What is estrus in dogs? Frequency and duration of the phenomenon


2023-06-07 14:39:23




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Estrus in dogs is the period when a bitch is able to conceive. This may happen on certain days, from 7 to 21 days of estrus, but the dog must be monitored from the first to the last day. She stops obeying a few days after the start of estrus, and if she runs away, she will return with the puppies. Therefore, if you do not want kids, the dog should be led on a leash and drive away the males.

If you have been dreaming about a dog for a long time or have finally got a four-legged friend, then you probably realize what a responsibility you have. You should walk her regularly, take her to the vet for an examination and get vaccinated, not to mention feeding her. Owners of "young ladies", that is, bitches, are even "more fun". They also need to keep an eye on when the dogs are in heat. The frequency of such a phenomenon and its signs are a constant headache for newly-made owners. It is especially important to monitor the process taking place for the first time, because it can begin when the dog has passed only six months. That is, when it is still very early to get pregnant and give birth to an animal.estrus in dogs frequency

The fact is that a bitch can have healthy offspring at the age of at least two years, before that, mating and pregnancy are undesirable.

Estrus in dogs: frequency and symptoms

The process has four phases and lasts an average of three weeks. The first sign is the frequent urination of your pet – she marks the territory and attracts potential "suitors". Dogs understand specific signals well and show increased interest, but the bitch does not let anyone near her, growls and snaps. This lasts about 9 days.

when dogs go into heatThen comes the second period, it lasts about the same amount. This is the most dangerous moment: your dog is ready for mating, she flirts with males, takes suitable poses, sometimes becomes uncontrollable.

The third phase lasts from 2 to 5 months, during this period all processes in the dog's body are restored, it does not allow males to approach it. The fourth refers to the reproductive period, this is the moment of sexual rest, this state lasts from 3 to 5 months.


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What determines the duration of such a phenomenon as estrus in dogs? Periodicity is an individual process, it varies from six months to 8 months. The duration and time of onset can be affected by the genetic predisposition of your pet, her emotions and even the time of year.

In order to calculate the most suitable moment for mating a dog, you need to keep a kind of calendar. Note when estrus begins in dogs, the frequency and features of the course of this phenomenon. Your attitude towards your pet also plays a huge role. It is clear that the dog will leave traces behind him. Don't scold or punish her, it's a natural process. Constantly clean her litter, some owners have adapted to wear panties with pads or diapers on their "girls", which help to keep clean.

If you are used to regular classes and training, then at the moment when the dogs begin to heat, it is better to stop classes. Your pet has a hormonal surge in the body now, she will not be able to concentrate with all her desire. Even the most obedient and quiet bitch on such days is simply able to run away, despite all your orders - such is the physiology. Do not give in to her requests to go outside, let her sit out this time at home.

how long does dogs go into heatAt the end of the first year of life, provided that regular records are kept, you will be able to figure out how long the dogs are in heat, when to expect the next "critical days". On average, this process takes about 3-4 weeks and can take place 2 times a year. Such information will help you to prepare and without haste to find a suitable "cavalier" if you plan to get offspring.

What is estrus

The female's sexual system consists of:

  • Two ovaries are located in the lower back, not far from the kidneys. They form follicles, inside which the eggs mature. Also, estrogens (hormones that control the sexual life of an animal) are synthesized in the ovaries.
  • Two oviducts connect the ovary to the uterus. Here the fertilization of the egg takes place, after which it passes into the uterus.
  • The uterus is located in the abdominal cavity. Fertilized eggs are attached to its walls and mature.
  • The vagina is the organ of copulation (sperm enters here) and the birth canal.
  • External genitalia (vulvas, loops).

Most bitches have several eggs maturing at the same time, on average from 5 to 11. The number of puppies that will appear in the litter directly depends on their number. A bitch can get pregnant from several males, so after mating she must be monitored.

A dog's egg, when it matures, reaches the surface of the follicle, begins to pull its shell. It bursts and the fluid flows out with the egg – ovulation occurs. This is the name of the period when a bitch can get pregnant.

In place of the burst follicle, a fossa appears, which is filled with blood and cells, which subsequently deposit a yellow pigment (body) – lutein. It synthesizes the hormone progesterone, which inhibits the development of eggs in the follicles to ensure the normal course of pregnancy. If conception does not occur, the yellow body resolves, a new cycle starts.

Symptoms of estrus in a dog

How to understand that a dog is approaching estrus? This can be found out by the behavior of males. They begin to sniff at the bitch 2-3 weeks before the first symptoms appear. Gradually, the bitch's loop swells. She becomes affectionate, turns around the owner.

Signs of estrus in a dog: how to identify its appearance

The beginning of estrus in a dog can be determined by the appearance of blood in the loop. The first drops on the floor may not fall immediately, but after a few days, which depends on the characteristics of the dog. It very rarely happens that there is no blood at all. In this case, the beginning of estrus is determined by the swollen loop and the behavior of males who begin to molest the bitch more actively.

The dog's behavior changes 1-2 days after the appearance of blood. She often stops, sniffs the marks of males for a long time, begins to reach out to them. She performs commands worse, goes not at the first call, but after a while. Poorly trained dogs may not be suitable at all.

If the animal is stroked, especially in the pelvic area, it takes a characteristic stance, freezes, pulls its tail to the side. Many have aggression towards other bitches, they can fight. The attitude towards males improves even in a very aggressive dog.

In some dogs, the need for walking increases due to increased urine excretion. Appetite improves in some dogs, decreases in others, and remains unchanged in others. Nevertheless, all bitches after estrus begin to gain weight – the body is preparing for childbirth.

When does heat start in dogs

The first estrus begins at the age of 6-14 months. Repeated estrus occurs after 5-8 months, if we count from the first day of the appearance of drops.

First heat

When dogs begin their first heat, there is no exact answer. Many bitches have their first blood when they are 7 to 9 months old. The dog is still a teenager, so the changes in behavior are poorly expressed. Knitting at this age is impossible, because the bitch's body has not yet been formed. Pregnancy can have a bad effect on both her health and the puppies.

Owners are often interested in what time the estrus begins in dogs, if the blood does not flow for up to a year. Sometimes estrus can begin at 1.2 years old. If it is not present for up to 2 years, consult a doctor. Maybe the dog has problems.

Up to what age does dogs have estrus

Estrus occurs in a bitch until the end of her life, even if she lives to a very old age (14-16 years). The interval between cycles can either increase or decrease, the estrus itself lasts less. Knitting a bitch after 7 years is not recommended. Pregnancy will undermine the strength of an old dog, shorten its life span, and puppies may be born dead or defective.

How often does heat occur in dogs

How many times do dogs have heat? 1-2 times a year, with a few exceptions. If menstruation appears more often (3 times a year or more), you should consult a doctor. There is a high probability that the dog has serious malfunctions in the body (for example, pyometra develops), and sterilization is needed.

How long does estrus last in dogs

How long does a dog's heat last? On average, 27 days, except for the time before the appearance of the first blood. But the period of sexual hunting, when a bitch allows males to approach her, is shorter - from the 7th to the 17th day of the cycle, sometimes it starts earlier or lasts longer.

Nevertheless, males can molest a bitch a month after the end of estrus. Therefore, the owner of the bitch should be careful not to let her off the leash and drive away the males if they are without a master.

Stages of estrus in dogs

How much heat dogs have depends on their physiology. There are 4 stages of estrus in females:

  • Proestrus – preparatory;
  • Estrus – estrus;
  • Metaestrus is the end of estrus;
  • Anestrus is the period between estrus.


Proestrus begins long before the first symptoms, when the hypothalamus, one of the parts of the brain, orders the follicles to grow. As they mature, they begin to synthesize the hormone estrogen, which prepares the uterus for conception.

During the preparation, the vulva swells, a faint smell appears in the bitches, which warns the males about the imminent estrus. Particularly sensitive dogs can even chase a bitch for a while, but most do not stick to her.


Estrus begins when the first drops of blood appear. The dog's body begins to actively produce pheromones to attract the attention of males. They are excreted in urine, blood, mucus.

Estrus can be divided into 2 stages:

  • The initial phase;
  • The period of sexual hunting.

Initial phase

How many days does the initial phase of estrus in dogs last? No more than ten, on average 7.

When blood appears, the bitch's behavior changes, she flirts with males. On day 2-4, estrus begins to take a characteristic pose, which indicates a willingness to mate. She doesn't let the males in yet, she evades mating. However, the owner should not relax his vigilance and let her off the leash. If the bitch runs away, she may disappear, at best she will return pregnant after estrus.

The period of sexual hunting

The pheromone level reaches its maximum concentration, but the blood becomes less, the color of the secretions brightens. Many bitches begin to let males in from the 7th day of estrus, but the optimal time for conception is 10-14 days. However, if mating occurs on the 17th-18th day after the onset of estrus, she may also become pregnant.

The male's sperm remains active for a week after mating, so one mating is enough for a healthy bitch to bear. This means that if you do not plan puppies, the dog should not be allowed at all. Also, do not relax after mating, because a dog can get pregnant from different males with an interval of several days.


The duration of estrus in dogs depends on many reasons. Most owners may not be afraid of pregnancy on the 22nd day after the appearance of blood. The loop is reduced in size, the number of selections is reduced. The bitch stops letting the males in. The estrus itself ends at this stage.

If mating has occurred, the embryos are fixed in the uterus, begin to develop. If there was no conception, the bitch often develops a false pregnancy. 2 months after estrus, her breasts may droop, milk may appear. Everything will be back to normal within a month. During this period, dogs behave differently. Some have no problems with health or with the psyche, others suffer from pain, looking for puppies.


Anestrus is the period between real/false childbirth and before the onset of proestrus. If a bitch does not feed puppies, she behaves normally, there are no behavioral problems.

How to walk during estrus

During estrus, never let the bitch out on her own. Walk with her only on a leash. If you live in a village where uncastrated males walk unattended, so as not to take risks, take the bitch out for a while during estrus, do not let her out on the street, let her stay at home.

If you live in the city, in order to ensure normal physical activity during estrus, you can walk with your dog for 2-3 hours. At the same time, it is necessary to walk long distances, and not under the house. Even if you come across a male without supervision, he conditionally adheres to one territory, and usually does not go to someone else's. But you should not relax, and there are exceptions here.

If a male appears nearby, he must be driven away. Unfortunately, they listen to few women, so it is desirable that a man walks with a dog. They respond better to his orders. If the woman is alone, and the dog sticks and does not lag behind, it is necessary to hide in the entrance, return home. If he is too active, and the size of the dog allows, take her in your arms and return to the apartment. He won't leave by himself.

There are products on sale that mask the smell of a bitch in heat. They do not fully cope with the task, but the intensity of the aroma decreases. Therefore, if the dog listens to the owner, the spray will help with estrus. Nevertheless, if the dog has a good nose, but does not pay attention to the owner's commands, they will not help.

Pet care during estrus

The main problem faced by owners of bitches during estrus is blood on the floor. During this period, it is better to remove all carpets, buy a cleaning tool for the animal. If the dog lives in an apartment, often jumps on the sofa, bed, dog handlers recommend buying special underpants.

It is not necessary to bathe the dog every day, but it is better to wash the genitals regularly during estrus, especially if the dog has a long light coat. Otherwise, she will walk in blood. This not only looks unsightly, but will also attract males.

Underpants for dogs

Opinions about underpants for dogs are ambiguous. Bitches during estrus are used to taking care of themselves, and cowards do not give them such an opportunity. Therefore, they tear them off, gnaw, eat them. At the same time, underpants have to be washed often, it will not be possible to limit yourself to several models.

And yet, it is impossible to do without panties during estrus if the pet sleeps on the sofa, armchair, bed. The model should be chosen taking into account the size of the dog, the strength of the material. It is advisable to take a natural fabric. Short products will slip, with an inflated waist – form folds. Also, underpants should not be tight, interfere with walking, otherwise the bitch will get rid of them.

Underpants can be replaced with diapers for dogs, but they will have to be changed often. In addition, diapers can hover, interfere with the bitch, and she will take them off.

If you want to walk your dog in underpants on the street, you need to buy special shorts. A simple option will not work – the bitch either will not be able to do her business, or will wet the fabric. No need to rely on underpants as protection from males. If you don't chase the dog away, cowards won't help.

False and hidden estrus

Sometimes dogs have atypical types of leaks. For example, false estrus is a rare pathology in which there are all the symptoms of estrus, but there is no ovulation. Take the dog to the doctor. Serious health problems can provoke a false estrus.

Another option is hidden heat. It proceeds as usual, but without symptoms, there is no blood, there is no discharge. The only sign – males show interest in the dog, and if she really is in heat, the bitch can get pregnant. Therefore, if the dog has no bloody discharge, and the dog is spinning around, take her to the veterinarian, who will determine her condition.

For a dog, hidden heat is not dangerous. It is believed that it is inherited and an attentive owner will determine it in the first year of the bitch's life. If you plan to knit a dog, the time of estrus and ovulation will have to be determined in a laboratory way.


If you do not plan to knit a dog, let it out on its own, you cannot follow it during estrus, veterinarians recommend sterilization. There are several options:

  • Tubal ligation is not the best way out. The heat will continue, but she will not be able to get pregnant.
  • Removal of the uterus or ovaries. In this case, there will be no heat and related problems at all.

Sterilization performed before 1 estrus, but not earlier than 6 months, may prevent breast cancer in the future. And, of course, if the dog does not have a uterus and ovaries, a pyometer, the oncology of the genitals will also not develop.

Are dogs sterilized during estrus

During estrus, the dog cannot be sterilized if there are no medical indications. For example, if the dog is in heat after a month and for a long time. It is quite possible that she has pyometra (inflammation of the uterus), and the operation should be performed immediately.

When dogs are sterilized after estrus

If you did not have time to sterilize the dog before estrus, the procedure should be done 2 months after its completion.

Complications after sterilization

The main problem faced by owners of bitches after sterilization is the leakage of urine drops during sleep or rest (20% of cases). The problem develops within 3 years after surgery.

The exact reasons are unknown. Scientists point to a complex mechanism of interaction:

  • Low estrogen levels;
  • Deterioration of urethral sensitivity;
  • Displacement of the bladder from the abdominal to the pelvic area.

Bitches whose weight exceeds 20 kg are at risk. Also, pedigreed dogs, their mestizos, face the problem more often than mongrels - Doberman, Labrador, boxer, Rottweiler, etc.

The problem is solved by medication. The forecast is favorable.

Hormonal drugs and estrus

There are hormonal drugs on sale that help:

  • Check the beginning of estrus;
  • Stop the development of follicles;
  • Abort ovulation;
  • Calm the animal.

Any medications can be given to a bitch only on the recommendation of a doctor, if there are medical indications. They should not be given uncontrollably and on a regular basis, since various complications are possible that will shorten the life of the dog. If you do not plan to knit a dog, it is better to sterilize it.

Tips from veterinarians

Estrus is a normal physiological process, so you should not panic. From the correct behavior of the owner, the absence of panic, nervousness depends on how the estrus of the dog will pass.

Veterinarians recommend following these rules:

  • The standard frequency of estrus in dogs is 1-2 times a year. If it happens more often, consult a doctor.
  • Do not let the dog out on its own.
  • Walking with a bitch on a leash.
  • Do not leave the dog alone with the males, unattended.
  • If the bitch is breeding, after mating, watch her so that she does not suffer from other dogs.
  • If possible, do not put cowards on the dog so that she can take care of herself naturally.
  • Hormonal Drugs, remedies for Correction of Behavior should be given only after a doctor's recommendation.

Buy medicines, underwear for estrus only in veterinary pharmacies, pet stores that have quality certificates, store products correctly. Avoid bazaars and shopping with your hands. If you give the dog a fake, you can seriously harm the animal.

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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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