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Zara's in Heat

Posted Sept 8. 2022

Disclaimer: Information in this post is based off of a collection of articles that I read from various sources.

As the title suggests, Zara's in heat! This is her second time. The first time she was in heat was December of 2021, now it's August 2022. Here we'll be discussing what a heat cycle is, what it entails/what to expect, and how to prepare!

What is a Heat Cycle?

Just like women, dogs are one of the few animals that experience a menstrual cycle. When a dog goes into heat (estrous cycle), they have reached puberty, a time in which they are able to be bred. The actual length of a heat cycle varies by breed, usually the smaller the breed, the sooner the heat cycle. The average heat cycle begins at around 6 months. For reference, Zara got her first heat at 8 months and her second heat was another 8 months later.

The Four Stages

The overall cycle for a female dog comes in 4 stages. The duration of each stage varies for each dog.

  1. Proestrus: 7-10 days. The vulva begins to swell and your dog begins to bleed. She will begin to attract males but is not ready to mate yet. She may also get a bit clingy and stick around you.

  2. Estrus: The mating period; lasts 5 to 10 days. Bleeding may reduce or stop. Your dog is ready to mate.

  3. Diestrus: Lasts between 10 to 140 days. Your dog is either pregnant or is in a period of rest.

  4. Anestrus: Downtime period before the next heat cycle. Lasts about 6 months.

What to Expect

Early signs of of a dog going into heat include:

  • swelling or enlargement of the vulva (looks like it vulva drops)

  • bloody discharge ( really bloody in the beginning and slowly turns a watery pink over time)

  • excess urination (urinating in small amounts on various objects/areas)

  • change in behavior (may be overly friendly wit other dogs or be very nervous)

During a dog's heat cycle, they are able to get pregnant. On average, a dog's heat cycle can last between 1.5 to 2 weeks, however this varies for each dog. A female dog usually ovulates when the vaginal discharge becomes watery, meaning she is the most fertile during this time. As for bloody discharge, expect this process to last for about 7 to 10 days.

How to Prepare

If you don't want to risk the chance of your female dog getting pregnant, the easiest solution is to spay her before her first cycle. Most vets recommend spaying before your dog reaches 6 to 7 months of age. If this is your first time experiencing your dog's heat cycle, here are a few things to keep in mind, as well as, some tips.

Care: During your dog's heat cycle, a bit more supervision is required. During this time, your dog is hormonal and will be anxious. Try keeping her distracted, playing with her, or going on walks, this will help relieve some of her anxiety. In addition, keep her well away from male dogs, this will help with avoiding pregnancy.

Be well equipped: While your dog is bleeding, make sure you stay on top of maintaining cleanliness. Keep your floors clean from blood. To help reduce the mess, try putting on a diaper or laying towels around. You can even limit her to one portion of the house.

Final Word

I hope this post was a bit insightful. If it's your first heat cycle, congrats! I will admit, it will be a bit difficult at first, but you will eventually become a pro! You'll start to get a feel of how your dog reacts during their first cycle, only better preparing you for their next cycle. Also, think about the amazing bond you can create with your dog during this time. The constant TLC you are giving them, they will definitely feel.


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