I just went through this the first time, myself (with my girl). It wasn't that bad.
Myah got just a "little" more grumpy with my other dog - but barely noticeable, as she is a gentle, joyful pup. She also got more clingy and snuggly.
For us, she started dripping blood and I noticed it on the floor - a spot here, a spot there. I inspected her and, yep, it was from her vulva. It wasn't heavy enough for a full doggie diaper or pad, so I just went to Walmart and bought girl's panties (regular cut, size 12) and put them on her. I put a hole for her tail. I got some real cute colors and designs. We called them her "princess panties". That did the trick. We changed them out a couple times a day, max.
She cleaned herself a lot. She licked herself so much that she is only NOW getting rid of the last lick nodule she formed by so much self-cleaning.
I read all the stories, and even posted here asking, about what to do with males, etc.
I have a neutered 1.5 yr old English bulldog. He didn't care in the least that she was in heat.
We live in the suburbs on a large, fenced lot with houses on each side of us, but a strip of wilderness between our backyard and the next neighborhood over the hill. We have coyotes and I hear them in packs at night.
Nothing came into our yard that I know of. Myah is only outside when I am outside, anyway, so it wasn't a big deal. I go out with her at night when she needs to potty before bed and there were no incidents. No strange dog lurking. And I was sure some male pitties from down the street might show up or howl - nope. Could it happen? Sure. Must we be super careful? Yes. But we had no incidents.
I nixed walking her outside on a leash around town. But my friend fully doggie diapered her girl and kept up with their walks/runs.
Three weeks of princess panties (gotta love OxyClean spray before laundering to keep them looking good!) and keeping her around her own home and yard did the trick for us. No other change to her routine.
I'm so glad I made it through.
Oh, and she was a bit of a chow-hound on her food.
I can completely understand! LOL!