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Dog Heat Cycle: Timing, Signs & Tips to Help


6 min Read

May 24, 2023 | Hygiene & Care

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Dog Heat Cycle: Timing, Signs & Tips to Help

Have you just started parenting a female dog? Do you know about the dog heat cycle?

Not all dog parents are familiar with what it means, and it is completely understandable because the topic can be confusing.

Your dog’s heat cycles can be stressful for both of you. This is when your female dog goes through physical & mental changes.

So, it is crucial that you’re aware of your female dog’s heat cycles, and recognize the symptoms of her being in heat. Only then, you can take measures to care for her properly and make her feel more comfortable.

Also, if you are thinking of breeding your pet, It will also help you make informed decisions to do so responsibly.

We’re here to help you identify and understand the behavourial signs of a dog in heat. Also, read on to know the simple tips to take care of your pooch during this time.

woman petting cute dog

When does the dog heat cycle start?

Dogs enter adulthood at the age of 6 months. For female dogs, puberty hits when they are between 6 to 24 months old - that is when their heat cycle begins.

Most dogs first go into heat as early as 6 months of age. However, the exact time of onset varies from one breed to another, depending on their size.

While smaller breeds usually start their heat cycle earlier, several large or giant dog breeds do not go into heat until about 2 years old.

To begin with, they go into heat every 6 months (i.e., twice a year) and each cycle lasts for 2-4 weeks.

Please Note: As your dog ages, the time gap between her heat cycles will also increase.

Dogs in heat: Signs to recognize

Female dogs undergo heat cycles throughout their lives, without experiencing menopause. So, it becomes all the more important to look out for common behaviors of a female dog in heat, in order to calm her down.

1. Bloody Discharge: It is slightly brownish or reddish in colour.

2. Holding her tail close to her body: This too and raising her hindquarters are inviting gestures to attract the attention of male dogs for mating purposes.

3. Reluctance to Eat: Dogs in heat might refuse to eat or their usual eating behavior can change. Their appetite decreases as their mind is focused on more important things like mating. 

But, you need to ensure that your pooch doesn’t go hungry for long. Try offering her healthy Dogsee Chew Treats from time to time.

Mini bite-sized Dog Training Treats

4. Excessive grooming of her genital parts: It is because their vulva becomes swollen (after the heat cycle is over, it returns to normal size). So, to ease the discomfort and clean up the bloody discharge they go overboard with licking themselves.

5. Restless & distracted indoors: Expect your dog to be looking out the window, lying next to the door for long hours, or pacing up and down the house during this time.

Since it is mating time, she will be fixated on rushing out the door any chance she gets to meet the boys.

6. Mood Swings: Even the calmest and sweet canine companions can turn aggressive or exhibit agitated behaviour while they are in heat.

It isn’t you - hormonal imbalance is the culprit here. Expressing her desire to find a partner to mate with, you might also hear a lot of whining from your dog.

7. Frequent urination: During heat season, dog pee is heavily concentrated with dog pheromones. So, frequent urination in different spots is their way of alerting the nearby male dogs of the fact that they are in heat. 

NOTE: While it is uncommon, some dogs may also face constipation issues during their heat cycles.

How to comfort a dog in heat?

Dog heat cycle can be a confusing experience for both your dog and you, especially if it is the first time. So, the best you can do is to watch out for the above signs and provide love love and care to make her feel secure and at ease.

Scolding is a big NO during this time.

Here are 5 simple tips to help your pooch during her heat cycle:

1. Tire Her:

Consider ways to tire your dog as one form of distraction from all the mental and physical changes that she is undergoing. You can use Dogsee Chew Hard Bar to increase chew time which can also tire her out.

Dogsee Chew Hard Bar

Alternatively, engage her in multiple play-time throughout the day and exercise her a lot. These can help expend some of the pent-up energy and keep her calm.

2. Shower your love & support

Heat cycles are the time when your canine buddy would ask for some extra attention from her hooman. Spend more time with your dog - cuddle and pet her more. If you notice her drowsing off, do not interrupt her; let her sleep.

Brushing her more often can also make your dog feel calmer.

3. Calm her down

To calm her down you can try creating a quiet environment indoors, like turning down the television volume. There are specialized treats for anxious dogs and dog speakers too, that can help reduce stress in dogs.

4. Keep her occupied

Treats that encourage your dog’s chewing instinct can also help your dog while she’s in heat. Dogsee Play Tretoy could be a great choice in this case - a treat that can be placed inside the toy will make her spend hours chewing on it.

Dogsee Play Treatoy

5. Get her spayed

Spaying your dog has other health benefits, apart from preventing unwanted pregnancies and putting an end to her heat cycles. The surgical procedure prevents certain serious illnesses that dogs tend to get in the future, in turn prolonging their life span.

It will also cut down on the phases of anxious behaviour.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Why is my dog not eating properly while she is in heat?

Answer: Your dog’s appetite will naturally go down, as she focuses on her urge to mate. However, no matter how normal, as a dog parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that she is enough fed to stay healthy.

Is feeding your dog a recurring problem? You can read our blog post on the common causes, symptoms, and solutions for their sudden loss of appetite.

2. How long will my dog’s first heat cycle last?

Answer: Typically speaking, the first dog heat cycle lasts somewhere between 2-4 weeks.

3. Do male dogs go into heat?

Answer: Male dogs don’t have heat cycles. The term ‘being in heat’ refers to the phase when female dogs looking to mate with male dogs.


To be always attentive about what you’re dog is doing and with all the cleaning that a dog parent needs to do during this time, it can get pretty stressful. But, dogs dedicate their entire lives to loving us humans, so they deserve the same and even more.

As a brand, started by dog parents, we understand your perils very well. So, at Dogsee, we curate natural, preservative-free, gluten-free training treats, chew toys, chew bars, supplements, and grooming products. They are all designed keeping a dog’s specific needs in mind.

We hope the above-mentioned tips are useful enough to help your dog in her next heat cycle. For a more permanent solution though, you can always opt to spay her. However, make sure you consult your vet for extensive advice on the same.

For more such dog-related guides, tips, and tricks, you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

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