How Long Do Dog Periods Last?

The duration of a dog’s heat cycle, also known as a period, varies widely between different breeds and individual dogs, but it typically lasts between 2 to 4 weeks. It occurs in two stages: proestrus, which lasts approximately 9 days, during which the dog is attractive to males but is not receptive; and estrus, which lasts around 9 days, during which the female dog is receptive to males.

After this, there’s a stage called diestrus, which can last from 60 to 90 days, and this is a stage where the dog appears to be out of heat but physiological and behavioral changes are still happening. Finally, there’s anestrus, a stage of inactivity before the dog goes into heat again. It’s important to note that smaller breeds could go into heat more often, up to 3-4 times a year, while larger breeds might only go into heat once every 12-18 months.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

One of the most important aspects you need to look into when considering getting a dog is how much of a responsibility taking care of a pooch is.

This cannot be stressed enough, especially when taking care of female dogs, knowing that they have certain episodes of having periods. Plainly put, there is a lot of preparation to do.

But for our female four-legged friends, how long does this stage last? What can you do when the situation requires for you to be extra hands on? When should you send your dog to the veterinarian? When should you be worried?

Worry no more! As in this feature, we are going to talk about the different stages of a dog period, how they last, and what should you do when the “heat cycle” arrives.

Let’s get started!

dog giving his paw

An Introduction

For our female dogs, they usually reach sexual maturity at around six months, before they have the first stage of the estrus cycle.

Now I can almost hear you thinking, “What in the world is the estrus cycle?”

My dear friend, I’m glad you asked.

The Estrus Cycle

The estrus cycle or the heat simply pertains to the phase of a female dog’s reproductive cycle and usually lasts 21 – 28 days. During this period, your female pet is receptive to mating with males. Also during this time, her estrogen levels first increase then decrease drastically and eggs are then released from her ovaries, and sometimes, she releases blood from her vagina.

Related: Can A Dog Get Pregnant When She’s Not In Heat?

Dogs in heat usually experience four stages: proestrus, estrus, diestrus, anestrus. Let’s take a closer look at these phases.

Proestrus is known to be the beginning of the heat period where your pooch’s body is preparing to mate. This usually lasts about nine days, but can sometimes last from three to 17 days. A sign you may want to look into is when your dog holds her tail close to her body and stick just as close to your side. This is also the known stage in which your pet will attract males, but she will just fend them off, and can even be aggressive during certain periods of time during this part of the heat cycle.

Estrus, also known as the mating phase, is the second stage of the heat cycle. This usually lasts around nine days. A common indication is that you may see your dog urinating more frequently, and is seen to be marking spots within and outside your home to proceed with “mating calls”. If the presence of a male dog is around, your female will likely make the first move, and will proceed hindquarters first.

Also, some other signs you may want to look into is the engorgement of or a swollen vulva. However, do take note that this swelling is not always obvious. As part of this reproductive phase, a bloody vaginal discharge is often the first sign that  a pet parent will tend to notice when taking care of dogs in heat.

Diestrus happens after the “in heat” period, and is known to last for two months, and is also the pregnancy period.

Anestrus is the last stage in which it is also known as the uterine repair phase.

What Do I Do If My Dog Is On Her Period?

During these fragile months, it’s important to be equipped and ready.

Ideally, you’re going to want to isolate your pet from unneutered male dogs. It also helps to keep her on a leash and never let her leave the house alone.

For the case of bleeding, you can always have the option to restrict her from access to areas of the house that are fairly difficult to clean. Another popular option amongst pet parents are dog diapers and crates. Usually, these methods are only done in short periods of time, and usually doesn’t take longer than months.

A Final Word

Normally, there isn’t a major cause for concern whenever your dog is on her reproductive cycle. Whatever the dog breed, it’s inevitable that they will undergo such a stage. It’s important as a responsible pet parent to always be on the look out for your pooch’s special needs. At the end of the day, it’s always a good idea to consult a veterinarian if you are uncertain on how to handle this period in time of your dog’s life!


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