A female dog’s estrus, or heat cycle, typically occurs twice a year, or every six months. However, this is not the same for all dogs. Small breeds can go into estrus more often, sometimes three to four times a year. On the other hand, larger breeds may only go into heat once every 12-18 months. There is no one-size-fits-all answer as to how often a dog is in heat as it largely depends on the breed and size of the dog.
The heat cycle in dogs can last anywhere from 3-21 days, with the average being around 18 days. The first stage of the heat cycle is called Proestrus, this is when the female dog is preparing to mate. During this stage, she will usually reject advances from male dogs and exhibit signs of female dog behavior in order to attract a mate. Female dogs will also have a condition called “swelling of the vulva” during this phase, which can last for a few days.
The second stage is called Estrus, which is the time when the female dog is actually in heat. During this time, she will accept advances from male dogs and will be receptive to mating. Female dogs may also become very vocal during this stage and may attempt to run away from their owners. This is the stage in which all of the physical changes occur, and is the most obvious sign that the female dog is in heat.
The third stage is called Diestrus and this is when the female dog is pregnant. During this stage, the female dog will become less active and will spend most of her days sleeping and resting. After the puppy is born, the female dog will transition into the Anestrus stage which is the resting period between estrus cycles.
There are many signs to look out for that could indicate that your female dog is in heat. These include but are not limited to: swollen vulva, increased urination, behavior changes, change in appetite, and becoming more vocal. It’s important to keep an eye on your female dog and consult with your vet if you have any questions or concerns.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of when your female dog is in heat can help you be better prepared for this natural process. It’s important to keep in mind that the frequency of estrus cycles can vary per breed and size of the dog and that there is always room for variation. It’s important to consult with your vet to discuss the best routine for your dog as well as for any questions or concerns you may have.