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How Long Does a Dog Stay in Heat After Bleeding Stops?

The average time for a female dog to stay in the heat after the bleeding stops is 10-14 days. It varies from one dog to another and may vary from one cycle to another.

Your dog can get pregnant as the ovaries continue releasing eggs, and she is open to mating during this time.

Keep your dog away from other male dogs to avoid unwanted pregnancy. You can also get your dog spayed if you don’t want her to get pregnant and avoid reproductive diseases.

Key Takeaways

On average, a dog stays in heat for 10-14 days after the bleeding stops. Your dog can get pregnant during this period.

Small breeds go into heat as young as 4-5 months, while large breeds can take up to 24 months before they enter their first heat cycle.

Female dog in heat

When does the heat cycle start for a dog?

It depends on the breed and dog size. Smaller breeds can go into heat as young as 4-5 months, and giant breeds may take up to 18-24 months to enter their first heat.

What is the average dog’s heat cycle? Different phases in the female dog heat cycle

There are 4 stages in a dog’s heat cycle. Let’s learn briefly about them so you can handle your dog conveniently.

Stage 1: Proestrus (4-20 days)

It is the start of your dog’s heat cycle, and her body is prepared for mating. The cycle lasts around 9 days in most breeds but can vary from 3 to 17 days. The dog’s vulva swells, and you may notice blood discharge. Some breeds clean themselves during this phase, stick their tails close to the body, and may display clingy behavior. The female attracts males during this phase but isn’t open to mating.

Stage 2: Estrus (5-13 days) 

It is the mating phase and varies from 3 to 21 days, with an average of 9 days in most breeds. Most dogs will have 2 estrus cycles per year. The blood flow reduces and eventually disappears during this phase. Your dog is receptive to males and will likely get pregnant. Dogs will urinate more during this phase and mark spots outside and inside your home to spread pheromones to indicate readiness for mating. Don’t let female dogs get near male dogs if you don’t want them to get pregnant.

near male dogs if you don’t want them to get pregnant.

Stage 3: Diestrus/Metestrus (60-90 days) 

The body prepares for pregnancy or returns to normal behavior (non-heat). The vulva returns to normal size, and the discharge disappears.

Stage 4: Anestrus (60-90 days) 

The uterine repairs during this phase can last 60-150 days, depending on dog size and breed. There is no sexual or hormonal activity during this phase.

Tips to Take Care of your dog during Heat 

  • Make your dog as comfortable as possible, reduce outdoor time, and separate her from males if you don’t want her to get pregnant.
  • Increase bathroom trips as estrus (2nd phase of heat cycle) makes females pee more often.
  • Spend additional time with your dog and treat her with her favorite things.
  • Use dog diapers during her estrus phase. It will make cleaning easy.
  • Don’t punish your dog for blood stains; she can’t do anything about it.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I prevent my dog from going heat? 

The only solution is to get your dog spayed. Spaying is highly recommended unless you are looking for breeding. Spaying also reduces the risk of reproductive diseases and mammary cancer. Moreover, most breeds don’t require going into a heat cycle before being spayed. Consult with your vet to discuss how to get your dog spayed.

Can dogs get pregnant during the first heat cycle? 

Yes. Dogs can get pregnant during the first heat cycle, but it is not advisable as eggs are not fully mature, and a 6-12 months dog is not mature enough to handle puppies. It is recommended to have 2 normal heat cycles before being bred.

How can I prevent pregnancy during the heat cycle?

Separate all your female dogs from males (including the first-timers) for at least 3-4 weeks after the first sign of bleeding. It is advisable to pass another week because dogs can get pregnant even after the bleeding stops.

Do dogs experience heat cycles throughout their lives? 

Yes. Dogs experience heat cycles throughout their lives. Hence, getting them spayed after you’ve bred them or you don’t want puppies is recommended.

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