How long are dogs in season for? (Care guide)

When your dog is in season, dont treat her any differently especially if it’s her first season, her hormones like us humans will be all over the place, and she will need her owner as comfort and normality.
A female chihuahua with a pink background
How long are dogs in season for?

If you haven’t got your dog spayed yet for whatever reason maybe she’s just having her first season or perhaps you dont want to just yet, whatever the reason is we can answer your question. Let’s hope you haven’t got a white sofa, unlike us ladies our dogs can’t use the benefits that we have of today, it’s somewhat a bit tricker for female dogs and owners. Let’s answer your question.

A female dog’s season (in heat) can last from two weeks up until four weeks long. However, each dog is different, breed, size can affect the time they are in season for. You will know when they have finished their season when the bleeding and the discharge has stopped. You will also notice that your dog’s vulva will return to normal size and colour.

What does dog in season mean? also known as a dog on heat

It means that your female dog is fertile, and this is when she can get pregnant by male dogs. You need to be aware of male dogs around her as they know when a dog is in season, and your female dog will be more willing to engage. Breeders need to be aware when their dog is on heat so that mating can commence. Dog owners need to be mindful of their dogs season to avoid any unwanted puppies. Please be aware unlike us humans female dogs dont have menopause, and are fertile all their life, although they will be less fertile the older they get they can still fall pregnant.

The pregnancy window for a female dog is very small. Breeders need to time it right so she falls pregnant within the window.  This could be nine days after her season starts or it could be only five days into her cycle. If you don’t want her to get pregnant it would help if you took care when out and about walking your female dog when in season. In case of any male dogs that come along. 

When will be my dogs next season?

Your female dog will have a season every six months, so roughly twice a year unless you get her spayed. However, bigger dogs can go longer every year or two years.

How do I know when my dog has finished her cycle?

ou will know she has finished her cycle as there won’t be any more blood or discharge, and her vulva will return to its standard size. This is when you can tell her cycle is over, and in six months she will have another one unless you get her spayed or if she falls pregnant.

What age are female dogs first heat cycle?

It depends on the size of your dog; a smaller dog breed can have their first heat cycle at four months, while larger dogs generally start from a year up to two years old. The average is six months old that a female dog will have a first-period cycle.

Signs that your dog is in season

Your female dog will show the below signs, and her behaviour will be somewhat different from what you know. Hormones play havoc on behaviour just like us humans.

  • Blood
  • Discharge
  • Frequent urination
  • Alertness
  • Nervous
  • Enlarge vulva

How to act when your dog is in season

When your dog is in season, dont treat her any differently especially if it’s her first season, her hormones like us humans will be all over the place, and she will need her owner as comfort and normality. You will need to rearrange sleep arrangements, perhaps if she sleeps in the bed with you and also chilling together on the sofa may have to wait for a bit. You can increase her playtime, as she will still want to act like a dog and do the everyday things she usually does and love.

How to clean when your dogs season

It would help if you bathed your dog regularly when in season and also you can use dog wipes. I often found myself just wiping her now and then and where she had been sitting and sleeping. It depends on the size of your dog and what action is best for her. She will bleed only a little, and larger dogs tend to have slightly more.

Should I spay my dog?

Unless your thinking of breeding her then yes you should get her spayed. It protects her from cancer of the mammary glands, and these are found on her chest and belly. She will also be unable to contract uterine infections. Plus any unwanted puppies, because let’s face it there are so many dogs out there without homes already.

dog laying down, showing her mammary glands
Here are where the Mammary Glands are located

Can I walk my dog whilst she is in season?

Yes, you can walk your dog when she is in season. However, It would help if you were careful to avoid unwanted pregnancies when out walking your dog when in season. It can happen in the blink of an eye. A male dog locks onto a female dog in seconds, and they are bound for up to 45 minutes. When they are locked never try to separate them, they will eventually become unlocked and what is done is done. It’s not the male dog’s fault or the owner of the male dog. It’s natural! If you’re concerned of the above, try to minimise dog walking and keep her on a short leash and also picking the times you walk your dog can help. I see many dog walkers out between 7 am and 9 am and 5 pm and 6.30 pm where I am from in the UK, and I would avoid this time. However, where you are from may be different.

a pug dog with leash in mouth wanting to go out
Can you walk the dog whilst in season?

Conclusion 

I hope I have answered your initial question on how long is a dog in season for and also given you some insight into other possibilities and when to expect when a dog is on heat. Good luck and please get your dog spayed if you plan not to breed. It’s a standard procedure, and vets do many many of them all the time.

About the Author

Teresa loves animals and travelling around the UK! She currently has two dogs and two cats. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of pets. She is a qualified dog groomer. Teresa is currently studying canine behaviour and canine nutrition. She has been part of the Dog Friendly Team since 2016.