How Long Are Dogs in Heat?

by Melodie Anne Coffman Google
She can start having heat cycles long before her first birthday.

She can start having heat cycles long before her first birthday.

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

The heat cycle, or estrus, is that special time in your dog’s life when she’s ready to mate. She’ll be letting off all kinds of scents to let intact male dogs know she is fertile. During these cycles -- which last for many days -- you’ll need to keep her away from dogs of the opposite sex. Otherwise you could wind up with an unexpected litter of puppies.

Cycle Length

Expect your fur pal to have periods one to three times a year -- typically about every six months is average. Each time she goes into heat, her cycles will last for roughly 14 to 21 days, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.

Age Range

The exact age your canine pal will start her cycles depends on her breed. It can happen as early as 6 months of age, but she may not have her first heat until she is closer to 2 years old, the ASPCA states. Typically smaller breeds start sooner, while larger dogs don’t start until a bit later. Your dog will continue to have heat cycles her entire life or until you get her spayed.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Melodie Anne Coffman has been writing for various online and print publications since 1996, specializing in human and animal nutrition. After receiving her master's degree in food science and human nutrition, she opened up her own nutrition consulting business in the New England area.

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