How Long Does a Dog Stay in Heat?

How Long Does a Dog Stay in Heat?

If you have a female dog in your home, chances are you’ll soon be asking yourself the question “How long does a dog stay in heat?” That’s because all female dogs go through an annual cycle of estrous, commonly known as being “in heat” or “in season”.

How Long Does a Dog Stay in Heat

Understanding this natural process can help ensure your pup remains healthy and safe during her fertile period. It is a common question: how long does a dog stay in heat? Every pet parent should be aware of the signs and length of this cycle to make sure that their beloved companion stays healthy both mentally and physically. For many curious individuals, the answer isn’t always clear.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything that comes with ‘being in heat’ – from duration to physical signs and behavioral changes – so you can better care for your beloved furry friend!

See more: How Long Does a Cat Stay in Heat?

What Are the 4 Stages of a Dog in Heat?

The four stages of a dog in heat are proestrus, estrus, diestrus and anestrus.


Proestrus is the first stage and lasts between five to nine days. During this stage, female dogs will attract male dogs but not allow them to mate. The female’s vulva will swell and she will begin to bleed.


Estrus is the second stage and lasts between four to seven days. During this stage, female dogs will allow males to mate with them and become pregnant. The vulva will remain swollen and she may continue bleeding lightly.


Diestrus is the third stage and can last anywhere from 60-90 days. This stage begins after mating has occurred, and the female’s hormone levels will drop significantly. Her vulva will return to its normal size and she will no longer be receptive to males.


Anestrus is the fourth and final stage and lasts between three to four months. During this stage, the female dog’s reproductive organs will rest and she will not show any signs of heat. This is the time when she can regain her fertility and prepare for the cycle to start all over again.

After each stage, it may take a few months before the cycle starts again. It is important to be aware of the stages of a dog’s heat so that you know when to expect it and how long it may last. Knowing the stages will help you plan appropriately for future litters of puppies.

How Long Does a Dog Stay in Heat?

In general, the heat cycle of a female dog usually lasts around three weeks. However, the first stage can last anywhere from five to nine days and the second stage (when she is most fertile) lasts between seven and ten days.

It’s important to note that the length of each dog’s heat cycle can vary greatly depending on her age, breed and overall health. For instance, large breeds may stay in heat for up to three weeks while small breeds may only be in heat for two or so weeks. Additionally, younger dogs will often experience shorter cycles than older dogs.

Aside from the length of time, it’s important to also take note of any physical changes that your pup may experience during her heat cycle. These can include increased urination, slight swelling of the vulva and a bloody discharge from the vagina. It is also not uncommon for female dogs to become more affectionate, clingy or even aggressive during their heat cycles.

How Often Do Dogs Go Into Heat?

The frequency with which a female dog goes into heat depends largely on her breed. Larger breeds tend to have fewer and longer heat cycles while smaller breeds can go into heat more than twice annually. In general, though, most dogs will go through their first estrous cycle between 6-24 months of age and then every six to eight months thereafter.

It is important to note that there are a few breeds of dogs (like the Basenji) who only go into heat once every 12-18 months, so it’s best to research your pup’s breed before attempting to plan around her cycle.

Overall, understanding the signs and length of your dog’s heat cycle is essential for providing them with the best care possible. By being aware of their physical and behavioral changes, you can ensure they remain happy and healthy during this natural process. With a little bit of knowledge, you’ll be able to give your pup all of the love she needs!

What Are the Signs That a Dog is in Heat? 

Once a female dog begins her season, or heat cycle, there are several signs that indicate she is in heat. These can include:

• Swollen vulva: When a female dog enters her heat cycle, the vulva swells and may appear quite red.

• Bleeding from the vulva: During the heat cycle, female dogs will typically release a bloody discharge from their vulva.

• Urinating more frequently: Female dogs in heat tend to urinate more often, including marking their territory with urine.

• Flagging of the tail: Female dogs may raise their hindquarters and wag or “flag” their tail when they come into contact with male dogs.

• Behavioral changes: Female dogs in heat may become more affectionate, attention-seeking, and clingy. They may also display increased levels of energy or restlessness.

• Aggression towards other dogs: Female dogs in heat may become more aggressive towards other female dogs, or even male dogs.

It is important to note that different breeds of dog go into heat at different times depending on their size. Smaller breed dogs tend to enter their first heat cycle at around six months of age, while larger breeds may not reach sexual maturity until they are two or three years old. If you have any questions about when your dog will go into her first heat cycle, it is best to consult your veterinarian for more information.

How Can I Tell if My Dog Is in Heat?

If your female dog is exhibiting any of the above signs, it is likely that she is entering her heat cycle. However, if you are still unsure whether or not your dog is in heat it is best to take her to the vet for a checkup. The veterinarian will be able to determine if she is in fact in heat and provide you with the appropriate advice for caring for her during this time.

It is also important to note that it is illegal in many places to breed a female dog who has not yet gone into heat, so it is best to check your local laws before attempting to do so.

Can a Dog Get Pregnant While She’s in Heat? 

Yes, a dog can get pregnant while she is in heat. Female dogs typically go into heat twice a year and during this period they are most fertile and receptive to mating. 

If a female dog is not spayed and is allowed to mate with a male dog during her heat cycle, there is a possibility that she can become pregnant. It is important to note that the risk of pregnancy is higher if a female dog mates with multiple males. 

Therefore, it is important to practice responsible pet ownership and provide adequate supervision when your dog is in heat. 

Though it may be hard to resist allowing your pup to “do her thing” during her heat cycle, it is best to keep her away from all intact males so as to prevent accidental pregnancies. 

If you are not planning on breeding your dog, it is also important to have her spayed, which prevents any chance of pregnancy. 

 What Can I Do to Help My Dog During Heat?

If you have a female dog who is in heat, there are several steps you can take to help her get through this time.

First, make sure that she has access to plenty of fresh, cold water at all times. This will help keep her cool and hydrated during the hottest days of the season. You might also consider investing in a cooling mat or dog bed to help keep her body temperature regulated.

Second, provide your dog with plenty of exercise and playtime during the day. This can help tire her out, making it easier for her to stay cool when she’s not active.

Third, watch out for signs that she’s overheating. This can include excessive panting, drooling, sluggishness, and/or vomiting. If you notice these signs, get her to a cool area immediately.

Finally, keep your dog away from male dogs during the heat cycle. This is important for preventing unplanned pregnancies and for keeping her stress levels down. If you have a male dog, consider keeping them separated for the duration of her heat cycle.

By following these simple tips, you can help your dog get through her heat cycle calmly and comfortably.

What Should I Do If My Dog Gets Pregnant While in Heat?

If your female dog does become pregnant while in heat, it is important to make sure she receives proper care throughout the pregnancy. This includes regular check-ups from the veterinarian, a balanced diet, and plenty of rest.

It is also important to ensure that your female pet has access to a safe and quiet place where she can give birth. This can be anything from a box or crate to an outdoor kennel, as long as she is not disturbed by people or other animals during this time.

Finally, make sure you have enough supplies on hand for the puppies once they are born including blankets, towels, food and water dishes, and toys.

What Should I Do If My Dog Is in Heat and I Want to Breed Her?

If you have decided to breed your dog, there are several things you should do. First, you will need to make sure she is in good health and physically able to carry a litter of puppies safely. You may want to visit a veterinarian for a pre-breeding examination; this can help identify any potential issues that could affect the pregnancy such as infection or reproductive diseases.

You will also need to determine if your dog is ready for breeding, which can be done by observing her behavior and body language. Signs of heat include restlessness, panting, excessive licking of the genitals, and a reddening or swelling of the vulva area.

Once you have determined that your dog is ready for breeding, you will need to find an appropriate mate. This can be done through a breeder or a stud service where you can find a suitable and healthy stud dog. You should also consider obtaining a pre-breeding evaluation from the stud’s veterinarian to ensure he is in good health and able to breed safely.

Finally, it is important to provide your dog with proper nutrition and care throughout the pregnancy. This includes plenty of rest, a balanced diet, exercise, and regular veterinary check-ups. Following these steps can help ensure that you have a safe and successful breeding experience.

My Dog Is in Heat and I Want to Spay Her, What Should I Do?

The most important thing you can do if your dog is in heat and you want to spay her is to talk to your veterinarian. They will be able to provide advice on the best course of action for your pet.

Your vet may suggest spaying before or after the heat cycle, as this can decrease certain risks associated with the procedure.

Your vet may also suggest waiting until your pet is done cycling before spaying to reduce the likelihood of any complications. If you have other pets in the home, they will likely recommend getting them all spayed at the same time to help prevent accidental breeding.

In addition, your veterinarian can discuss pain management options to ensure that your pet is comfortable throughout the spaying procedure.

Overall, speaking with your veterinarian is the best way to determine what course of action to take if you want to spay your dog while she’s in heat. Your vet will be able to provide advice on the best timing for the procedure and any additional steps you can take to keep your pet safe and comfortable.

FAQs of How Long Does a Dog Stay in Heat

How long does a dog stay in heat after bleeding stops?

Generally, a female dog’s heat cycle lasts an average of two to three weeks. After the bleeding stops, it may take several days for her to be back to her normal self. During this recovery period she will not want to be bred and should not be allowed outdoors unsupervised as she could attract unwanted attention from male dogs.

Her sexual cycle is usually over within two weeks of the bleeding stopping. However, some dogs may take longer to get back to their normal state depending on the individual dog and her background.

Can i take my dog for a walk when she is in heat?

No, it is not recommended to take a dog for a walk when she is in heat. It can be dangerous because other male dogs can sense the hormones from female dogs and may become unruly and possibly aggressive.

Keeping your dog inside during her heat cycle will help ensure her safety as well as other animals nearby. If you do need to take her out for a walk, use a leash and stay in a secure area. Additionally, make sure you have treats on hand to distract the male dogs that may be around. Taking these precautions will help to keep your dog safe during her heat cycle.

If your dog does go into heat while outside, remove her immediately and take her home. Give her a bath and keep her in a secure area until she is out of heat. Also, check to make sure the area where you took your dog for a walk is clean and free of any debris or other dogs that may have been attracted by the hormones your dog was emitting. Taking these steps will help to ensure the safety of your dog and the other animals in the area.

How long does a female dog take to recover from being spayed?

The recovery period following spaying can vary from dog to dog and depends on several factors, such as the age of the pup, the type of anesthesia used, and how complicated the procedure was.

Generally speaking, most female dogs will take between two and four weeks to fully heal after they are spayed. During this time it is important to keep your pup as quiet and inactive as possible to allow for proper healing. 

You should also avoid bathing or swimming your pup during this time, and make sure she does not have access to any strenuous activity that may put strain on the incision area. 

Following the surgery, it is important to monitor your pup for signs of infection such as excessive licking or swelling at the incision site. If any of these symptoms occur, it is important to contact your veterinarian for further advice. With proper care and attention, most female dogs will make a full recovery within four weeks of being spayed. 

Do female dogs change after being spayed?

Yes, female dogs can change after being spayed. Spaying is the surgical removal of a female dog’s reproductive organs and is an important part of responsible pet ownership. After being spayed, some female dogs may become calmer and more docile due to a decrease in hormones associated with heat cycles. Additionally, there are health benefits associated with spaying a female dog, including reducing the risk of mammary and reproductive tract diseases.

What is the best age to spay a dog?

There is no definitive answer to this question as the best age to spay a dog can vary depending on the individual dog and its health. However, most veterinarians recommend spaying a dog before its first heat cycle, which typically occurs between 6 and 12 months of age. This ensures that the dog does not become pregnant and also reduces the risk of certain health issues that can arise later in life.

While there may be some circumstances in which it is beneficial to delay spaying until after the dog has had its first heat, this should only be done under the guidance of a veterinarian. In any case, it’s important to spay or neuter your pet before they reach 6 months of age. Doing so will help to ensure the health and longevity of your pet.

Is it better to spay after first heat?

It is generally recommended to spay a female dog before her first heat, as this can reduce the risk of certain health issues and prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, if for some reason you are unable to do so, it may still be beneficial to spay after the first heat.

Spaying after the first heat may provide additional protection against certain reproductive diseases, as it gives the vet an opportunity to observe the dog’s behavior during a heat cycle. Additionally, spaying after the first heat can reduce the risk of mammary tumors and other types of cancer that are associated with prolonged exposure to high levels of hormones.


In conclusion, the answer to the question of “How long does a dog stay in heat?” depends on several factors. As a general guideline, female dogs typically remain in heat for about 2-4 weeks, although this can vary depending on the individual and breed of dog. Some breeds may go into heat earlier or later than others, and some may experience longer or shorter heat cycles.

Additionally, factors such as age, health, and environment can all affect the length of a dog’s heat cycle. As always, it is best to consult with your veterinarian for any questions or concerns regarding your dog’s reproductive health.

We hope this post has helped answer some questions about the length of a dog’s heat cycle. Proper knowledge and understanding of this process can help ensure that your pet remains healthy and safe. Thank you for reading!

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To provide you with the expert assistance you need, Vet Ranch with licensed veterinarians can answer your health-related pet issues. For the purpose of sharing knowledge with each other, we have jointly created this website, where you can get useful information from us and also where we expand our knowledge through your comments from you.