All About Heat in a Dog: How Long It Lasts and Behavior

Todo Sobre el Celo en una Perra: Cuánto dura y Comportamiento

Welcome to Waggy's Blog! On this occasion, we delve into a topic that concerns all responsible pet owners: heat in our beloved four-legged companions. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the heat cycle in dogs and how to manage it effectively to ensure the well-being and health of your pet. Let's get started!

When does a dog go into heat?

The onset of heat in female dogs can vary depending on factors such as breed and size, but generally begins between six and twelve months of age. In smaller breeds like mini toy dogs , it can start even earlier, around six months, while in larger breeds it can be a little later, around twelve months or even later. However, it is important to remember that every dog ​​is different, so it is essential to observe physical signs and her dog language to determine when her heat begins.

Phases of a dog in heat

A dog's heat cycle is generally divided into four phases:

  • Proestrus: This is the initial phase of the heat cycle. During proestrus, the female may show changes in behavior, such as nervousness, agitation, and increased attention toward males. There may also be slight vaginal bleeding, although not all dogs bleed during this phase. Proestrus can last around 7 to 10 days.

Some other symptoms may be:

  • The ovary prepares to ovulate.
  • The vulva becomes inflamed due to the action of estrogen.
  • Vulvar bleeding appears, rich in pheromones, which is what attracts males.
  • Urinate more, to spread your pheromones.
  • To stay clean, your dog will lick herself frequently.
  • At the end of proestrus, bleeding slows, marking the beginning of the next phase.
  • Estrus: During this phase, the female is receptive to reproduction. Vaginal bleeding may become lighter or even stop completely, and the female may allow males to mount her. This phase usually lasts around 5 to 9 days, although it can vary depending on the dog.

Some other symptoms may be:

  • She will be very receptive and more nervous than usual, restless.
  • To show its vulva, it will make its back stiff and put its tail to one side.
  • The vulvar discharge becomes a little clearer.
  • Diestrus: After estrus, the female enters the diestrus phase, where her body prepares for possible pregnancy. During this phase, the female is no longer receptive to reproduction and may reject males. This phase lasts approximately 60 to 90 days, regardless of whether the female is carrying cubs or not.

Some other symptoms:

  • The female will not be sexually receptive and the males will not be attracted to her either.
  • He will show little or no interest in male dogs.
  • Anestrus: This is the final phase of the heat cycle, where the female is hormonally inactive and shows no signs of heat. It can last several months until the next heat cycle. During anestrus, there is no ovarian activity or sexual interest on the part of the female, and males are not attracted to her. This is an ideal stage to consider spaying the dog, as the surgical risks are lower due to lower levels of sex hormones.

It is important to note that the duration and symptoms of each phase may vary between individual dogs and that the length of the entire cycle may vary depending on breed and other factors.

Behavior of a dog in heat

  • Increased attention towards males: During proestrus and estrus, the bitch may show increased interest in males. He may seek your attention, follow you, and exhibit courtship behaviors.
  • Agitation or nervousness: Some dogs may become more agitated or nervous during the heat cycle. They may be restless, have trouble concentrating, or be more anxious than normal.

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  • Territory marking: The dog may mark her territory with urine more frequently during heat. This is a form of communication to attract males and establish their presence.
  • Changes in appetite: Some dogs may experience changes in their appetite during the heat cycle. They may eat more or less than usual.
  • Increased vocalization: Some dogs may become more vocal during heat. They may bark, whine, or howl more frequently, especially if they are trying to get the attention of males.
  • Protective or territorial behavior: Some dogs may become more protective of their territory or potential puppies during heat. They may show more aggressive behavior towards other animals or people who get too close.

How many times a year is a dog in heat?

On average, female dogs experience heat twice a year. This means that each full heat cycle occurs approximately every six months. It is important to note that some dogs may have more regular heat cycles, while others may experience variations in cycle length or frequency. Additionally, spaying a dog can affect her heat cycle, as in many cases it completely eliminates her ability to come into heat.

How long does a dog last in heat?

The length of heat in a female dog can vary, but in general, the entire heat cycle, which includes all phases (proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus), can last about three weeks in total. It is important to note that these are averages and the exact length of the heat cycle can vary depending on the individual dog, breed, and other factors. It is always helpful to observe your dog's specific physical and behavioral signs to determine where she is in her heat cycle.

How long does the bleeding of a dog in heat last?

Bleeding in a dog during heat usually occurs during the initial phase of the cycle, known as proestrus. The duration and amount of bleeding can vary from dog to dog, but it typically lasts about 7 to 10 days on average. It is important to note that not all dogs bleed during their heat, and some may have very light bleeding or even show no visible signs of bleeding at all.

How to treat a dog in heat? Tips

  1. During heat, a female dog may be more likely to escape in search of a male. Be sure to keep it in a safe, fenced area when outdoors, and avoid leaving it unattended.
  2. If there are unneutered males in the area, keep your dog away from them to prevent unwanted mating. This may include avoiding areas where other dogs congregate, such as dog parks.
  3. During heat, the dog may show behavioral changes, such as agitation, nervousness, or increased attention toward males. Keep a watchful eye on her and make sure she is safe and comfortable.
  4. If your dog is bleeding during proestrus, you can use pads designed specifically for dogs to help keep her clean and comfortable. These are available at pet stores or online.
  5. If you have questions or concerns about your dog's heat or are considering spaying, don't hesitate to talk to your veterinarian. They can offer you specific guidance and recommendations based on your pet's individual needs.

What should you avoid doing with a jealous dog?

  • Do not allow mating: If you do not intend to breed your dog, it is important to avoid mating during her heat. This means keeping her away from unneutered males and not allowing her to breed, unless you have a responsible breeding plan and are prepared to care for the puppies.
  • Avoid stress and overstimulation: During heat, the dog may be more sensitive and susceptible to stress. Avoid stressful or overstimulating situations that may cause anxiety or discomfort.
  • Do not punish her for natural behaviors: It is important to understand that the behaviors a female dog exhibits during heat, such as increased attention toward males or agitation, are natural and part of her reproductive cycle. Avoid punishing your dog for these behaviors and instead provide extra support and care or learn how to punish a dog effectively.
  • Don't neglect her hygiene: During heat, it is important to maintain your dog's hygiene to prevent infections and keep her comfortable.


Heat in our pets is a natural and normal process that requires additional attention and care from the owners. It is essential to understand the different aspects of the heat cycle, from the physical and behavioral changes to the precautions necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of our pets. By providing proper care during this period, we can help keep our pets happy, healthy, and safe throughout their lives.

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