How Long Are Dogs In Heat?

October 21, 2019

How Long Are Dogs In Heat?

Wondering how long your dog will stay in heat? 


From when your female dog is about six months of age, she starts her heat cycles that continue throughout her life. The dog will be in estrus once about every six months, and this is the period when she’s receptive to mating. 


A lot of hormonal changes take place during this time that causes pronounced differences that indicate your dog is in heat. This includes a swollen vulva, frequent urination, bleeding, increased nervousness, and alertness. 


In this blog post, I will answer the question, “How long are dogs in heat?”in as much detail as I can. 


So, without any further ado, let’s jump right in, shall we? 


Let’s start. 

Getting Familiar With Estrus

In this section of the blog, I will go through the commonly asked questions in detail to help you understand the dog heat cycles better. 


Let’s start. 

When Do the Heat Cycles Start?

Dogs can go into heat when they are as young as six months old if they are of a smaller breed---the average, however, is the age of six months. On the other hand, giant breed dogs go into heat as late as 18-24 months. 


It is important to note that you should not breed your dog in the first cycle because the dog is still growing and is a puppy. 


You should wait for the second or the third cycle to breed your dog. The vet will help you determine the right age. 

How Long Are Dogs in Heat? 

The period of heat usually lasts between 2-4 weeks. 


During the early phase of the cycle, the female dog may not be receptive to male dogs. However, there are some that are receptive regardless of the phase. The cycle can be shorter or longer. 


The only effective way to know is when the vulva returns to its normal size and there’s no discharge or bleeding. 


It is important to note that there is a small window when your dog is most fertile during the heat cycle. But, she can still get pregnant until the end of the cycle.

Does it Stop? Or Is It a Lifetime Thing? 

Once the estrus begins, it usually takes awhile for the cycles to become regular. 


For some dogs, it can take up to eighteen months until their cycle gets regular. Keeping a record of the cycle during the early days is a good idea. Once the cycle becomes regular, your dog will get into heat once in every six months on an average. 


Of course, it all depends on various facts such as breed, nutrition, health, etc. 


Small breed dogs go into heat at a frequent rate and can go into estrus three to four times a year. However, large dog breeds like St. Bernards, Great Danes, and Irish Wolfhounds go into heat less frequently at about every 12-18 months. 


Female dogs get estrus throughout their lives. 


However, the time between two heat cycles increases as they age. It is best to get your dog spayed to avoid unwanted litters. Spaying also reduces the risk of mammary cancer and other conditions in females. 


Final Words: How Long Are Dogs in Heat? 

When female dogs are about six months in age, they start with their first heat cycle which is also known as estrus which starts happening once every six months or so. This usually depends on a lot of other factors as well. 


On an average, a female dog is in heat for 2-4 weeks.


During the early phase of the cycle, the female dog may not be receptive to male dogs. However, there are some that are receptive regardless of the phase. The cycle can be shorter or longer. 


The only effective way to know is when the vulva returns to its normal size, and there’s no discharge or bleeding. 


For some dogs, it can take up to eighteen months until their cycle gets regular. Keeping a record of the cycle during the early days is a good idea. Once the cycle becomes regular, your dog will get into heat once in every six months on an average. 


Still, do you have any questions? If so, let me know in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


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