Apart from knowing for how long does a dog stay in heat, a dog owner must also be aware of other important aspects related to a canine in heat. Although it is not a disease, it can be a potential danger to the wellbeing of your loyal buddy if it is not taken care of properly. What is dogs going into heat?There is a stage in a female dog’s reproductive cycle during which she gets inclined to mate with males and this period is called ‘Estrus’ or in layman’s term, ‘heat’. At this point in time, hormonal changes occur as the estrogen level first increases and then slides downhill sharply. Generally, dogs go into heat when they are about six months old but this can vary among the different breeds. While they are likely to happen to the smaller breeds when they are around four months old, it could take eighteen to twenty-four months for the giant breeds. How Long Does A Dog Stay In Heat?Estrus, generally, lasts for around three to four weeks. It is during this first half of the aforementioned period that you will notice bleeding. Unlike human beings, female dogs experience estrus throughout their lives with each cycle generally occurring after a gap of six months. With aging, however, the interval between the cycles gets longer. What are its signs?A female dog in heat showcases a lot of symptoms when she is in heat. She urinates more often than she generally does, becomes receptive and attentive to male dogs, and raises her leg in an unusual manner while she urinates. She may initiate sexual signs of communicating her signal when she sees a male dog, which includes moving her tail to one side and stretching her rear legs. Besides, she is seemingly likely to become more affectionate, get distracted easily, and may also appear to be nervous. Her vulva gets swollen and there is bloody or straw-colored discharge from it. Her vagina starts to bleed and further, she licks her genital area excessively. Fortunately, the blood that comes out is not much and the bleeding is generally seen for the first couple of weeks. The canine estrus cycles are not reliant on temperature, seasons, or the amount of sunlight it gets. It is when her vulva returns to the normal size and the bleeding stops that you will realize that her cycle is done and dusted. How often do dogs go into heat?With an interval of approximately six months, generally, a female dog goes into heat twice a year. However, the larger breeds may go into heat for once in a year whereas the small breeds may undergo this cycle for as many as three times within a period of twelve months. It is a lifelong process for a female dog and continues right until the end. What problems it might cause to male dogs?During the aforesaid period, a female dog releases a pheromone called Methyl p-hydroxybenzoate. When a male counterpart gets its smell, it arouses them and turns them desperate to mate. They become aggressive and get obsessed with over tracking down the female dog in heat throughout the entire period of her estrus. In fact, they even stop eating and lose focus of whatever goes around them. It is important for you to take measures to distract your male dog if he is in the vicinity of a female canine in heat to avoid unwanted breeding. Ensure that your male dog exercises regularly and keeps on performing random activities so that he remains distracted from her. If both of them are living in the same house, sending one of them to stay with a friend or relative of yours could be a useful alternative. Neutering them is also an option but do talk about it with your veterinarian about it. Why spaying is necessary? It is highly recommended to consult your veterinarian before spaying your dog. In common parlance, spaying her before her first heat cycle (when she is around two to four months old) is the best if you do not intent on breeding. Spaying is necessary not only to prevent unwanted pregnancy of your female dog but to also keep her safe from breast cancer and various reproductive diseases. Further, it is also seen that the female dogs that are spayed early in their lives have lesser chances of suffering from mammary gland tumors. What to do when your dog is in the heat? A female dog in heat is required to be taken care of with a lot of understanding, love, and caution. In worst case situations, they can cause disastrous consequences as she might even run away from home, suffer from reproductive diseases, or even end up having an unwanted puppy. Use a leash: During the estrus cycle, your dog shows signs of disobedience as her actions are influenced by hormonal changes and that is why it is essential to not let her off her leash. Do not let her roam outside on her own: As male dogs are attracted by pheromones emitted by female dogs during the estrus cycle, do not let her roam alone.