8 Common Behaviors of a Female Dog in Heat

An unspayed female dog in heat will exhibit different unusual changes such as bloody discharge, receptivity to male dogs, frantic behavior, and other symptoms in each of the four stages. 

The most frequent symptom that a dog is in her heat period is a bloody discharge, but that is not the only sign that your pup is ready to mate. 

Having an unspayed dog in your home can be daunting, especially if you already have an intact male dog around, but understanding what to anticipate can help prevent complications.

In this article, we will be looking at the common behaviors of a female dog in heat, and how to comfort a dog in heat. So grab your pens and let’s roll.

Common Behaviors of a Female Dog in Heat


The heat period of a female dog, also known as the estrus cycle, is a biological occurrence during which she is most receptive to mating. The heat period normally lasts two to four weeks, and a female dog will go through it roughly every six months. During the heat cycle, a dog’s attitude and physiological changes may be unusual.


There are certain common behaviors of a female dog in heat but these 8 common behaviors will help you understand your dog better. The most frequent symptoms before heat include:

  1. Excessive Licking of The Private Part
  2. Change in Behaviour
  3. Receptive to Mating
  4. Frequent urination and change in urinating posture
  5. Mounting and Humping
  6. Refusing to Eat
  7. Mood Swings
  8. Restlessness when indoors

1. Excessive Licking of The Private Part

One of the most common behaviors of a female dog in heat is the excessive licking of the genital area.  When female dogs are in heat, their increased oestrogen levels cause the vulva to expand. 

The organ will appear red and swollen. It may itch due to its inflamed state.

Licking the vulva is a female dog in heat behavior that is done to reduce the uncomfortable feeling. Licking their genital area is also a method of clearing up vaginal discharge.

2. Change in Behaviour

Your well-mannered, kindest, and most cheerful canine companion may abruptly change into an annoyingly noisy and aggressive canine partner. Not the typical behavior you expected or desired!

They’ll appear to be uninterested in everyone (even you) other than a potential mate.

Her mood swings and aggressive inclinations are caused by a hormonal imbalance in her body.

When a female dog goes into heat, her body is flooded with pregnancy hormones. These hormones will make your dog angrier and more agitated.

They’ll also whine a lot. That’s your dog’s method of communicating her yearning for a mate. Her whining could also be caused by the pain of her menstrual cramps.

3. Receptive to Mating

When a female dog is in heat, she will be more receptive and comfortable with other male dogs sniffing and licking her vulva. This behavior becomes noticeable during the first phase of the heat cycle. 

She could “flirt” by shifting her tail to the side and letting other male dogs sniff and lick her private part. It indicates that she is ready to mate.

4. Frequent urination and change in urinating posture

When your dog goes into heat, you’ll notice that they’re taking more pee breaks than usual. This is due to the vulva swelling that female dogs in heat suffer, which puts pressure on their bladder. As a result, they urinate frequently.

They will urinate in different areas, and it will usually be a modest amount of pee. When you are out together, you’ll notice this.

Regular pee breaks are your dog’s technique of alerting neighboring men to her sexually active state. When urinating near male canines, she would also elevate her leg. She may even pee inside.

During the summer, pheromones are more concentrated in a dog’s pee. So, when your pet pees, males will detect the pheromones and locate her.

5. Mounting and Humping

Contrary to popular belief, male dogs are not the only ones who exhibit this dog-in-season behavior. Females will also mount and hump male dogs or female dogs as an excitement reaction. Furniture, other pets, and even human companions may also become targets and this occurs during the estrus phase.

She’ll want to mount on anybody and everything. It’s not uncommon to see a female dog in heat attempt to ascend the edge of your furniture, other household pets, your leg, or anything else.

Your dog will go on a mounting binge as long as they are in heat to let you know they have a sexual drive that they badly want to be satisfied with.

6. Refusing to Eat

When your female dog is in heat, you will notice a difference in her feeding habits. Her appetite will decrease. Not because she’s sick, but because her attention is preoccupied with something more essential – mating. You can give her healthful foods on a regular basis throughout this time to keep her from going hungry for too long.

7. Extremely Affectionate

When your dog isn’t being grumpy, they will be begging for physical affection. They’ll want to be near you in the hopes that you’ll start a long petting session.

Your dog is undoubtedly aware that caressing will assist her in communicating her “sexually available” status to males.

The more you pet your dog, the more her pheromone glands are activated. Pheromones are scented hormones that our canine companions emit when they are petted. These pheromones can only be detected by other dogs, not by humans.

Because the scent of pheromones is stronger when a dog is in heat, your canine queen will be delighted to attract the guys’ attention from afar!

8. Restlessness when indoors

When your dog is in heat, expect her to pace up and down the house, eager for any opportunity to dash outdoors and meet the guys!

When she isn’t staring out the window, you may find her resting at the door, waiting for someone to open it so she can go out in seconds.

If you don’t want your pet to become pregnant, make sure all possible escape routes in the house are closed.


Your dog suffers both mentally and physically when she is in heat. Knowing what to do while your dog is in heat will assist to relieve her discomfort. Here are some points to consider:

1. Always Keep an Eye on Your Dog

Male dogs can track a female dog in heat from a long distance. Keep her indoors until her heat has passed to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.

Allow her to roam freely in your backyard or other outdoor areas without a leash to prevent her from fleeing away in pursuit of males.

Check that your dog’s microchip and ID tag are up to date. If your dog escapes, the microchip and ID tag she’s wearing include all of the information you’ll need to reunite with her.

2. Keep your dog in an enclosed and easy-to-clean area.

Place your dog in a baby-gated or closed room to reduce the mess caused by her heat.

To make cleaning easier, choose a location with tiled flooring rather than wood. Carpets and upholstered furniture should be avoided in the area.

To catch any blood or discharge, cover your dog’s bed with towels. Place your dog in a crate if you need to clean the room. This allows you to keep an eye on her while cleaning.

3. Be attentive to your dog’s needs.

To comfort your dog in her heat, consider creating a comfortable nesting place for your dog using her favorite blankets and toys.

Monitor her behavior to figure out how to approach her. Allow her some room if she is easily irritated. When she is aggressive, touching her can result in biting mishaps. Allow her to rest in a peaceful location.

If your dog appears restless and full of pent-up energy, entice her with indoor games. Keeping her mind and body occupied with enjoyable and demanding tasks helps to raise her spirits.

When your dog needs attention, make her feel safe and cherished by cuddling with her.

4. Get Dog Diapers For Your Dog

Using a dog diaper, you can keep your pet’s messes contained. It reduces the likelihood of surfaces becoming stained with urine or blood stains and makes cleaning up easier for you.

If dog diapers are not available in your area, human diapers are a good substitute. Just remember to leave a hole in the diaper for your dog’s tail.

5. Consider getting your dog spayed.

Unspayed female dogs are at significant risk of having an unintended pregnancy once their heat cycle begins. If you do not intend to breed your dog, spaying her will save you from this problem.

Small and medium dogs can usually be spayed when they are 5-6 months old. Large and enormous breeds, on the other hand, can be spayed once their growth has ceased, which occurs between the ages of 9 and 15 months.

Premature spaying causes these dogs’ bone growth to shut later. It can cause their bones to under-develop once they reach maturity. This raises the likelihood of suffering physical injuries.


The dog heat cycle (the estrous cycle) is divided into 4 stages, namely, the proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus stages. Each stage has differing signs related to behavior, physical or clinical changes, hormonal changes, physiologic changes, and cytologic (vaginal smear) changes. The following is a general description of the various stages and the changes associated with each stage.


The proestrus stage (which lasts around 9 days) is the initial stage of the heat cycle. It is also the time when the female dog’s body begins to prepare for mating.

During this time, the dog’s estrogen (reproductive hormone) levels will skyrocket, and its ovarian follicles will expand dramatically. This period will see the emergence of both behavioral and physiological changes.

Behavioral Signs

  • Excessive licking of the genital area.
  • May increase affection for or clinginess towards the owner.
  • Might attract male dogs.
  • Aggression towards male dogs.
  • Tail-tucking.
  • Appetite may increase or decrease

Physiological signs

  • Swollen vulva.
  • Red/pinkish vaginal discharge.
  • A peak in the level of estrogen.
  • Development of ovarian follicles.


When female canines reach the estrus stage, they become reproductive and receptive to males. During this period, mating takes place. The female dog’s estrogen levels begin to fall as her progesterone levels rise. This period lasts from 3 to 14 days on average.

Behavioral Signs

  • Frequent urination.
  • Friendlier behavior towards male dogs (e.g. showing their rear side to the males with their tail to the side).
  • Aggressive behavior towards other females.

Physiological Signs

  • Less vaginal discharge.
  • The lighter color of the discharge.
  • Less swollen vulva.
  • Softening of the vulva.
  • Decrease in estrogen. 
  • Increase in progesterone.


This stage follows the estrus stage. During this time, female canines are no longer receptive, and their bodies will either revert to their regular state or begin the process of returning to their basal state, or they may become pregnant.

Their estrogen levels remain low, but their progesterone levels peak 3 to 4 weeks after beginning the diestrus stage and progressively fall at the end. If the dog is not pregnant, the diestrus stage might last between 60 and 90 days.

A pregnant dog will continue in the diestrus stage until her puppies are born (the gestation period is approximately 60 days).

Behavioral Signs

No longer interested in flirting (cease inviting behaviors).

Physiological Signs

  • Vaginal discharge disappears.
  • The vulva returns to normal size (gradual reduction of the vulval swelling).


Female dogs rest during this stage of the heat cycle, earning it the nickname “the resting period.” During this time, she will show no evidence of sexual activity.

The anestrus phase of the canine heat cycle is the longest. It can extend between 100 and 150 days. When this stage is completed, the full heat cycle is restarted.


Most breeds go into Heat every six months. Small breeds, on the other hand, may go through three heat cycles each year, whilst big breeds may only go through one. It is crucial to note that both young and old female canines are prone to erratic heat cycles.


Female dogs are in heat for 1 and a half to 2 weeks, with an average of 9 days. However, some dog breeds go through a “heat phase” that lasts up to three weeks.


Many pet owners may find female dogs in heat behavior disturbing, especially if this is their first encounter with it. However, no matter how strange your dog’s behavior becomes during her heat, always be gentle and patient with her.

Her body is changing in ways she doesn’t understand. It may cause her heavy pressure. Instead of chastising her, try to keep her happy and comfortable.

If you found this post useful, please leave a comment, and if you have any more questions, drop them in the comment section and we’ll be happy to answer them.

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