Heat is a time of peak fertility for female dogs. Female dog behavior after heat can be unpredictable and confusing, especially if you’re a first-time dog owner. It’s important to understand what your dog is going through during this time, so you can help her along the way. In addition to being more protective of herself during her heat cycle, your dog may also exhibit other behavioral changes such as increased appetite and thirst; she may even become more affectionate with family members or strangers alike.
Meaning of a Dog in Heat
The meaning a dog in heat is that it is a female dog that has reached sexual maturity. Female dogs experience their first estrous cycle between 6 and 11 months of age, though most commonly between 9 and 10 months. The average heat cycle lasts about 20 days.
During the heat cycle, the female’s internal reproductive organs are preparing to release an egg from her ovary (ovulation). She will experience behavioral changes including frequent urination and attraction to male dogs.
Most dogs will start showing signs of being in heat around four months old. They’ll have an increased interest in mating with male dogs, and they’ll develop a swollen vulva that looks like a pink balloon. They’ll also go into estrus, which means they’ll shed their uterine lining and then reabsorb it while they wait to mate with a male dog.
Signs of a female dog in heat:
- Aggression toward other dogs, especially males that are intact (not spayed or neutered)
- Increased affection for her owner, including following him everywhere he goes and laying on his lap at every opportunity
- Shedding more than usual (often this is accompanied by an increase in general grooming as well)
- Swollen vulva and vaginal discharge (which may be bloody)
- Loss or reduced appetite
Phases of Dog Heat Period
The dog heat period is a four-stage process that all female dogs go through in order to mate. The estrous cycle begins when the female dog starts to ovulate and ends when she no longer ovulates.
The Proestrus stage
The first stage is called the proestrus stage, which lasts for about 3 days. It is characterized by vaginal bleeding, swelling, and a discharge of fluid. During this time, your dog will start showing signs of mating behavior such as increased affection, tucking of tail, and agitation. She is not interested in mating yet, however, you might also notice that she’s more interested in playing with other dogs and barking at them.
During the second stage, called estrus or standing heat, your dog’s body releases hormones that make her receptive to mating with male dogs. This stage is characterized by lightened discharge and softening of the vulva. This typically lasts anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks and can be very stressful on both you and your dog if you don’t know how to handle it properly.
Once estrus ends, your dog enters diestrus as her body returns to normal. It’s during this time that she’ll become pregnant if she hasn’t already been bred by a male dog during estrus. If your female dog does get pregnant during diestrus, then she’ll remain pregnant for about 58 days before giving birth to puppies.
Finally, there’s anestrus, also known as the resting stage. This is a period of time when no hormones are released by your female dog’s body so it can recover from pregnancy before going through another heat cycle again next year (or sooner).
How Often Do Female Dogs Go Into Heat?
Generally, female dogs go into heat for the first time when they are between 6 and 12 months old. After that, they typically go into heat once every six months or so.
Female dogs go into heat every six months, on average, but this can vary depending on the breed. The average length of a heat cycle is two weeks. It’s important to know when your dog is going through this process because it can affect their health, behavior, and socialization.
Common Behaviors of a Female Dog in Heat
If your dog has just gone through her heat period, you may notice that she is acting differently. This is normal and temporary.
During the heat cycle, female dogs experience a rise in estrogen levels which causes them to exhibit behaviors like urinating more frequently and walking with their tail raised high in the air. They might also be more aggressive towards other dogs or people.
As you might imagine, a female dog in heat is pretty difficult to deal with. But there are some behavioral signs that can help you know when she’s in heat and what to do about it.
In general, the most common behaviors of a female dog in heat include:
-An increase in urination: This is normal and should not be alarming. The increase in urine production is caused by increased levels of estrogen, which causes the urethral sphincter muscle to relax.
-She may eat less than usual during this time because she has a lot on her mind. You can help by giving her smaller portions at meal time, instead of leaving food down all day long.
-An increase in thirst: This is also normal and should not be alarming. The increase in thirst can be caused by an increase in hormones that make the kidneys retain more water, leading to more frequent urination.
-Increased vocalization and seeking out people or other dogs: This behavior stems from the fact that a female dog in heat releases pheromones that increase her attraction to males and make her more receptive to mating. You may notice your pup barking at strangers or becoming clingy and protective around you or other people/dogs she knows well enough to approach them (which can be dangerous).
-Arousal and mounting behavior: Normally, dogs mount each other as part of their mating ritual; however, when a female dog is on heat, she would often mount a male dog or her female counterparts.
Other female dog behavior during heat are:
- Howling and crying
- Standing with her backside toward you
- Licking herself excessively
- Shaking her tail rapidly
How Long Does a Dog Stay in Heat?
The average length of a heat cycle for a dog is 7 days. However, there’s quite a bit of variation from dog to dog. The length of the heat cycle ranges from 3 days to 21 days, and the length of time each day that your dog is in heat can vary as well.
The number of cycles per year may be anywhere from one to four. And while some dogs get pregnant on their first heat cycle, it’s not uncommon for them to take longer than that.
Heats are very stressful for female dogs, so if you don’t want your pet to go through the stress or risk of unwanted pregnancies, it’s best not to let her breed before she has had at least one full cycle (and ideally several).
Female Dog Behavior After Heat
Your female dog’s behavior after heat will depend on a variety of factors, including her personality and your relationship with her.
When your dog comes back from the heat, she may be a little bit different than she was before. She may be more affectionate, or she might just want to curl up next to you. But there are also a few things that you can expect after your dog’s heat cycle.
It’s important to know that female dogs will go through estrus (their heat cycle) during this time of year. This means that they will become receptive to mating, so you’ll want to keep an eye on her and make sure that she doesn’t escape from the house or yard and get herself into trouble with any male dogs in the neighborhood.
Female dogs experience physical and behavioral changes when they go through their heat cycle. The main change is related to the hormones that are released in their bodies during this time. Your dog may be more aggressive or aggressive towards other dogs, especially if they are in heat at the same time. She may also become territorial and protective of her territory, which might include barking at strangers passing by or digging up plants in the yard.
The first few days after she has come out of the heat, she may be more affectionate than usual, but over the next few days, she’ll probably return to normal—that is, if you’ve successfully trained her to recognize what “normal” is in the first place.
The behavior of female dogs after heat can vary wildly, depending on the dog and the situation. But these are a few general things that you’ll want to keep in mind as your dog goes through her heat cycle.