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When your female dog is in heat, it is essential for you as a pet owner to be aware of the signs and behaviors she exhibits during this time. It is a natural procedure for female dogs, but as a pet parent, it can be extremely stressful for you if you are not aware of what to expect at this time.

In this guide, we will go over the common behaviors of the common dog in heat and what to anticipate, and how to care for your dog during this period.

Explanation Of Female Dogs In Heat

common behaviors of a female dog in heat

After reaching sexual maturity, female dogs undergo an estrus cycle, more commonly called a heat cycle. The average dog goes through this cycle twice a year, lasting between three and four weeks each time. When a female dog is in heat, she may experience several physical and behavioral changes, including a swollen vulva, blood-tinged vaginal fluid, excessive vulva-vaginal licking, and increased yowling.

Additionally, in heat, the female dog may become interested in male dogs and may suffer changes in their appetite and the frequency with which she urinates. Dog owners must be aware of these signals so that they may appropriately care for their furry companion during this time and make sensible choices regarding responsibly breeding their pets.  Also, being aware of these signs allows dog owners to prevent unnecessary suffering for their dogs.

Importance Of Understanding The Behaviours Of A Female Dog In Heat

For the sake of the female dog’s comfort and safety, knowing what to expect from her when she is in heat is essential. When walking your dog at this time of the month, you must remain vigilant since it is necessary to be aware that male dogs can get aggressive when they detect a female dog in heat nearby. You can assist in keeping your dog comfortable during this period by paying attention to your dog’s behaviors and offering the appropriate amount of rest and activity for your dog.

Physical Signs Of A Female Dog In Heat

common behaviors of a female dog in heat

A few outward signals can be used to determine when a female dog is in the estrus cycle. This includes the following:

    Swollen Vulva

The female dog’s vulva will begin to swell and appear larger than normal while she is in the proestrus stage of her reproductive behavior/cycle. The swelling will worsen as the estrus stage draws closer, and it is possible that the vulva could become quite swollen.

    Vaginal Bleeding

Vaginal bleeding is one of the most obvious physical symptoms that a female dog is going through in her heart cycle. The bleeding happens during the estrus stage and can continue for as long as ten days at a time. The color of the discharge might range from pale pink to a deep scarlet, and the amount of bleeding can differ from one dog to the other.

    Increased Licking and Cleaning

When a female dog is in heat, she may lick and clean the region around her genitalia more frequently than normal. This activity is very normal and contributes to the area’s overall cleanliness and absence of pathogens.

    Changes in Behavior

When a female dog is in heat, she may display altered behavioral patterns, such as becoming more agitated, talkative, displaying nervousness, or loving. They might also act more dominantly or aggressively toward other dogs and attempt to flee to locate a partner.

    Changes in Appetite

Appetite changes are possible for certain female dogs when they are going through their estrus cycle. Depending on their regular intake and personal preferences, they might consume more or less food than usual.

Behavioural Changes In A Female Dog In Heat

common behaviors of a female dog in heat

Alterations in a female dog’s behavior may also be seen throughout her heat cycle, in addition to the visible physical signs. The following are some of the most prevalent types of changes in behavior that you should keep an eye out for:

    Restlessness and Pacing

When a female dog is in heat, she may experience increased irritability and restlessness. They may pace, moan (increased vocalization), display humping behavior, or scratch at doors and windows to communicate their desire to get away and locate a mate. This behavior might also indicate that they are bored.

    Increased Affection Towards Humans and Other Dogs

Female dogs may exhibit increased attachment toward their owners during their heat cycle. They could want to spend more time cuddling with their owners, seek out their owners for extra attention, display protective behavior, or follow their owners about the house. They may also show more affection toward other dogs, especially male dogs.

    Urinating More Frequently

Female dogs may urinate more frequently than usual when they reach the estrus stage of their heat cycle. They are believed to engage in this behavior to mark their territory and attract opposite mates (engage in attracting male dogs). Also, in the estrus phase, the progesterone levels drop, indirectly affecting the urination pattern.

    Marking Behaviors

Female dogs in heat may exhibit various marking behaviors, the most common of which is an increased frequency of urination. When they want to mark their territory, they might do things like rub against objects or walls, leave their smell in different places, or even dig holes.

    Seeking Out Male Dogs

The heightened drive to find male dogs to breed with is one of the most noticeable behavioral changes for female dogs when they enter heat. They might act more dominantly or aggressively towards other dogs, especially males, and try to sneak out of the house or yard in search of a mate.

Other than the above-mentioned behavior changes, a few female dogs also display tail-wagging behavior in estrous (as they do in the mating process).

How To Manage A Female Dog In Heat?

common behaviors of a female dog in heat

Properly managing a female dog in heat is crucial to avoiding accidental or undesired pregnancy. The following is a list of some advice on how to handle a female dog in heat:

    Keep Her on a Leash During Walks

It is essential to keep your dog on a leash while you take her for walks in order to prevent her from running away and finding a new companion. Keep a tight eye on your dog at all times, and steer clear of places where he may run free without a leash.

    Avoid Taking Her to Dog Parks or Areas with Other Dogs

When a female dog is in heat, she is more likely to display domineering or aggressive behavior toward other dogs, particularly male canines. It is recommended to keep your dog away from dog parks and other places where there are several dogs, especially if you are concerned about the possibility of a fight breaking out.

    Provide Her with a Safe and Comfortable Space

Your dog might become more agitated and restless when she is going through her heat cycle. It may be helpful to give her a secure and comfortable environment, such as a crate or a specific room, so that she may feel more at ease and secure in her surroundings.

    Consider Using Dog Diapers

Diapers for dogs are a particular item that might help manage your dog’s heat cycle. They can stop your dog from making a mess inside the house and assist in controlling any scents that may be present. Make sure that the diaper is changed regularly to avoid infections and discomfort.

    Discuss Spaying with a Veterinarian

Spaying your female pup is the most effective approach to stop her from going into heat again and avoid unplanned pregnancies in the future. In addition to this, it lessens the likelihood of developing other health issues, such as uterine infections and breast cancers. Have a conversation with your dog’s vet about spaying to find out whether it’s the best option for your canine companion.


What Are The Signs Of A Female Dog In Heat?

A female dog in heat will exhibit physical and behavioral changes. The physical changes include a swollen vulva and bleeding from the vagina. In contrast, the behavioral changes include restlessness, more affection for people and other dogs, increased urination, and activities that include marking territory and seeking out male dogs. Alterations in a dog’s appetite and increased licking genitals are also possible.

How Long Does A Female Dog Stay In Heat?

A female dog must spend no set period of time in the heat, although it lasts between two and three weeks on average.

How Often Do Female Dogs Go Into Heat?

It usually takes between six and twelve months for a female dog to go into heat. On the other hand, the frequency may change based on the breed as well as the specific dog. It is more common for females of smaller breeds to enter heat more frequently than females of bigger breeds.

How Can I Keep My Female Dog From Getting Pregnant During Her Heat Cycle?

During the time when your female dog is in heat, preventing her from having sexual contact with male dogs is the most effective approach to stop her from becoming pregnant. This can be accomplished by restraining her from staying indoors, walking her on a leash at all times, and avoiding places where there are other dogs. You might also want to consider spaying or neutering your dog to stop future heat cycles and unplanned reproduction.

Can I Still Take My Female Dog For Walks During Her Heat Cycle?

Yes, you may walk a female dog in heat. It is essential, however, that she be kept on a leash at all times and kept away from places where there are other dogs to avoid any potential disputes or undesired breeding. Additionally, to accommodate your dog’s restlessness/agitation and increased demand for attention, you may need to change the frequency and length of the walks you take him on.


If In order to be a responsible pet owner, it is vital to have a thorough grasp of and the ability to manage your female dog’s heat cycle effectively. You can guarantee that your dog is healthy and content throughout this period by paying attention to your dog’s requirements and obtaining a specialist’s counsel when you feel it is essential.