If you haven’t got your dog spayed yet for whatever reason, maybe she’s just having her first season, or you don’t want to. 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 today; it’s somewhat a bit tricker for female dogs and owners. Let’s answer your question.

A female dog’s season lasts from two weeks up until four weeks. However, each dog is different. Breed, size and age can affect the length of time they are in season. You will know when they have finished their season when the bleeding and the discharge have stopped. You will also notice that your dog’s vulva will return to standard size and colour.

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

It means that your female dog is fertile, which is when she can get pregnant with 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 of when their dog is on heat so that mating can commence. Dog owners must be mindful of their dog’s season to avoid unwanted puppies. Please be aware unlike us humans, female dogs don’t have menopause and are fertile all their life. Although female dogs will be less fertile the older they get, they can still fall pregnant.

The pregnancy window for a female dog is pretty small. Breeders need to time it right so she falls pregnant within the window. This could be nine days after her season starts or only five days into her cycle. If you don’t want her to get pregnant, it will help if you take extra care when out and about walking your female dog. In case of any male dogs come along, keep your dog on the lead and mention to any other dog owners with a male dog to keep away. 

When will my dog’s next season be?

Your female dog will have a season every six months, 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 season?

You know she’s finished her season when there is no more visible blood or discharge, plus her vulva returns to its standard size. This means her season is over. Remember, this will happen again in about six months unless she has been neutered or becomes pregnant.

At what age do female dogs get their first heat cycle?

It depends on the size of your dog; a smaller dog breed can have its 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, and 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, don’t treat her any differently, especially if it’s her first season, her hormones will be all over the place, and she will need her owner to comfort and show normality around her. One thing you may need to do is to rearrange your sleep arrangements. Perhaps if she sleeps in the bed with you, you may want to try her in her own bed. You can increase her playtime, as she will still want to act like a dog and do the everyday things she usually loves.

How to clean when your dog’s in 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 you are thinking of breeding her, then yes, you should get her spayed. It protects her from cancer of the mammary glands 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 walking your dog in season. It can happen in the blink of an eye. A male dog locks onto a female dog in seconds, 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 about the above, try to minimise dog walking, keep her on a short leash, and pick 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?


I hope I have answered your initial question on how long a dog is in season and given you some insight into other possibilities and when to expect when a dog is in 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.

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