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Going into Heat After Dog Pregnancy: How Long Does It Take?

By Aviram K.
June 20, 2022
3 min read
Going into Heat After Dog Pregnancy: How Long Does It Take?
✏️ This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.

Like most mammals on this planet, pregnancy can only occur when certain conditions are met.

One of these conditions includes the female dog going through her heat cycle while implanted by the male dog. But once pregnancy has passed and puppies are on the ground, the cycle is supposed to repeat itself and start anew.

On average, the heat should start again three to four months after giving birth. Pregnancy, birth, and nursing hormones stop the heat cycle from occurring, but there could be times when heat is silent. If your dog missed their heat cycle, you should get your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up anyway because this could indicate serious health issues.

In this article, I’m going to give you a factual representation of how soon a female dog is supposed to go into heat after pregnancy, what happens if she doesn’t, and what you can do about it.

Ready? Let’s begin.

Table of Contents
01
How Long Does It Take a Female Dog to Go into Heat After Giving Birth?
02
The Dog Heat Cycle

How Long Does It Take a Female Dog to Go into Heat After Giving Birth?

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Although heat cycles vary between dog breed and size, on average female dogs cycle twice a year (every six months). That being said, smaller dogs can go into heat as often as three times a year, while larger breeds may only go into estrus once a year.

After pregnancy, hormones do start to change the landscape of your dog’s cycle. During pregnancy, heat stops entirely. Once your dog has given birth, she will begin nursing those puppies until they are of age to no longer rely on milk. The hormones required for producing milk and nursing puppies will continue to ward off the heat cycle, and your dog will not be able to go into estrus.

Eventually, the puppies will no longer require milk. Switching a puppy over to real food rather than milk is a process called weaning.

Your female dog’s hormones are affected when puppies are weaning or fully weaned. The heat cycle is supposed to repeat after the puppies are no longer as reliant on their mother dog because the hormones begin to revert back to their original state.

Once the hormones have fully reverted back to their original state, the heat cycle will begin again. Three to four months is the average time for a dog to start her heat again after having puppies. As such, it’s important to monitor how your female dog’s body is behaving.

What Happens If She Doesn’t Go Into Heat?

Now, the exact time frame can be a little bit complicated as to when a dog is supposed to go into heat.

Because dogs don’t follow a seasonal cycle as wild animals do, estrus can occur at any time of the year - that being said, it is evenly spaced once your dog starts her first cycle and will continue to remain consistent. Pregnancy can thwart this cycle, but it should certainly still occur.

If you don’t see your dog go into heat after puppies, she may potentially be experiencing a silent heat.

A silent heat is when your dog is, in fact, going through heat, but the physical and behavioral tells are so minimal they can easily go unnoticed. Your dog may experience no mood swings, minimal swelling, and no blood, so you might think she hasn’t gone into heat!

If she has truly not had her heat cycle, it’s very important to get her to a reproductive veterinarian for a check-up.

Missing a heat cycle can indicate various health issues, such as a thyroid problem, hyperadrenocorticism, hypoadrenocorticism, diabetes mellitus, and cancer.

Because cycles are entirely regulated by hormones, this can impact many other important bodily functions your dog has.

If you haven’t seen your dog go into heat within ten months and you haven’t already taken your dog to the vet, do so!

The Dog Heat Cycle

The dog heat cycle is fairly straightforward, and it’s important to understand it so you can look for the correct signs. The cycle lasts in four specific stages:

  • Proestrus: This is when you can see some physical signs of an impending heat. These signs include a swelling vulva, mood changes, behavioral changes, eating changes, and blood. Lasts seven to ten days.
  • Estrus: This is the mating period when female dogs can get pregnant. You will see these signs with significant behavioral changes such as humping and yearning to have access to a male. Lasts five to ten days.
  • Diestrus: At this stage, the dog is either pregnant or not. If she’s not pregnant, she’s in a “resting” phase. Lasts ten to 140 days after heat.
  • Anestrus: This describes the periods between Diestrus and the beginning of Proestrus. This is when your dog should be acting entirely normal.

You must be mindful of Proestrus and Estrus especially, where you can see the physical signs and the most action in the reproductive process occurs.


Tags
Dog Pregnancy
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Aviram K.
Aviram K.
Dog Expert
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