Is My Dog In Heat? - Symptoms, Duration, Stages

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. August 22, 2019
Is My Dog In Heat? - Symptoms, Duration, Stages

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Heat in dogs is one of the biggest concerns that caregivers express when they live with dogs, whether male or female. Many dog owners want to prevent their dogs from having offspring, and in this case, it is essential to be able to recognize the characteristics of a female dog’s fertile period and to dismantle common myths. Lastly, it’s important to remember that canine fertilization is key in preventing problems derived from heat in dogs.

‘‘Is my dog in heat?’’ Keep reading here at AnimalWised to find out! In addition to the phases, duration and most common symptoms of heat in dogs, we’ll also be discussing problems which can occur during heat in dogs.

You may also be interested in: Dog Heat Cycle Stages and Symptoms
  1. Dogs in heat: symptoms
  2. Is my female dog in heat?
  3. Male dogs in heat
  4. How long does a dog stay in heat?
  5. How often do dogs go into heat?
  6. How to calm a dog in heat

Dogs in heat: symptoms

Heat in dogs will begin as soon as they reach sexual maturity, which occurs at different ages, depending on the size and breed of the dog. Dogs of small breeds or toy breeds will begin to show symptoms of heat by six months of age. Medium size dogs experience heat a little later, at around eight months. On the other hand, large and giant dog breeds will take much longer to mature, up to twelve to eighteen months.

The most common symptoms of heat in dogs include:

  • Vaginal bleeding in female dogs
  • Nervousness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Crying and groans
  • Urine marking
  • Attempts to escape
  • Attempts to mount
  • Drooling by sniffing something with intensity
  • Fights with other dogs
  • Behavior changes
  • Jealousy

So if you’re asking yourself about female dog in heat behavior or ‘‘Why is my female dog in heat no eating?’’ These are normal according to the symptoms of dogs in heat. For more, read, ‘‘Why my dog in heat won’t stop crying?’’ and ‘‘Why is my dog bleeding from her vagina?’’

Is my female dog in heat?

Heat in bitches refers specifically to their fertile period, which presents considerable differences with heat in male dogs. A female dog’s reproductive cycle is divided into four phases; the proestrous, the estrus, diestrus and the anestrus. The estrus stage is a receptive phase in which the dog accepts the male and conception can occur. In this period the female will show signs and symptoms such as the following:

  • The vulva softens in preparation for riding
  • Vulva secretion turns pink
  • The dog’s body attitude changes and she will elevate her tail and separates it to facilitate intercourse
  • She will lift her pelvis
  • Most importantly, she will accept the male mount

For more, read dog heat cycle stages and symptoms.

Is My Dog In Heat? - Symptoms, Duration, Stages - Is my female dog in heat?

Male dogs in heat

The main difference between male dogs in heat and female dogs in heat is that the male is not only fertile during a certain phase. On the contrary, male dogs are always in heat. Male heat is activated when they detect pheromones release by fertile females. These odorous pheromones function as signals to all dogs, even if far away in distance.

When this happens, you will notice that your male dog becomes restless and nervous. He may try to escape and will generally pull his leash. In addition, you will also notice an increase in urine marking, crying, a decrease in appetite, etc. This will go on for the duration of the olfactory stimulus.

For more, read ‘‘Is my male dog in heat?’’

How long does a dog stay in heat?

Heat in dog duration is limited, specifically in the case of female. Generally, a female dog’s estrus stage ranges from seven to nine days (on average), but each case is different the margin varies from two to twenty days. For their part, males do not have a period of heat and will be receptive at all times, as long as they receive stimulus from female dog pheromones.

For more, you may be interested in reading how to control a male dog around a female in heat.

Is My Dog In Heat? - Symptoms, Duration, Stages - How long does a dog stay in heat?

How often do dogs go into heat?

Female dogs usually go into heat every six months, that is, they usually have two fertile phases a year. Males will try to mate whenever they detect a female in heat. But in general, there is not strict cycle, as it depends on cycle of the dogs of their environment. Thus, one must bear in mind that the heat in dogs can occur at any time of the year.

For more, read my female dog in heat’s won’t accept a male.

How to calm a dog in heat

You may be wondering, ‘‘Is my dog in pain when in heat?’’ or, ‘‘What to do when your dog is in heat?’’ These are normal questions, especially because heat in dogs changes a dog’s behavior. Physical alterations in dogs in heat are also common, such as vaginal bleeding in female dogs. In males, however, problems are predominantly related to behavior. Possible behavioral changes of a male dog in heat include:

  • Urinal leaking
  • Marking
  • Riding
  • Aggression
  • Crying
  • Hyper-salivation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stress

All of these behavioral changes can make living together slightly difficult. In addition, jealousy can result in further complications such as tumors or uterine infections. To avoid these such complications or changes in dog behavior, many caregivers opt for sterilization or spaying. This sterilization will avoid behavioral changes in your dog as well as control the possible appearance of associated pathologies.

Sterilization or spaying in dogs does not alter a dog’s character, but it can lead to more cravings. This means that you may need to start controlling your dog’s diet once sterilized. There are also pills that can help prevent heat in dogs, however, they are not recommended as they have long-term side effects. For more, we recommend consulting your veterinarian.

For more, read our following articles regarding spaying and sterilization in dogs:

If you want to read similar articles to Is My Dog In Heat? - Symptoms, Duration, Stages, we recommend you visit our Heat category.

  • VETSUMMIT. (25.11.2017). Esterilización: del mito a la realidad. 22.08.2019, de Colegio Oficial de Veterinarios de Málaga Sitio web: http://www.colvet.es/sites/default/files/2018-02/Dossier_Vet_Summit_2017_Conclusiones_v02.pdf
  • Spain, C. V., Scarlett, J. M., & Houpt, K. A. (2004). Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 224(3), 380-387.
  • Ogilvie, G. K., & Moore, A. S. (1995). Managing the veterinary cancer patient: a practice manual. Veterinary Learning Systems Co., Inc.
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Is My Dog In Heat? - Symptoms, Duration, Stages