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How To Know When My Dog Is Out of Heat?

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Dogs are out of heat when they show no signs of being in heat and have lost interest in male dogs.
  • Scratching a dog's lower back end to see if they react by flagging their tail or pushing back can indicate if they are out of heat.
  • If unsure if a dog has been bred, it is recommended to get an ultrasound exam to confirm pregnancy. If not pregnant, spaying is recommended unless breeding is the goal.
  • Vaginal cytology is an accurate method to determine if a dog is out of heat, but it is rarely needed as a dog's heat cycle follows a consistent pattern.
  • Lack of interest in other males and changes in behavior, such as calmness and lack of interaction with male dogs, can also indicate a dog is out of heat.
Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Taimoor is a well-traveled practicing veterinarian performing duties related to pet care, staff supervision, laboratory work, and diagnoses.
Published on
Tuesday 13 November 2018
Last updated on
Wednesday 28 June 2023
How To Know When My Dog Is Out of Heat?
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You know when a dog’s heat is over if all of the signs of being in heat are absent and when she has completely lost all interest in male dogs. You can also test her by scratching your dog’s lower back end to see if she reacts by flagging her tail, or by pushing back. If not, this is a good sign to tell when your dog is out of her heat cycle.

During this time, if you are unsure whether your bitch has been bred, you should take her in for an ultrasound exam to confirm her pregnancy. If she is not pregnant, it is recommended the bitch gets spayed unless your prime objective is to breed her. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to wait until after a dog’s first heat cycle to spay her. The risks of mammary cancer do increase after the first heat.

A reliable method is by observing her symptoms and there are some signs that let you know your dog is no longer in heat. Just keep in mind, all signs must be present to correctly determine she is out of heat because some signs, such as the bloody discharge and swelling of the vulva, actually end sometime before the heat has ended.

Vaginal Cytology

The only sure way to tell if your dog has gone out of heat is through the vaginal cytology method. This exam must be taken at a veterinary office by a professional.

These exams, although accurate, are rarely needed to test if a dog’s heat is over. A dog’s heat cycle usually follows a consistent pattern that is cohesive in understanding whether she is nearing the end of her heat cycle.

Vaginal cytology is a microscopic examination of cells from the vaginal epithelium. In veterinary medicine, it helps differentiate the stages of the mammalian estrous cycle because the vaginal epithelium changes in response to sex hormone levels; practically, it is used to distinguish when a female canine is at a particular point in the estrous cycle

Signs That a Dog Is Out of Heat


The ability to tell whether a dog is out of her heat is an important factor in maintaining her health and avoiding complications. During the heat phase, many dog owners become exasperated with a couple of daunting tasks:

  • Having to avoid contact with male dogs,
  • Dealing with the stresses of her fluctuating hormones, and
  • Blood drops
  • Vulva swelling goes back to normal
  • The female may be less vocal as not as she was in heat
  • Feeding and activity will resume back to normal

One thing most dog breeders try to avoid is undesired pregnancy. And if you’re not wary, you may slip up on timing and inadvertently encourage mating between your dog and a prospective mate.

Lack of Interest in Other Males

In the second phase of a bitch’s heat cycle, the estrus stage, female dogs will begin to show more interest in mating. This is a definite sign that she is, in fact, in the estrus stage. While she is in the other phases of the heat cycle, she will reject all males who try to initiate physical contact.

A female dog will show noticeable signs when she is ready for coitus while in estrus. She will flag her tail, lifting it up in the air when males surround her, and she will become more restless and edgy. Try touching her backend near her tailbone and if she responds by pushing back, this is a sure sign.

The lack of interest in other males is not immediate, however. It is more gradual as she reaches the end of her dog heat cycle. If she has lost the desire to mate entirely, then it is a good sign a dog is out of heat.

Check the Calendar

Bitches go through three different phases in their heat cycle and she will be in heat for approximately 21 days or three weeks.

Make sure you keep track of the days throughout her cycle. Mark these down on a calendar if necessary. This can vary depending on whether it is her first heat cycle. It will also depend on her age as well as her overall health. Be aware of the timing of each phase along with their corresponding symptoms.

For example, take notice in the first nine days of any swelling of the vulva and a bloody discharge. This will mark her proestrus stage of the cycle. In the next phase, the estrus stage, you will notice her interest in males begins to increase. At this time, she will notice signs of interest which will tell you she is in the mating phase which should last about nine days as well. Then in her diestrus stage, her heat cycle will waver and her symptoms will subside. This may last up to 60 days. Therefore, knowing which day of the cycle she is in can help you determine whether she is nearing the end of her heat.

prolonged heat in dogs
Abnormal heat cycles usually happen several times in a bitch’s life.

Check Your Dog’s Behavior

A fluctuation in hormones, namely estrogen, and progesterone, will always be accompanied by certain behavioral traits in any given organism. In this case, you will notice changes in her disposition and mood as early as her first phase of the heat cycle.

When a bitch is in the estrus stage and starts to display the signs of interest in mating, you notice a rise in agitation and nervousness:

  • Is she generally calm and displaying an overall normal composure? She may be ending her heat cycle.
  • Has she lost interest in male dogs when in the presence of them? She will reject any form of interaction with them.

This is a sign a dog is out of their  heat. In general, look for any sudden drop or an increase in behavioral patterns that will be due to heat signs, or lack of heat.

One comment on “How To Know When My Dog Is Out of Heat?”

  1. Sandi

    Hi I’m not sure wen my bitch came on heat but I no my male dog had sex with her I caught him I should of got my male desexed earlier he is now could the bitch b pregnant she runs from my male dog does that mean she not on heat and she mite not b pregnant

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