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How Long Does A Dog Stay In Heat? Find Out Here

By
 Danica Rojero 
on 
May 16, 2021

It is often asked how long does a dog stay in heat. The dog's heat cycle is due to the hormonal changes that affect the reproductive organs of the female dog.

At the onset of the heat cycle, the dog's reproductive organs prepare for fertilization, in other words - mating with male dogs.

In the animal kingdom, female dogs go into heat once a month. Their estrus cycle is around 18 days long, though the length can vary depending on the breed, and they are fertile between days 10 and 18.

Fortunately, dogs can be spayed at any age, provided they are healthy. Spaying a dog before her first heat prevents her from going into heat altogether, and with no heat to worry about, she can have puppies whenever she's bred.

The main purpose of the heat cycle is to allow the female to release eggs and to prepare for the act of reproduction.

The canine reproductive cycle (also known as estrous cycle) lasts between 21 and 30 days. During this time, the female may experience behavioral changes, which may be quite pronounced in some cases.

Estrous Cycles in Dogs

When you’re a pet owner, it’s important to understand pet body language to avoid confusion. But it’s just as important to understand the language of the opposite sex too! Estrous cycles in dogs are a great example of this. When dogs are in heat, their behavior can change dramatically from one day to the next. 

Estrous cycles are the monthly sexual cycles in female dogs and are usually associated with signs of reproductive readiness. However, there are variations in cycles and signs of estrus (the term for the most fertile stage of the cycle in dogs) across a dog’s lifetime.

Dogs in Heat: Top 7 Things to Know

If you have a dog that's in heat, you're probably well aware how annoying the situation can be: your dog is constantly whining, yelping, and howling, and the smell of her over-flowing estrogen is turning your house into a breeding ground for flies.

This is a big problem, because if you can't get her in control, it's likely that other dogs will start sniffing her out, and she'll end up pregnant.  Fortunately, there are a variety of things you can do to help control your dog.

1. A dog heat cycle only happens once or twice a year.

A female dog's heat cycle is a normal part of her reproductive system and is triggered by hormones. Her estrus period, or heat cycle, is approximately six months apart and lasts for three weeks to a month.

Most fertile dogs will exhibit a heat cycle once or twice a year, depending on the breed. While the process is natural, it can be difficult and very expensive to deal with if your dog has no owner. If you are the owner of a dog, you should be aware of the signs of a heat cycle so that you can deal with it effectively.

2. Dogs in heat should stay away from intact male dogs for 3 to 4 weeks.

Dogs in heat should stay away from intact male dogs for 3 to 4 weeks.  In the majority of cases, the only thing that will prevent a female dog from getting pregnant is for her not to be sexually active at all for a period of time.  

If you have a female dog that is in heat, the best thing to do is to keep her away from male dogs, and away from places where she may come into contact with them.

3. Don't think you're in the clear once the bleeding stops.

While it might seem that once the bleeding stops during dog heat, you are in the clear, the truth is that you should continue to monitor your dog during this time.

After the bleeding ends, your dog will still be in heat for up to seven more days, which means that she will continue to attract males and will be more vulnerable to infections.

4. The bleeding from dogs in heat isn't as bad as you might think.

Many dog owners are concerned about the bloody discharge that dogs in heat experience. The truth is you don't have to worry about that much—it’s not as bad as you might think. The bleeding is just a sign that your dog is ready to mate, and it’s not dangerous at all.

Many dogs experience vaginal bleeding when they're in heat and it’s normal of them to get this discharge. If they don't bleed, it could be a cause for concern.

The bleeding from dogs in heat isn't as bad as you might think. dog heat. In fact, it's no big deal. The bleeding from dogs in heat usually only lasts for a few days to a week, and it's usually more of a brown rather than a red color.

This makes sense, since it's basically a mix of the blood and the internal discharge from the uterus. Unfortunately, menstruation-like bleeding is the only sign of heat you'll see in dogs, but they'll have a lot of swelling and discharge from the vagina, which may be brown or yellow, and the discharge will be stinky and thick.

5. Don't delay scheduling your dog's spay.

Though it is not an unpleasant procedure for your dog, the spay surgery can be risky. It is also an expensive procedure. Research shows that dog spaying surgery can cost owners up to $600, and that is not including wellness checks, vaccinations, and other services.

These prices vary by veterinarian and area.  Furthermore, spaying your dog has many benefits. Not only does it keep your pet from getting pregnant, but it also prevents them from developing mammary cancer as well as uterine infections.

Just as you wouldn't want to schedule an emergency surgery and give your dog anesthesia during the summer, it's not a good idea to schedule a spay during the peak of your dog's heat cycle. If you plan to spay your dog, you should schedule it at least a week before any heat cycles, but ideally you should schedule it at the end of the cycle.

6. Pyometra is another danger for female dogs who aren't spayed.

A dog who is not spayed will have an increased risk of developing pyometra. If this happens, it can become a serious health issue.

Pyometra occurs most often in dogs over the age of 6, but younger dogs can also get it. The condition is more common in purebred dogs, such as some small breeds.

Most female dogs will get spayed before they are 6 years old. The risk is higher for adult dogs, because the longer they are not spayed, the higher the risk of pyometra.

7. Dogs in heat know when they are in heat and fertile and when they are not.

Dogs in heat know when they are in heat and fertile and when they are not. They can tell the difference. What makes them able to do this?

The difference in their hormones. Technically, estrus is the period of time in which a female dog is fertile. This is during her estrous cycle when she is known as "in heat".

Because a female dog can be in heat up to twice a year, it is possible for her to get pregnant more than once a year.

The most common way to discern whether a girl is in heat is to take her temperature rectally. A dog's normal temperature is between 100-102 degrees F. When she is in heat, her temperature will be at least 103 degrees F.

Last Words

For most of the year, female dogs have a body temperature that's about three to four degrees higher than male dogs. But when they go into heat (also known as estrus or the "heat cycle"), there are some noticeable differences. During this time, a dog's body temperature will rise even more. This will typically happen once or twice a year, and the heat cycle typically lasts around two weeks. However, some dogs may experience several heat cycles a year.

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