How Long Do Dogs Bleed in Heat?

How Long Do Dogs Bleed in Heat?

Understanding the Heat Cycle

As a dedicated caregiver, understanding your dog’s heat cycle is critical. The heat cycle, also known as the estrous cycle, is the period when female dogs are receptive to mating. The cycle typical length is six months, but it can vary between dog breeds and individual dogs. It’s important to note that smaller breeds may go into heat more frequently, as often as three to four times a year, while larger breeds may only go into heat once every 12-18 months.

Recognizing the Stages of the Heat Cycle

During this cycle, your dog will go through four stages:

  1. Proestrus: This is the start of the heat period where your dog’s body is preparing for pregnancy. Your dog will not be receptive to males during this time. This stage lasts approximately 9-10 days, and it’s during this time that you’ll notice bleeding.

  2. Estrus: This is the actual heat stage where your dog is receptive to males. The bleeding will lessen and become lighter, almost pink. This stage lasts about 9 days.

  3. Diestrus: This stage lasts around 60-90 days. Your dog is no longer receptive to males, and if fertilization has occurred, this is the period of dog pregnancy.

  4. Anestrus: This is the period of sexual inactivity between cycles. It can last anywhere from 60-90 days.

The Bleeding Phase: What to Expect

In the first stage, Proestrus, your dog will start to bleed. This bleeding, also referred to as spotting, can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. On average, most dogs bleed for 1-2 weeks. However, every dog is unique, and this can vary.

Breed Size Average Duration of Bleeding
Small 5-7 days
Medium 7-10 days
Large 10-14 days

How to Care For Your Dog During the Heat Cycle

During their heat cycle, dogs may act differently. You may notice changes in their behavior, such as increased urination, restlessness, or even aggression. It’s essential to provide them with extra care and attention during this time.

  • Keep your dog comfortable with a special doggy diaper or bedding that can be easily cleaned.
  • Maintain a balanced diet and regular exercise routine.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where male dogs may be present.
  • Monitor your dog’s health and consult with a veterinarian if you notice any drastic changes.


Q: How often do dogs go into heat?
A: Most dogs go into heat twice a year, but it can vary depending on the breed and individual dog.

Q: Can I walk my dog while she’s in heat?
A: Yes, but avoid areas where male dogs may be present to prevent unwanted attention or encounters.

Q: Can a dog get pregnant during her first heat?
A: Yes, a dog can get pregnant during her first heat, but it is not recommended for her health and the health of the puppies.

Q: Should I spay my dog to avoid the heat cycle?
A: Spaying is a personal decision that should be discussed with your vet. It can prevent unwanted pregnancies and certain health issues.

Q: Is it normal for my dog to bleed heavily during heat?
A: Some dogs may bleed more than others. However, if you notice excessive bleeding, it’s best to consult with your vet.

As a caregiver, you’re the first line of defense in your pet’s health. Understanding the heat cycle is just one step in ensuring your furry friend is happy, healthy, and safe.