When Do Female Dogs Go Into Heat? Here’s How To Prepare

When do female dogs go into heat? That’s what we’re going to find out today. We’ll give you all the info you need along with some great tips.

Female dogs first go into heat at around six months of age. This can be sooner for smaller dogs and a little later for bigger pooches. Once female pooches reach puberty then they will go into heat approximately once every six months, but this can be irregular in their first few years of life.

While those are the basics, you need to know a lot more. Here we’ll go through how to know when your dog is going into heat, what you should do and whether or not you should spay them. By the time you get to the end you’ll know all the key facts about your female dog and its estrus cycle.

What Are The Signs That Your Dog Is Going Into Heat?

Although there may be some differences depending on the breed, most female dogs show distinctive signs when going into heat. These signs include a large, swollen, and bleeding vulva, and licking their rear end more than usual.

Other signs include frequent urination, and moving the tail to one side when touched. Some female dogs will also display an overall anxious behavior, begin nesting, and if they have a chance to do so, they will roam and mount other dogs.

How Long Does A Dog In Heat Bleed?

Female dogs in heat tend to bleed for approximately 7 to 10 days, in varying degrees. Some dogs bleed very heavily, while for others, the bleeding is barely noticeable around the vulva.

The bleeding is usually more intense in the first 2 or 3 days and then slows down. Around Day 7 to 8, the vaginal discharge also tends to change color from a bright red to brownish or straw color.

Image from Instagram:@elvi_the_silly_papillon

Do Dogs Bleed The Whole Time They Are In Heat?

Your dog will not bleed for the whole time they are in heat. The period of heat for female dogs usually lasts for 3 to 4 weeks, but your dog will bleed only during the first phase, where its body is preparing to mate.

Can A Dog Bleed Longer Than 10 Days?

On rare occasions, the bleeding phase can last up to 20 days, but even with these dogs, the intense bleeding period usually lasts for no more than 10 days. After this, the discharge becomes watery and slowly disappears.

Will My Dog Change After Her First Heat?

Due to the sudden influx of hormones when they go into heat and until their hormone level returns to normal your dog may display some behavioral changesSome female dogs tend to remain anxious and uninterested in previous activities for a long time after their first heat.

Laziness and the remaining tendency to nesting can be the signs of false pregnancy. Your dog also may become more nurturing and attached to its human family, but keep displaying aggressive behavior towards other female dogs.

What Do I Do When My Female Dog Is In Heat?

Having a dog in heat can be challenging, but there are a couple things you can do to make this time as easy as possible for you and your dog. First and foremost, you should ensure your dog is microchipped and has all its information up to date.

Although a little less frequently than males, female dogs tend to roam. If yours happens to run away, it will be much easier to find it with legible, updated ID tags and current microchip contact info.

If you are able to, walk your female dog in heat a couple of times a day, and always for short periods at a time. Never let the dog off the leash, no matter how obedient she is usually. If you come across a male dog, the hormones during heat can drive even the best breed dog wayward.

When it comes to dealing with a dog in heat in your home, you should also pay attention to a couple of things. For example, leaving your dog out in the yard can be risky as male dogs have a very intense drive to find females emitting breeding pheromones.

Also, as your dog will bleed at the beginning of its cycle, you may have to limit your dog’s access to certain areas of your home, and be prepared to clean up blood stains more often during this period.

When mixed with water, cleaning agents, such as hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar and baking soda, are great in removing blood stains off soiled fabric. Alternatively, consider the diaper solution, especially for hyperactive female dogs, to keep the stains under control.

Image from Instagram:@ivytheshih

What Is The Best Diaper For Dogs In Heat?

If you absolutely can’t keep your dog off the carpets, sofas, and bedding, you will have to find another solution to catch the blood. Towels may work for this purpose, but if your dogs don’t move around a lot.

If they do, using dog nappies like Paw Inspired Disposable Female Dog Diapers may present an even better solution to prevent them from smearing everything.

You should also watch your dog for any health issues they may experience during or after their heat cycle. As the thickening of their uterine lining creates the ideal environment for bacterial growth, dogs can easily develop pyometra or uterine infection.

If your dog shows symptoms, such as excessive drinking, fever, continued vaginal discharge, decreased appetite, and lethargy during or after heat, please consult your vet as soon as possible.

Can A Dog Be Fixed While In Heat?

Yes, it’s possible to spay a female dog in heat. However, while many vets will spay a dog while in heat, they generally recommend against it due to the risk of serious complications.

So, while the procedure is possible, you should be aware that there are higher than normal risks associated with fixing a dog in heat. During this period, your dog’s body is going through some intense hormonal changes, which can affect the outcome of the surgical procedure.

If you feel it’s necessary to do so, spaying should be done at the end of the cycle, provided the dog isn’t pregnant by this time.

How Long Do You Have To Wait To Spay A Dog After Heat?

Most veterinarians advise spaying your dog as soon as it’s safe after heat if you haven’t done it beforehand. This considerably lowers the risks of cancer and infection in the dog’s genital area. With that being said, they also recommend waiting for 2 to 3 months after heat to perform spaying.

By this time, your dog’s hormonal levels should return to normal levels, and their body will be able to recover completely from the surgery. However, should your dog become pregnant during their cycle, you will have to wait around 12 weeks after she delivers the puppies to spay her.

This is a safe period to wait because during this time, her hormones will be directed toward nurturing the puppies, and she will not go into heat again.

The Last Heat Cycle

Dogs that have not been spayed will continue to have heat cycles for their entire lives until they either get fixed or pregnant. Older female dogs may not have heat cycles as often as younger ones do, and the intensity of the bleeding also decreases over time.

The hormonal imbalance also has fewer effects on your dog as it gets older, making heat sometimes harder to notice. If you see a total lack of heat signs in your female dog, there may be some underlying issues that may cause concerns, and it’s a good idea to consult your vet about it.

Avatar photo
Pete Decker