How Long Does A Dog Stay In Heat? (Detailed Guide)

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Like females in humans, female dogs also have a heat cycle, and they go through it twice a year. So, how long does a dog stay in heat?

Usually, a female dog’s estrus cycle has four stages, Proestrus, Estrus, Diestrus, and Anestrus. These stages show different physical conditions, and not all of them include bleeding. 

However, the duration of a dog’s bleeding and the total duration of the heat cycle varies and needs to be learned individually.

So, in this article, we have broken down the pointers below related to a dog’s heat cycle.

Let’s take a quick look!

How Long Does A Dog Stay In Heat? (2024)

A female dog’s heat cycle lasts up to 18 to 21 days each time, with a distance of 6 months in each cycle. Additionally, if your female dog is not spayed, then only she will go into heat twice a year.

Dog Stay In Heat

When Does The Estrus Cycle (Dog Period) Start?

Your dog’s Estrus cycle duration depends on your dog’s size. Generally, small dogs take about four months of age to get into heat. 

In comparison, large dog breeds need about 18 to 24 months to go into their heat cycle. 

However, you shouldn’t hope your dog gets pregnant after her first estrus cycle because their eggs are not fully developed in only one cycle. 

At least wait for the second cycle to be finished for a healthy pregnancy for your dog.

Four Stages Of The Estrus Cycle

There are four stages in the Estrus Cycles of a dog: Proestrus, Estrus, Diestrus, and Anestrus. Let’s take a look at each of them to understand the estrus cycle better:

Stages Of The Estrus Cycle

1. Proestrus

It takes approximately seven to ten days for the heat to start. The vulva begins to swell at this point, and your dog starts bleeding. She will begin to draw attention from male dogs, although she is not yet prepared to be a mate.

2. Estrus

Estrus is considered the mating period of a female dog. It takes about 5 to 10 days. In this period, the menstrual bleeding either reduces or stops. Hence, it becomes a perfect time for your dog to mate.

3. Diestrus

This stage can last approximately 10 to 140 days, in which your dog might be pregnant if she has mated or might just be resting without the stress of going in the heat.

4. Anestrus

This period is considered the downtime prior to the next heat cycle. It lasts about a duration of 6 months.

Signs Of A Dog In Heat

When a dog is in heat, you will notice that her vulva has swollen up and become bigger and red than usual when she goes through heat. Plus, she may discharge some blood from her vulva.

Signs Of A Dog In Heat

In addition, dogs bleed for only half the duration of their heat cycle, which is 7 to 10 days.

Furthermore, regarding behavioral signs, you will most likely see the following changes in your dog’s behavior:

  • Your female will try to be friends with other dogs.
  • She will seek a male dog as her mate.
  • Like male dogs, female dogs tend to hump in their heat cycle.
  • Your dog will keep fidgeting when facing sexual urges.

How Many Times Do Dogs Go In Heat, and for how many days?

As previously mentioned, a dog’s frequency of estrus cycle varies according to a dog’s size, age, and breed. 

If your female dog is not spayed, she will go through two heat cycles, or every six months, to be precise. Each cycle will last about 2 to 3 weeks. (or 10 to 18 days, as mentioned above)

Dogs Go In Heat

Although, these factors depend on your dog and her physical health. If she is not going in heat every six months, you should consult with a vet who will diagnose if her estrus cycle is inconsistent or if there is some other health issue.

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Wrapping Up! Dog stays in heat for 18 to 21 days

Now that you know how long a dog stays in heat, 18 to 21 days, you care for her closely during that period.

Some dog owners usually choose to get their dogs spayed because it gets hard for them to look after their dogs during the estrus cycle.

Also, be it a male dog or a female dog, spaying them can reduce their aggression, anxiety, and sexual urges. Further, it leads them to a healthier and stress-free life.

However, if you want to breed in the future, take care of your dog by providing her with a comfortable bed, treats, and healthy dog food.


Why do female dogs cry when in heat?

There are often instances when dogs try to be vocal when in heat and try to get their human’s attention by whining or crying.

Do dogs suffer from pain when in heat?

Usually, dogs don’t feel pain when they are in heat. However, they might go through anxiety issues and mood swings.

Do dogs sleep more when in heat?

Dogs do sleep more when in heat because sometimes they are more tired and less interested in playing when they are in heat.

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