How Often are Dogs in Heat

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How Often are Dogs in Heat

When a dog is in heat, it is ready to breed naturally and its whole body, its pheromones and its instincts are tuned so to expand the pack. This makes a dog's heat period a delicate time. It is important that you know your dog's heat cycle so you can help at this point in its life, when its behavior varies and its senses are sharpened; obviously, males and females live their heat cycles very differently, so, in this OneHowTo article we explain how often dogs are in heat so you can be prepared.

You may also be interested in: What Are The Symptoms Of A Female Dog In Heat
Steps to follow:

A dog experiences its first heat cycle between 6 months of age and a year. It is known that smaller dog breeds have their first heat cycle earlier and so larger breeds can see their cycle extended to 12 or 14 months. The exact time when your dog will have its first cycle can not predict because it depends on many factors such as:

  • The breed
  • Genetic background
  • Environmental factors
  • Etc.
How Often are Dogs in Heat - Step 1

But, how often is a dog in heat? It is important to understand that every animal is different and has its own cycles and times. However, it is true that the average frequency is 1 heat cycle every six months, so we can generalize that a female dog is in heat 2 times a year.

This information is only a generalization as it may be that the cycle is roughly every 8 months or every 5 months, the important thing is that when your dog is on heat you monitor the cycle so to be prepared for the next time.

How Often are Dogs in Heat - Step 2

Contrary to what happens to cats, if you notice a short heat cycle in your dog, i.e. every 3 or 4 months, you should take her to a veterinarian for tests to determine whether there is any disease that leading to this high frequency. It may be that your pet has polycystic ovaries, so it is essential that a doctor examine the dog.

How Often are Dogs in Heat - Step 3

It is important that you know what the symptoms are of a female dog in heat so you understand the process your pet goes through and so you understand her behaviour. The heat cycle of these animals is divided into three parts, which are:

  • Proestrus: Lasts 7 to 10 days and the symptoms your dog will present will be a swollen vulva and bleeding. At this point in the cycle your bitch will not want to mate.
  • Oestrus: The duration is between 5-15 days and it is at this time when the female dog accepts mating with the male, so if you want your dog to breed this is the time. At this stage your pet will be ovulating and will continue losing blood but in a lighter way.
  • Metaestrus: Lasts from 110 to 140 days and is the time that the animal rejects mating. If your dog has been impregnated, this is the time of gestation and lactation.
How Often are Dogs in Heat - Step 4

Your dog's behavior when in heat will be different to the usual. Notice that she urinates more frequently than usual, presents a nervous and agitated attitude and she will not be as loving as she is normally. It is important to try to reassure your pet with caresses, a calm atmosphere and some affectionate pampering. Physically you will see that she has swollen breasts and the vulva area will also be more inflated than usual; you will also observe bleeding from the vaginal area.

How Often are Dogs in Heat - Step 5

The heat cycle in male dogs is different from that of females. They do not have a specific period in which their body is predisposed to mate but get aroused when they smell particles let off by females in heat; as soon as they capture this smell, the male dogs will want to mount her and reproduce. You can detect that your male dog is in heat because it will get very nervous and it can even try to escape to find the female dog.

How Often are Dogs in Heat - Step 6

You should note that there is the possibility to sterilize your dog to avoid her becoming pregnant and this will make the signs of heat decreased considerably. In this OneHowTo article we tell you what the best age to neuter or spay your dog is.

How Often are Dogs in Heat - Step 7

If you want to read similar articles to How Often are Dogs in Heat, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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1 comment
richard P rogers
length of time for next heat post-partum?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Richard,

A dog can become pregnant again as soon as their reach their next heat cycle. Since this generally occurs twice a year and a dog's gestation of her puppies is about 2 months, a dog can expect to be fertile again around 4 months after giving birth. However, individuals can vary.

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