ask because it has been my experience that sometimes unwise owners will not have a female spayed after she has had a Cesarean section.

She’s a black lab, but it’s hard for me to tell if she’s purebred. The vet said she’s about 2 years old.

My male dog sniffs the backsides of my two females. All of the dogs are neutered. He does it so often that the eldest gets irritated and snaps at him.

Smell is like vision for dogs. Whereas we examine our kids or loved ones with our eyes to see how they’re doing, dogs rely on smell. It’s not known exactly how much information they glean from a good long sniff, but it seems to have more than just general health and fertility status info. Some researchers have posited that hormones released by stress could put pheremones in the dog’s scent glands* and other dogs might be able to detect it.

By hunching, do you mean she’s presenting, as in getting in position to mate, or do you mean she’s rubbing her bottom against the carpet? If the latter is the case, she might have impacted scent glands which are irritating and sometimes painful. You can empty them yourself, but I don’t recommend it. It’s a gawd-awful stink. Have your vet do it.

My eldest dog was spayed before her first birthday. When she was eight, I caught her copulating with a neighbor’s dog. I asked here on the boards and they suggested that her hormone levels might still be high enough to make her want to mate even if she wasn’t in heat.

Either way, get the dog checked out at the vet as soon as you can, just to make sure there’s nothing physically wrong. Likely, there isn’t. It’s entirely possible she’s agitated about something else and that’s just her way of acting out on it. (Maybe it’s getting ready to storm?)

In the mean time, give her a treat which will take a good, long while to eat to keep her busy. She’s not going to bug you if there’s something yummy to chew on. Fill a bone with peanut butter and give it to her** or give her a new toy. Keep her busy.

  • Which is actually what the dog is sniffing. It just happens to be located next to the ass.

** In the summer, I keep a couple of these in my freezer. Keeps 'em cool and takes much longer for them to eat.

IANAVet. I have never had female cat who didn’t rub her butt against everybody and trill and yowl at some point in in the spring or early summer, and every one of them had been spayed.

I don’t see why not. I don’t know much about dogs but in humans the relavent hormons are produced in the tesicles and overies, but also the brain. Which is why enuchs can still have sex (they just don’t want to as much). I’m guessing dogs probably work the same way. I know my cats do.

Why is the male dog not neutered? Are you planning on making puppies with him? I’m a firm believer in spay/neuter for domestic pets. It makes me literally cry when I go to the shelter and see the animals that most likely won’t make their way into someone’s heart.


An unneutered male will hump your leg. Is there a reason why he’s not neutered?

“The scar” may have been from a surgery other than ovariohysterectomy. Also, sometimes a bit of overy is left behind leading to ovarian remnant syndrome. In sled dogs it is sometimes intentional. However, if the female is not spotting that is unlikely.

Castration of the male is something that shoulda been done long ago, IMHO.

I agree, I should have had the male neutered years ago, but he’s 10 now, and arthritic, and - well, no good excuse except he’s been an inside dog and an “only” dog all this time.

He’s been hunching, not her. I mean his hips move like he’s hunching your leg, but only in the air. And he hasn’t ever hunched anyone’s leg, BTW.

She gets annoyed with him, but doesn’t snap. And she is definitely NOT presenting.

I’m just assuming she has some kind of scent coming off her that smells like she’s in heat. Good idea to check out if she needs her glands expressed. She does rub her butt on the carpet sometimes. (And the male checks it out!)

Thanks for all the replies.

That’s not unherard of, even in neutered males. My youngest is a fixed male, and he occasionally tries to mount the youngest female (kinda comical because she’s twice his size). I think it’s just instinct, because he, too, has done the humping-in-air motion with sort of a bewildered “What the hell am I doing?” expression.

Books I’ve read have also said it’s a dominance thing. What I’ve heard is that even female dogs will mount one another for this reason.