8 Common Behaviours of a Female Dog in Heat

8 Common Behaviours of a Female Dog in Heat

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What are the common behaviours of a female dog in heat? Female dogs show certain behavioral changes when in heat. As a dog owner, you can’t avoid these behaviors because they are natural. Dogs’ estrus cycle begins in dogs as early as 6 months old. Vagina bleeding and swelling of the vulva is the first visible sign you will observe in your dog.

Are you a dog owner who does not know what to expect as your dog is about to start her first estrus cycle? This article will explain some common behaviors in dogs during heat, to help you prepare your mind before your dog begins her heat period.

Common Behaviours of a Female Dog in Heat

Common behaviours of a Female Dog in Heat

As mentioned earlier, vaginal bleeding may be a sign that your dog is in heat. However, there are other signs behavioural-wise which your dog may exhibit in heat, including:

1. Licking of the private part

When your dog is in heat, she tends to lose some of the hygienic training you may have given her earlier. To this end, she licks her swelling vulva excessively, even with all the discharge around it. That’s her little way of keeping her nether region clean and reducing the discomfort of the swollen vulva during the heat period.

Nots that a bloody discharge from the vulva of your female dog is a normal part of a her heat cycle.

To stop your dog from being overly messy, you can get her dog diaper that’s just the right size for her. This will soak in the discharge, and ease your dog of the discomfort. Pay attention to the diapers after a while as a wet diaper left on her for too long could cause skin infections.

2. Dog gets aggressive

It’s not that you didn’t train your dog properly but during heat, your once calm and law-abiding dog may develop mood swings.

During this time, she doesn’t want to have anything to do with anyone—including you—or anything. All she wants is a male to mate with her, and to achieve this, she keeps whining and making other sounds to attract him.

This is not a behavior you expected as a first-time dog owner. The hormonal changes in her body should be blamed. Your dog is only outwardly manifesting what’s going on inside her body. You might want to be patient with her.

3. Change in urination habit

During heat, your dog’s urination habit changes. You may notice a change in the way she urinates (may raise her left differently from what you are used to). Additionally, she tends to urinate often, as well as around make dogs. When you notice such urinary behaviors in your dog, know that she’s in heat.

4. Showing Inviting Gesture to Male Dogs

Your dog may begin to play around her male counterparts during the heat. She allows male dogs to play around her private part and even sniff the scent. This is something she would protest against in her puppy days.

Additionally, she wags her tail which is part of the inviting gestures. These signs indicate that she’s ready to mate.

5. Dog mounts and humps

This is one of the clear signs that your dog is in her heat period. Not only male dogs mount and thrust. Female dogs too mount and hump both male and female dogs or anything around the house which she may mistake for a dog.

You should be around your dog to monitor her movements as she can even run away from home in search of a mating partner.

6. She becomes affectionate

Your dog seeks your attention and becomes more affectionate around you, seeking some petting from you, which will help send a strong sexual signal to male dogs. During petting, her pheromone gland is activated, and your dog releases a scented hormone known as pheromones.

It is a scent that beckons on a male dog even from afar. Only dogs can smell this scent so don’t be surprised when you see a male dog running toward her during the release of pheromones. However, be present to put their behavior in check if you are not ready to deal with a pregnant dog now.

7. Change in eating behavior

During heat, your dog may develop less interest in food. And no, it’s not because she’s not hungry, but she’s got her mind on something more pressing—mating. During this period, ensure that you feed your dog healthy and delicious treats regularly to boost her food desire, and ensure that she doesn’t starve.

8. Increased anxiety and alertness

Your dog may become overly emotional during her heat period. She can easily become anxious or lash out in alert because they do not understand what’s going on in their body. This is especially peculiar to puppies in their first few cycles.

A little pat on her head will make her understand that there is no need to panic. Endeavor to spend more time with her during this emotional time.

How long after bleeding is a dog out of heat?

A dog’s typical heat period with bleeding will last 2-4 weeks. While dogs’ periods continue for the rest of their lives from six months old, it comes and goes periodically. It usually comes every 6 – 7 months. This means your dog may experience her period at most twice a year.

Again, heat period in dogs lasts for about 2 to 4 weeks. During this time, you’ll notice visible changes such as ceased blood discharge, and vulva returning to its normal size. That is how you know when heat is about to be over in your female dog.

However, the end of dogs’ period varies by breed; while some dogs stop bleeding sooner than you expected, others may even exceed the four-week limit.


Do female dogs get grumpy when in heat?

Drastic hormonal changes in dogs can cause them to become grumpy or aggressive even if she has never exhibited such dispositions before. The period that dogs period last is longer, compared with humans’ few days’ flow of blood. This means you have a lengthy time to tolerate your dog’s eccentric behaviors. If your dog is becoming too aggressive to handle during her heat, ensure that you take necessary precautions to avert an incidence of a dog attack. You can leash your dog, to begin with.

Can I walk my dog when she is in heat?

So, to directly answer the question, yes, you can walk your dog when she is in heat. Contrary to the popular misconception that a dog in heat can’t be exercised, exercising a dog in heat is good for them, especially if the said dog is used to exercise. It helps them release built-up energy, relieve stress, and help prevent depression in this uncomfortable time of their lives.


There are certainly other dog behaviors not highlighted in this article. This means your dog could exhibit other forms of behavior during the heat. Be on the lookout for any of such signs and act accordingly. However, bear in mind that the behavior of dogs during heat is largely dependent on the individual dog and breed.

Dr. Rebecca Black

Dr. Rebecca Black is an absolute gem of a Veterinarian. She brings decades of experience to Handy Pets Guide and has overflowing talent and passion for breeding and caring for pets, their people, and the team around her. Dr. Sophia was born and raised in Columbiana, Ohio. She completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After earning her DVM from The Ohio State University in 1980. She has experience of over 3 decades and is very happy to share them. Her goal is to give pets all over the world a better life and to recommend the best tips, advice, and also recommend the best product for every pet owner.

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