How long does a Chihuahua stay in heat? This is often a question foremost on the minds of Chi owners that have unsprayed female Chihuahua.
After all, most pet parents want to know how long their girl will bleed.
You might even have other questions about your Chihuahua’s heat cycle.
In any case, you have come to the right place.
In this guide, we will answer questions like ‘how long does a Chihuahua stay in heat’, signs your Chi is in heat, and things you can do to take care of her during this phase.
What Does It Mean When My Chihuahua Is in Heat?
Being in heat means that your Chihuahua has reached sexual maturity and is ready to mate.
The scientific term for ‘dog heat’ is estrus.
This is when your Chi is undergoing specific hormonal changes and is preparing to become fertile so she can have puppies of her own.
During heat, your Chi experiences increased estrogen which allow eggs to drop into her uterus. This makes your pet fertile so she can produce a litter.
It is a good idea for you to understand exactly what it means when your Chihuahua is in heat.
This will help you handle your Chihuahua better because she will be undergoing many physical and emotional changes during this period.
You can also decide whether you want your intact Chi to have puppies or whether it is better for you to get her spayed.
Let us dive deeper into Chihuahua’s heat cycle.
What Does it Mean When Your Chi is in Heat?
Being in heat means that your Chihuahua is sexually mature and ready to mate and have puppies.
Most female dogs come in heat around one year of age.
However, with Chihuahuas, everything is earlier, since the breed matures faster like all other small dog breeds.
Many Chihuahuas are reported to come in heat as early as 4 months of age.
In most cases, their ‘heat’ lasts for up to 3-4 weeks, although this can vary from pet to pet.
Some Chis are also known to have delayed heat starting only once they are about a year and a half of age.
You can predict when your Chihuahua will come in heat by finding out when her dam (mother) came in heat.
Speak to your pet’s breeder so you will know exactly when to expect your dog’s first heat cycle.
Let us now study the three stages of your Chihuahua’s heat cycle:
Stages of Chihuahua’s Heat Cycle
Your Chihuahua will have a heat cycle twice a year, although it is not all that uncommon for some unsprayed dogs to get their heat cycles once every 4-5 months or three times a year.
In general, small breed dogs like Chis undergo heat cycles more frequently compared to the larger breeds that only get their heat once or twice a year.
So, you can expect your Chi to have 2 to 3 heat cycles every year.
In most cases, the cycle will last for 15 days to one month but this varies greatly from dog to dog.
Here are the different stages of heat cycles in Chihuahuas:
Proestrus or beginning of the cycle
During this stage, your Chihuahua’s vulva will swell up, and you might find her licking herself constantly.
You might also notice some changes in your girl’s personality: she might take more interest in male dogs and might even mount other dogs, or show an interest in mating.
Don’t be surprised if your pet starts barking more often than usual calling out to the males in the vicinity.
At this point, you might notice some bleeding in your pet.
Your girl will lick herself constantly though you might notice drops of watery-blood on the floor and on your pet’s bedding.
You can provide some doggy diapers to your pet to protect your bedding and upholstery from bloodstains.
Bleeding in Chihuahuas can last anywhere from 5 to 9 days although some dogs bleed on and off for the entire heat cycle lasting up to a month.
Estrus is the second stage of your Chihuahua’s heat cycle.
During the estrus stage, the bleeding will slightly taper off although it might not stop completely.
The color of the vaginal discharge will be lighter but you will easily recognize that it is not urine.
Your Chi will still have a swollen vulva and she will continue licking and cleaning herself.
At this stage, you must guard your Chi from male dogs if you are not keen on her having puppies.
Male dogs will get very aggressive due to the scent she gives off and they might even try to break into your yard or house to get through to your Chi.
Your Chi will even allow male dogs to mount her and she will be more playful with them.
She might be a bit moody at this point and might refuse food since her instinct to mate will overcome all of her other senses.
Be even gentler with your pet at this point and try not shout or rebuke her as she will likely be very sensitive.
Try to be with your pet and try not to leave her alone during her estrus, since she will be clingier than usual.
The Estrus stage lasts for 5-7 days. You might want to keep your pet indoors or have your yard covered and protected from male dogs during this phase.
Remember: intact male dogs won’t hesitate to dig under your fence or jump high up over it to enter your premises to get to your Chi.
They might not even hesitate to attack humans who try to stop them.
This is the period after the heat cycle that lasts for 2 months whether or not your Chi gets pregnant.
During this phase, your pet’s personality will return back to normal and so will her vulva’s size.
The discharge will also stop.
Some dogs tend to experience a pseudo-pregnancy at this point. It is nothing to worry about but if you want, you can still discuss it with your vet.
In pseudo-pregnancy, your pet tries to become a ‘mother’ and might consider her stuffed toys as her litter. She might even have some lactation from her teats.
If you are considering spaying your pet, now is a good time to schedule an appointment for her initial blood tests so you and your vet can decide the right time for the procedure.
The period of anestrus or lack of any hormonal activity will last for about 2-3 months.
Your pet will be completely back to normal and she might not protect her stuffed animals as she is no longer experiencing the urge to be a ‘mother’.
She will also stop showing any interest in male dogs at this point.
What Are the Signs of My Chihuahua in Heat?
‘Heat’ is an important stage in your female Chihuahua’s reproductive life.
You will notice several signs of your pet ‘being in heat’.
Not all Chis experience these signs, but she might have one or all of the following:
- Red, swollen vulva
- Discharge from the vulva – light reddish-brown, pink, or watery
- Excess licking of the private area
- Frequent urination
- The urge to go outside more often to mark her territory
- Lifting her tail – a behavior known as ‘flagging’
- Appetite changes
- Mood swings
- Clingy behavior, clingier than usual
- Excess barking
- Excess sleeping and lethargy
- Behavior of male dogs around your girl will also change.
How to Care for a Chihuahua in Heat?
It is not fun time for pet parents: there will be mess and blood but try to see things from your girl’s perspective.
She will feel vulnerable, especially if it is her first heat. There even might be cramping or pain which she will communicate through whimpering or crying.
In the beginning, your Chi might not clean herself as frequently as she will once she matures.
The following tips can help you care for your Chihuahua during her heat:
1. Provide doggy diapers
As stated earlier, you can reduce messy cleanup with doggy diapers.
Diapers will also prevent excess licking of the privates which is one of the ways your Chi could get a urinary infection.
Doggy diapers can prevent the transmission of germs from the anus to your dog’s vulva.
2. Use dog wipes
If you do not use dog diapers, you can help your pet keep herself clean with some doggy-wipes.
Avoid using human or baby wipes on your Chi since these contain alcohol which could irritate her already sensitive genital area.
Also Read: Vets answer to – Can You Use Baby Wipes on Dogs.
3. Give her a special blanket
Give your dog a special blanket to cuddle upon wherever she sleeps.
This will also prevent cleanup hassles as you will only have one blanket to clean at the end of her cycle.
4. Give her extra love and cuddles
Your girl will be very clingy during this time.
Be extra gentle with her and give her plenty of love and affection. Do not scold her even if she makes a mess.
Set aside time to be with her and avoid leaving her alone for prolonged periods.
5. Bring out special toys
To show your pet your love and care, bring out special toys or buy her one that she is likely to love.
You can get her a chew toy or a special cuddle toy which has a ‘pulsing’ heartbeat and realistic puppy-like feel to it.
6. Provide healthy treats
Your Chihuahua will not be interested in food at this point.
However, you can provide her with special nourishing treats that will also calm her.
Check out our guide on Best Treats for Chihuahua.
7. Provide her with plenty of water and nutritious food
Although your Chihuahua might not eat much, provide her with a healthy diet and make sure that she drinks fresh water from time to time.
You can give her some cooked chicken pieces, broth, stews, and other comfort foods that she likes.
8. Let her out for frequent potty breaks
If you have an enclosed yard where male dogs cannot get to her, let your girl out to pee several times.
You can also provide her with some indoor dog pee pads for relieving herself.
FAQs on How Long Does a Chihuahua Stay in Heat?
1. What is a Chihuahua heat cycle?
Chihuahua heat cycle is when a Chi is sexually mature and producing the right estrogen levels and hormones needed for reproduction.
2. When do Chihuahuas go into heat?
Like most small dog breeds, Chihuahuas tend to go in heat once they are about 4 to 6 months of age.
However, there are records of Chis coming in heat only after one and half years of age too.
Thus, while the age of coming in heat is not fixed, on an average, most Chis tend to bleed after they are about 6-12 months old.
3. How long does a Chihuahua stay in heat?
Like most small dog breeds, Chihuahuas can stay in heat anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks although the actual bleeding or bloody discharge might stop after 5 to 10 days.
4. How often do Chihuahuas go into heat?
Unlike larger dog breeds that have a heat cycle once every 6 months, Chihuahuas tend to come in heat more frequently.
On an average, Your Chihuahua might have a heat cycle every 4 to 6 months. Some chis are known to have 3 heat cycles per year while some have just 2 cycles.
5. How long will a Chihuahua bleed while in heat?
The entire heat cycle in your Chi will last anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks.
During this period, your pet will bleed on and off.
Some dogs bleed very heavily while others not at all.
Also, some dogs clean themselves thoroughly while others tend to be messier.
It all depends and varies from dog to dog.
Your pet might bleed anywhere between 5 to 9 days or even for the entire month or the duration of the cycle.
6. At what age does a Chihuahua stop going into heat?
Unlike human females that stop getting a period or reach menopause once they are between 45 to 50 years of age, your Chihuahua might continue getting her heat for her entire life.
That is, if you decide against spaying her.
7. At what age do Chihuahuas go into heat?
Chihuahuas, being small breeds, tend to sexually mature earlier than medium or large breed dogs.
As a result, your pet might come into heat at the age of 4 months although there are records of Chihuahuas getting their first heat only after 1 ½ years of age.
8. When can Chihuahua get pregnant?
Your pet can get pregnant even on her first heat if she is allowed to come in contact with an intact male dog.
Her fertile period lasts for about 5 days beginning on the 9th or 10th day after she first goes on heat.
However, it is recommended that you wait for your Chi to at least turn 1 year old prior to mating.
9. How long will it take for my Chi to get pregnant?
Pregnancy can occur right away – even during your pet’s first heat cycle – after your pet is mated.
You can get an ultrasound at the vet’s after about 3 weeks post mating to check if your Chi is pregnant.
10. Do Chihuahua’s heat cycles cause her pain?
Yes, just as humans, your Chi could experience pain, cramps, fatigue, etc.
However, any amount of crying, whining, or whimpering is not to seek your attention but to seek the attention of an intact male near her.
You can provide some extra treats and be nicer to your pet. However, there is no need for any pain relief medicines and these symptoms will subside automatically.
Conclusion – How Long Does a Chihuahua Stay in Heat?
How long does a Chihuahua stay in heat? The answer is – anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks.
Your Chihuahua will continue having heat cycles throughout her life unless you get her spayed.
Since your pet’s health and well-being is your main responsibility, you must discuss this matter thoroughly with your vet.
We hope this guide helps answer specific questions you might have about your Chihuahua’s heat cycle.