There’s an old saying about a man trying to pick up women in the bar that he’s “prancing around here like a dog in heat”. Ironically, ‘in heat’, or Estrus, refers to the time in which a female dog’s reproductive system is receptive to mating. The term ‘in heat’ probably got associated with frolicking male bar-goers because the dog owner will notice that their feline’s demeanor will change while she’s in Estrus which could include being more alert and nervous in addition to lifting her behind towards male dogs or holding her tail to the side. Owners will also almost definitely notice that their female dogs start ‘humping’ or riding almost everything in the house which could eventually have them asking, “just how long does a dog stay in heat.”
When Does The Estrus Cycle Start In Dogs
A female dog will show the first signs of being in heat somewhere between 6 months and 2 years of age. Smaller dogs such as Terriers, Poodles, and Dachschunds will start showing signs of heat closer to the 6 month mark while larger dogs like a Bloodhound or German Shephard more after a year and a half. It’s very important that care is taken to make sure a female doesn’t get bred on her very first heat as the eggs are still immature. For that matter breeding on the second heat is not recommended whereas the third cycle is ideal.
How Long Does The Heat Last?
The dog’s Estrus cycle has a natural progression that will be more noticeable after each time in heat. The first few days will involve swelling of the girl’s Vulva and a bloody vaginal discharge. The early stages of heat will last up to 9 to 15 days and the female dog may seem miserable and will be resistant to male dogs, even though the male will still be attracted to the female. After two weeks the vaginal discharge will clear up or stop altogether and the female will then seek out the male and become more receptive. This second phase lasts from a few days up til around 10 for a definitive answer of how long does a dog stay in heat being 18-24 days.
How Often Will a Dog Go In Heat?
Dogs will go into heat twice a year with the second Estrus cycle coming 5-6 months after the first. One unique difference between dogs and humans is that if left unspayed the female dog will go into heat her entire life as they do not experience any sort of menopause. As a dog gets older her Estrus will have longer cycles in between and it’s a general health rule that a dog shouldn’t breed more than two litters. In fact, there’s no real health reason that a dog needs to go into heat at all in her life. Spaying can be done at around 2 months and helps reduce the risk of mammary cancers later in life, limits the probability of uterine tract infections, and helps control pet overpopulation. Spaying the dog also prevents it from venturing out of the yard to seek a mate where she could get hit by a car or suffer some other unwanted fate.
Other Dog Resources:
- webmd.com – dog health center