What Are The Common Behaviors of A Female Dog in Heat?

What Are The Common Behaviors of A Female Dog in Heat?

Heat, or estrus, is the period when female dogs are most receptive to mating. During this time, female dogs often display behaviors that are distinct from normal day-to-day activities. Knowing the common behaviors of female dogs in heat helps owners recognize when this period is happening and to better care for their pets during this time. Common behaviors of female dogs in heat include increased affection, vocalization, frequent urination, swelling of the vulva, and refusal of food.

What Are The Common Behaviors of A Female Dog in Heat?dog heat 4

  1. Increased urination and marking: Female dogs will often display increased urination and marking behavior as they come into estrus. This behavior is designed to attract male dogs from near and far.
  2. Flagging: Flagging is a way of displaying a female dog’s increased sexual receptivity. The dog will hold her tail erect and to one side as she is approached by a male dog.
  3. Swelling of the vulva: The vulva of a female dog will swell as she enters estrus, making it a visual indicator of her heat status.
  4. Attraction to male dogs: A female dog in heat will have an increased attraction to male dogs and may actively seek out their company.
  5. Increased vocalization: Female dogs may exhibit increased vocalization as they enter estrus, including whining, barking, and howling.

What Is the Dog Heat Cycle?

The dog heat cycle, also known as the estrous cycle, is a normal reproductive cycle in female dogs. It includes four phases in which a female dog experiences changes in hormones and physical and behavioral signs and may be able to become pregnant. The four phases in the cycle are proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus. During proestrus, the body produces hormones like estrogen which cause physical changes such as swelling of the vulva and secretion of bloody discharge. During estrus, ovulation occurs and the female may become pregnant. During diestrus, the body produces progesterone, and hormone levels drop if the female does not become pregnant. During anestrus, the female does not experience any signs or physical changes. This cycle usually occurs every 6 to 12 months in female dogs.

When Do Dogs Go Into Heat?

Most female dogs come into heat twice a year, although some smaller breeds may come into heat only once a year. The average heat cycle for dogs lasts about 21 days, but this can vary. Most dogs go into heat at 6-12 months of age.

How Often Do Dogs Go Into Heat?

Female dogs usually go into heat twice a year, typically in spring and again in late summer. Generally speaking, when a female dog is in heat, it will last for approximately 3 weeks.

Do Male Dogs Go Into Heat?

Male dogs do not go into heat, but female dogs do.

Female Dog in Heat Behaviordog heat 3

When a female dog is in heat, she may display a variety of behaviors. She may become more attentive to male dogs by barking, rolling, and lifting her tail. She may also urinate more frequently. She may also show signs of enthusiasm when she’s around male dogs, including wagging her tail, inviting contact, and turning her hindquarters and tail to him. A female dog in heat may also become irritable or anxious. She may also display restlessness or clingy behavior. She may also tap the ground with her paw or show signs of frustration.

At What Age Do Dogs Go Into Heat?

Most dogs go into heat at around six months to one year of age, but smaller breeds may enter their first heat cycle earlier while larger breeds may reach it later.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is In Heat For The First Time

If your dog is in heat for the first time, you’ll likely notice a number of physical changes in your pup. She may act more restless or anxious than usual, licking her vulva more often or becoming more affectionate to everyone. Her vulva may appear swollen and the discharge will be heavier than normal and a pink or brownish color. If she is outside more, she may try to attract the attention of male dogs.

SEE ALSO: Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs, Causes And Treatment

Is A Dog First Heat Shorter?

No, the length of a dog’s first heat is the same as a dog’s subsequent heat.

Female Dog In Heat Behavior Crying

When a female dog is in heat, her behavior changes as she experiences hormonal shifts. She may cry or whine more than usual, as she is in search of a mate. She may be more restless and try to escape from the house. She may also solicit male dogs to come over by whining, paddling, and lifting her tail. Other signs can include panting, licking her genital area, and having enlarged nipples.

Phases of a Dog’s Heat Cycledog heat 2

  1. Proestrus: This is the first phase of a female dog’s heat cycle. During this time, the dog’s vulva will swell and she may begin to secrete a clear to bloody mucus. Dogs in this phase will begin to attract male dogs, but they cannot be bred yet. This phase typically lasts for about 9 days.
  2. Estrus: This is the second phase of a female dog’s heat cycle. During this time, the dog’s vulva will be swollen and she will be receptive to mating. This phase typically lasts for about 5 to 13 days.
  3. Diestrus: This is the third phase of a female dog’s heat cycle. During this time, the dog’s fertility will decline and she will no longer be receptive to mating. This phase typically lasts for about 60 to 90 days.
  4. Anestrus: This is the final phase of a female dog’s heat cycle. During this time, the dog’s vulva will return to normal and she will not be fertile. This phase typically lasts for about 60 to 90 days.

How Long Does A Dog Stay in Heat?

A dog’s heat cycle normally lasts approximately two to three weeks, though it can occasionally be shorter or longer. Females typically experience two heat cycles per year, each lasting an average of 18 days.

How To Handle A Female Dog in Heatdog heat 1

  1. Talk to your veterinarian: The first step when dealing with a female dog in heat is to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
  2. Provide physical comfort: You can provide your female dog with extra attention and physical comfort during her heat cycle. Some things you can do are lightly massaging the area around her belly and brushing her fur.
  3. Keep her well-exercised: During her heat cycle, provide your female dog with regular exercise. This will help her stay fit and healthy and will also be a great way to keep her distracted.
  4. Limit her access to males: When your female dog is in heat, limit her access to males. If possible, keep her indoors so she won’t come in contact with male dogs.
  5. Watch her for signs of distress: If your female dog is showing signs of distress, such as whining, panting, pacing, or excessive licking, it’s important to monitor her closely and provide extra comfort.
  6. Use the right products: If you intend to let your female dog continue to live its normal routine while in heat, you should look into products designed to protect against messes and possible mating. These include belly bands, tie-out harnesses, and pet diapers.

What To Do When Your Dog Is in Heat For The First Time

If this is your dog’s first heat cycle, it can be a stressful time for both of you. Start by preparing your dog for the experience with a vet visit to ensure she is healthy enough to breed and up to date on shots. You may also want to consider spaying her if you don’t plan to breed.

There are a number of things you can do to help your dog stay as comfortable as possible during her heat cycle. These include:

  • Keeping her away from male dogs.
  • Providing her with extra attention during her cycle.
  • Keeping her in a secure area where she cannot escape.
  • Keeping her area clean to prevent infection and reduce possible irritation.
  • Introducing new toys during this time to help keep her busy and distracted.
  • Keeping her away from areas where she could attract unwanted male attention.
  • Monitoring her closely for signs of discomfort.

Finally, don’t forget to talk to your vet about her heat cycle and any additional support she may need during this time.

Home Remedies For Dogs in Heat

  • Provide Regular Exercise: Exercise helps to reduce stress and interference with heat cycles. Create a regular exercise routine for your puppy and stick to it.
  • Keep Your Pup Cool: Since a dog in heat experiences a higher body temperature, make sure your pup has plenty of cool spots to lay and relax and avoid strenuous activity during hot weather.
  • Don’t Leave Your Dog Unattended: Dogs in heat are more prone to running off or being taken away by other dogs, so supervise your pup whenever possible and consider more secure fencing measures.
  • Clean Up Regularly: Dogs in heat often attract unwanted males and produce a strong, unmistakable odor. Make sure to regularly clean up and dispose of used pads.
  • Herbal Supplements: Some herbal supplements may help ease the signs and symptoms of a dog in heat. Speak with your vet about which would be best for your pup.
  • Consider Spaying: While many pet owners don’t wish to spay their pup, opting for this option is the most foolproof way to prevent heat cycles. Speak with your vet about the best time to do so.

SEE ALSO: Golf Ball-Sized Lump On Dog’s Neck: Causes And Treatment


Q. How do dogs know when a female dog is in heat?

A. Dogs can sense when a female dog is in heat through their acute sense of smell. The female dog produces a special scent when she is in heat, which other dogs can pick up on. Additionally, the female may display physical signs such as raised haunches and exposed vulva which can indicate to the other dogs that she is ready to mate.

Q. How do female dogs act during the first heat?

A. Female dogs can exhibit a variety of behaviors during their first heat, including becoming more affectionate, barking more, seeking out attention, attempting to escape the house, and becoming more clingy. They may also lose their appetite, have mood swings, and sleep more.

Q. Do female dogs act differently when in heat?

A. Yes, female dogs usually become more affectionate when they enter heat, which is the period of time when they are most fertile. They may also be more excitable and seek out more attention. Additionally, female dogs in heat may display nesting behaviors, such as carrying around toys or soft objects. Another sign that a female dog is in heat is increased urination to mark her territory.


In summary, the common behaviors of a female dog in heat can be summarized as an increase in overall energy levels, chasing other animals, marking her territory, seeking out male dogs, vocalization, and blood discharge from the vulva. The onset of these behaviors typically occurs when a female dog is between 6 and 24 months of age, and the length of the cycle can last for up to three weeks. It is important to note that all dogs are different, so not all behaviors might be displayed if your female dog is in heat. It is also important that pet owners practice proper techniques when dealing with their dog in heat, such as separating their dog from other animals, avoiding activities that may trigger aggressive behavior, and visiting the vet for advice.

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