If you have a female dog who isn’t spayed, then you might have questions about how dogs go into heat, including how often they go into heat. We’re here to help!

Dogs don’t go into heat every two months. In fact, dogs go into heat every six months, so you only have to manage the symptoms twice a year!

However, there are a few different exceptions where dogs might go into heat more frequently or less frequently. Giving birth also influences a dog’s heat cycle, so it’s important to monitor and track the heat cycle of your dog if you’re trying to breed her.

How Often a Dog Goes Into Heat

Heat (or the estrous cycle or reproductive cycle) begins when a female dog isn’t spayed once she reaches puberty. Mostly, dogs go through the heat for the first time when they’re about six months old, and they’ll go through heat every six months afterward.

Some dogs can take up to a year to go into heat for the first time, and that’s ok! Dogs mature at different ages just like humans do, so it’s common for some of these things to be rough estimates rather than exacts.

When dogs are in their estrous cycle, they can get pregnant. If you’re breeding dogs, then this is important to pay attention to since it’ll determine when you have puppies ready for sale.

While most dogs go into heat every six months, there are a few exceptions depending on the size of the dog. However, no dog should have a heat cycle that comes every two months.

At most, some small dogs will have a heat cycle that comes every four months. Larger dogs go into heat once a year. This is partially what causes prices to be so high for large dogs when you buy them from a breeder, and why smaller dogs are typically cheaper.

Keep in mind that none of these times are exact times. You’re not going to get six months down the road to the day, and your dog goes into heat on the exact day. However, you can watch for some signs to see if your dog is about to go into heat again and prepare adequately.

Also, as dogs get older, the heat cycle comes less frequently.

The Different Stages of a Dog’s Heat Cycle

A dog’s heat cycle lasts anywhere between 2 and 4 weeks, which is counted as the time between cycles. A dog will have another heat cycle six months after the first day of her current heart cycle, not the last day.

There are three different stages in a dog’s heat cycle, and you’ll probably only notice the middle cycle where you’ll keep a diaper on your dog 24/7. This is also the point in time where a female dog is most likely to get pregnant.

However, your dog can get pregnant at any point in the heat cycle, so it’s important to keep her away from any male dogs unless you’re trying to breed her. You’ll notice male dogs acting differently, so it should be easy to remember to keep them apart. If there are any dogs that roam your neighborhood, make sure not to let your dog out of sight until she’s completed her heat cycle.

Each stage in the heat cycle lasts about a week. You can tell if your dog is in heat because her vulva will be swollen, so you can monitor that and know when your dog is out of heat (which means she’s free of diapers and constant supervision).

The first stage is called proestrus, and your dog most likely won’t want other dogs near her. She probably won’t have too much discharge, and you might not notice she’s gone into heat unless you have another dog in the house.

The second stage is called estrus, which is where your dog is extremely fertile, and you must keep a diaper on her.

The third stage is called diestrus, and it lasts anywhere from two to three months. If your dog is pregnant, then this is the stage that she’ll give birth in, and her pregnancy hormones will take place even if she’s not pregnant.

Because the pregnancy hormones still trigger, your dog will probably show signs of being pregnant without being pregnant. Don’t be overwhelmed when you see this, it’s normal, and unless your dog had some time to be around a male dog without supervision, she’s not actually pregnant.

The time period between cycles is called anestrus. While nothing significant happens during this period of time, it’s some great trivia knowledge to tuck away! This is a good time to get your dog spayed if you’re thinking about it.

While the average length of each of the main stages in the heat cycles lasts seven days, it’s normal for them to last anywhere between 3 and 10 days. Don’t be alarmed if your dog has a short heat cycle. In fact, unless you plan on breeding her, that can mean less work for you!

Can a Dog Go Into Heat 2 Months After Giving Birth?

In most cases, your dog isn’t likely to go back into heat two months after giving birth. In fact, it will be rare, and here’s why.

Dogs are pregnant for roughly 60 days. Since the average dog has six months in between their heat cycles, there are still four months left of no heat after a litter is born. Unless your dog is going into heat every four months (which is possible with some small dogs), then you’re not likely to have your dog go into heat two months after giving birth.

Note: If you thought dogs go into heat every two months, you might have been thinking about the pregnancy cycles. Dogs are only pregnant for two months!

Keep in mind that some large dogs have heat cycles that are much shorter, so don’t be surprised or think something’s wrong if your dog goes back into heat soon after giving puppies. If she acts weird, get an appointment with your vet!

Spaying Your Dog

If you’re looking to stop your dog’s heat cycle permanently, you can get her sterilized with a spay surgery. These are common, and there aren’t many risks associated with the operation itself.

In fact, it’s considered better for dogs to be sterile. Dogs live longer after being spayed, and it tends to cause dogs to have better temperaments as well. It’s also a lot easier for most people, as changing a dog’s diaper can be messy and time-consuming.

A spay surgery is the female version of sterilization operation. If you’ve got a male dog, then it would be called neutering. Both of these surgeries are completely normal, safe, and benefit you and your dog.

If you’ve got multiple dogs around, then it’s a great way to stop any accidental breeding. Not only that, but it’ll stop you from having to keep dogs separated or your male dogs from acting crazy while your female dog is in heat.

So, to recap, dogs do not go into heat after two months of being out of heat. A dog’s heat cycles last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, with the average dog having six months in between heat cycles.