Adult chihuahuas that are not spayed will inevitably end up with regular heat cycles on a yearly basis. If you have never had a female before, it might be confusing to figure out when your chihuahua is in heat, not to mention how long it lasts or what to do. So, how long do chihuahua stay in heat then?
Generally speaking, most adult dogs experience a cycle every half a year to nine months. It depends from one dog to another. Most heat cycles will last less than a month – normally, between three and four weeks.
Going into heat explained
The heat implies a specific part of the reproductive cycle in female dogs. When this cycle occurs, the dog can be bred. There are more signs that underline the fact that your chihuahua is in heat, which could be a bit confusing for new owners.
Also, it is important to know that different dogs experience different signs. All in all, signs could include regular vaginal discharge (sometimes, with small bits of blood), behavioral changes (friendlier or more aggressive), appetite changes, frequent urination and a swollen vulva.
You will also notice that different dogs act differently around your dog when it is in heat. Dogs that your dog used to get along with will act weird and try to avoid it or come closer than normally. One or more of these signs could indicate that your chihuahua is in heat.
So, how long do chihuahua stay in heat? While it is safe to say that chihuahuas normally stay in heat for 21 to 28 days, the cycle is split into three different periods and each of them brings a few changes you need to be aware of.
First stage of heat in chihuahua
The first stage implies a slight swelling of the vulva – it may appear a bit larger than normally. Your dog will need to urinate more often. Vaginal discharge is also common, yet it may sometimes come with bits of blood – nothing to worry about, but do call the vet if there is plenty of blood.
At this point, your dog will not really be interested in breeding. In other words, the tail will hang naturally close to the body, so there are no signs that your dog is ready to be bred. You will also notice your dog grooms more often than normally.
Second stage of heat in chihuahua
If you are looking to breed your chihuahua, this is the stage when you can introduce your dog to other dogs. The vaginal discharge will no longer have blood in it. Instead, it might be clear or a little brown – again, nothing to worry about.
The tail is no longer hanging loosely close to the body. Instead, your dog will flag it, meaning it will go in an unusual angle to a side. It is always a good idea to discuss breeding with a veterinarian – a vet can conduct blood tests to determine the perfect time.
Keep in mind that breeding small dogs comes with a bunch of challenges. While any breed could have difficult pregnancies, small dogs tend to experience more stress and complications – mostly because of the size of the mother compared to the size of a full litter. Get ready to face potential emergencies too.
Third stage of heat in chihuahua
Often referred to as diestrus among professionals, the third stage closes the cycle. Your dog is no longer interested in breeding. Vaginal dischage will lose its intensity and the vulva will get back to its original size.
Even if your dog has not been bred, signs of a pregnancy may kick in – even after the cycle is over. It does not mean that your dog is pregnant though. Instead, a false pregnancy involves the brain acting weirdly and telling the dog about a pregnancy – even if it is not there.
The signs of a false pregnancy may include mammary secretions, nesting, depression, low energy and low appetite. Breasts may also swallow a little, not to mention the restlessness in random situations. Most false pregnancies are mild and do not require medical help.
Bottom line, how long do chihuahua stay in heat? While the exact period varies from one dog to another, all chihuahuas will go through these three stages in a heat cycle. They will all experience similar symptoms, yet the duration of a cycle is almost always between 21 and 28 days and it occurs once every six to nine months.