How Long Are Dogs in Heat?

Dogs grow up so fast, not only physically but also cognitively. As soon as a puppy is brought into the world, its instincts begin deepening, unquestionably the survival one. Reproduction is an essential tool that dogs naturally use to maintain their kind.
Female dogs take on a major part of the responsibility. When heat occurs, it marks a female dog’s readiness to practice one of her natural duties. The following is all that you need to know to better understand such a phenomenon.

How Long Are Dogs in Heat?

Every cycle of heat or estrus that a female dog goes through lasts between 1 ½ and two weeks. However, that period can be prolonged (up to 4 weeks), depending on a dog’s size and health condition. The bigger a dog is, the longer the heat continues.

What You Need to Know About Dogs in Heat

Estrus signifies a female dog’s reaching maturity and being ready to reproduce. It’s always advised to be prepared when to expect heat, especially if it's a first-time occurrence. That's through recognizing the symptoms by which you can tell it’s happening.

First Time

You should expect your canine to have her first season when she’s around six months of age (around 4 in smaller breeds and up to 2 years in larger ones). At this stage, female dogs can get pregnant as soon as they have their first estrous cycle.
However, most vets recommend waiting till the second cycle so that eggs are mature enough and potential health risks are avoided.


Female dogs display signs that indicate they’re going into heat. Initial recognition of these signs should aid you in following up with the physical and emotional changes happening to your pet. Here are some typical symptoms to take into your consideration:
  • Vaginal engorgement (2 or three times bigger)
  • Bloody discharge
  • Unusual licking of the vaginal area
  • Urinating more often

Relative Symptoms

  • Aggression
  • Low energy level
  • Affection and clinginess.
  • Increased anxiety
  • Grumpiness
  • Appetite changes (hungrier or loss of appetite)

How to Deal With Your Dog’s Heat

An estrous cycle or heat is a hard time for either a dog or an owner. We can’t turn a blind eye to how messy and lengthy it is or the risks it holds. There are a couple of options for dealing with your dog’s heat.


Dogs' overpopulation is a grave matter that you don’t want to add to. So, you should consider having your dog spayed to avoid any mismating, undesired pregnancies, and potentially some diseases.
According to ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), 3.1 million dogs are sheltered yearly, and 390.000 unadopted shelter dogs get euthanized regardless of their health condition.
Despite the rumors, spaying your female dog has medical and behavioral benefits. The following are some of the perks of getting your dog spayed.
  • Lower the risk of uterine diseases by 50%.
  • No urinating everywhere, whether for marking territories or inviting mates.
  • Avoid mammary tumors that can be cancerous.
Here are also some Q&As that may resolve your questions.

Is It Expensive to Spay/Neuter a Dog?

No, it costs something between $150 and $240 at spaying/neutering clinics, which is way less than the cost of caring for a litter, or you can find it for free or at a reduced cost at SPCA organizations.

When Should a Dog Be Spayed?

It’s a myth that dogs should be sterilized after their first heat. Most veterinarians advise that a dog should be spayed anytime before 6 or 7 months old. However, it depends completely on the doggy’s health, size, and breed. Accordingly, always check with your vet prior to any decision.

Do Dogs Get Aggressive After being Spayed?

No, this is quite dependent on every female dog’s personality, environment, and owner.

Taking The Risk

Heat cycles take up to 18 months before they become regular, thus predictable. Before that, your furry one can go into heat at various times a year, increasing the risk of her mis-mating with another dog and having an unwanted litter. So if you’re not a fan of the first option, the following are some tips that can help both of you to survive a heat cycle safely.
  • Keep a record of your dog’s heat cycles.
  • Be ready for lots of cuddles.
  • Consider investing in a blankie and a diaper.
  • Have handy wipes to clean blood drops (rapidly before they stick to your furniture).
  • Always keep an eye on her while she’s off-leash.
  • Expect aggression from male dogs that can sense a female dog in heat.
  • Make sure she’s properly fed and keep her hydrated.
It’s understandable such periods can be overwhelming, especially when things get out of control. Over here are some related points that may concern you.

When Is the Best Time for Breeding Your Dog?

If you’re a breeder or an owner who’s expanding the pack, you should be aware that there’s a particular phase during a heat cycle that’s best for breeding. Let’s go through it step by step to thoroughly comprehend the process.
  • Proestrus Stage. There’s a bloody vaginal discharge that attracts male dogs, but she’s unwilling to mate yet. (7 - 10 days)
  • Estrus Stage. There’s a yellowish or pinkish discharge. Her interest in males increases; she’s prepared to mate. (5 - 10 days)
  • Diestrus Stage. This is the period of rest or the after-mating phase when symptoms subside, and it’s determined whether pregnancy takes place or not. (10 - 140 days)
  • Anestrus Stage. This is the period of inactivity before every cycle. (up to 6 months)

How To Know When a Dog’s Heat Is Over

Some owners think a cycle is over when the bleeding stops. However, discharge can be unnoticeable, which actually remarks the most fertile time of the cycle.
Keeping track of the different phases of an estrous cycle and marking them down on a calendar is a more accurate way to identify if a dog is out of the heat. Other signs can be:
  • Vulva’s returning to its average size
  • Less nervousness
  • Loss of interest in male dogs
  • Better mood

What If My Dog Mismated With Another?

If, at any stage, you’ve found out that your innocent-looking doggy has mated with another dog, it’s advised not to lose your sanity. Ask your vet if they offer mismating injections, and make sure you do that before more than two days have passed.


Our furry companions are constantly willing to cheer us up and protect us 24/7. Paying extra attention to them in their times of need is the least we can do to pay them back. Every so often, we call them our emotional support, and they call us “woof, woof”.