how long is a labrador in heat

Understanding the Duration of a Labrador’s Heat Cycle: A Comprehensive Guide

Do you have a female Labrador? When your Labrador dog is in heat, you have more obligations. The Labrador Retriever is a well-liked and well-known breed renowned for its amiable character, intelligence, and adaptability. Every female dog goes through a reproductive cycle known as “heat” or “estrus,” including Labradors. This stage greatly influences their capacity to conceive and give birth to pups.

Responsible dog owners, breeders, and anybody interested in canine reproduction must know how long a Labrador’s heat cycle lasts. This article will examine the average duration of a Labrador’s heat cycle, outlining each stage and illuminating the behavioral and physical changes during this time. You can protect your cherished four-legged companion’s well-being and reproductive health by better understanding a Labrador’s heat cycle. So let’s get started!

What to Expect with the Labrador’s First Heat and Cycle

If your Labrador has not been spayed and you’ve observed that she’s peeing more often and has a vulva that is swollen, red, and has some discharge that is tinged with blood, don’t panic; she’s only in heat. It’s crucial to remember that although most female Labs will go through their first heat cycle between nine and twelve months of age, there are exceptions. While some Labradors may go through their initial heat cycle as early as six months old, some may wait until they are two years old.

Watch out for heat symptoms, including excessive urine or vaginal discharge, and speak to your veterinarian if you have any worries. Although it may seem complicated, you can watch your Labrador to see the changes. But being aware of what the initial heat and cycle include will enable you to comprehend the changes in your dog.

When your Labrador is in season, caring for them might be challenging, particularly if you don’t want the dog to become pregnant. So, you’ve come to the correct spot if you want to learn all there is to know about your Labrador’s first heat, what to anticipate, and how to keep the dog safe & healthy.

How Long Is a Labrador In Heat?

how long is a labrador in heat

When a Labrador is in heat, she is fertile and eager to breed. When a dog is in heat, many people don’t recognize it until it’s too late. How long Labradors are in heat so that I know how to prepare them has been a common topic. Dogs are considered fairly skilled at concealing their symptoms. Any unsaid query you have while reading this article will get clear solutions!

When a lab is in heat, it is fertile & ready to breed. When a dog is in heat, many people don’t recognize it until it’s too late. How long Labradors are in heat so that I know how to prepare them has been a common topic. Dogs are considered fairly skilled at concealing their symptoms. Any unsaid query you have while reading this article will get clear solutions!

Along with being completely ready for mating, she will begin to generate vaginal secretions, which you can see as a white discharge coming from her vulva once estrus follows proestrus. During this period, the Lab will urinate more often and engage in frequent “rolling” activities to seek male attention.

The next stage is metestrus, during which her ovaries contract once again. It’s too late for her to get pregnant, but if you still wish to breed her, talk to your veterinarian about setting up an artificial insemination (AI) session. An adult dog’s heat cycle typically lasts between four and seven days. The cycle, however, may last up to ten days if the female dog in question is not spayed and has never given birth to a litter of pups.

The Labrador Retriever Heat Cycle

how long is a labrador in heat

Several hormonal changes take place throughout a Labrador’s heat cycle. The beginning of fertility is at the time of the first heat, and it continues every six months for the duration of your dog’s life. A Labrador Retriever’s heat cycle normally has four phases. However, there may be some age-related variances throughout your dog’s lifespan.

♻️Proestrus Stage

When this is the first stage, your dog prepares to become pregnant. Although the female dog is not yet sexually responsive, the estrogen levels will be at their highest at this period, making male canines particularly attracted to the female dog.

You’ll notice bodily indicators like vulva enlargement and the start of bloody discharge. This phase might extend for at least nine days. Some dogs may groom themselves to keep themselves clean, which makes it harder for you to see any bleeding. It’s crucial to watch closely for any potential changes throughout this period.

♻️Estrus Stage

This level is known as “Actual heat.” Your Labrador is fertile at this point and is following its natural inclination to mate. As progesterone levels increase, estrogen levels in the body decline. The crimson flow becomes less intense and becomes straw-colored. Due to its sexual receptivity during this time, your dog has a strong desire to mate and is continuously looking for a partner. The major stage of the Labrador reproductive cycle is estrus. Ovulation occurs during the cycle’s fertile stage, sometimes known as the “season” of heat. Your bitch is now prepared to mate.

Estrus lasts for four to fifteen days and is distinguished by the following:

◾️The discharge’s hue changed. Instead of the blood-stained outflow of the proestrus stage, this liquid is now pinkish-brown.

◾️A raised, “flagged,” and no longer concealing tail. Your Lab is preparing to mate if this is the case.

◾️They are looking for canine males. Your bitch may be in the estrus period if they have started acting more aggressively and actively searching for male canines.

♻️Dioestrus Stage

After the estrus stage is over, this stage follows the mating stage. At this point, the discharge normally becomes crimson once more and ends. Although male dogs continue to be drawn to the female dog at this point, your dog won’t be interested in mating.

This period typically lasts 60 to 90 days or until the female dog gives birth (if she is pregnant). The dog enters the anoestrus stage after the dioestrus stage, when the hormone levels return to normal.

♻️Anestrus Stage

At this point, there should be no sexual activity or repose. This stage, known as the “No heat” stage, indicates that your Labrador is not currently heated. Male dogs do not find your dog to be sexually appealing. Hence no mating takes place at this time. Before the subsequent heat arrives, this resting period lasts for 3 to 4 months.

The anestrus stage lasts for around 90 days and is the last stage of a Labrador’s heat cycle. Your Labrador is now preparing for her next cycle, which will resume with the proestrus phase. The anestrus season is the best time to spay the Labrador if you choose to do so. Amid her first heat cycle, my dog underwent spaying.

When Do Labrador Retrievers Go Into Heat?

Around six months of age is when labradors first experience heat. When they hit puberty, they become sexually mature. Some bigger Labs, however, often enter heat beyond six months. Most Labrador Retrievers ovulate between the ages of 9 and 12 months. Additionally, labs may go into heat later; some canines even do so at 18 or 24 months. Depending on your dog, all of these deviations are normal.

When your dog is in heat, it doesn’t always mean she is prepared to procreate. Seasoned Lab breeders know waiting until the second or third heat is preferable. This provides them enough time before mating to enter the cycle properly. A healthier pregnancy is ensured by waiting until the second or third heat since your dog’s eggs are not ready for reproduction during the first heat. Additionally, it enables your dog’s body to be prepared for pregnancy at this point.

Signs That Your Labrador Is in Heat Period

how long is a labrador in heat

Most owners can recognize when their Labradors are in heat, but new owners may find this process a little puzzling. Here are the warning signals to watch out for if you’ve never had a dog before & your Lab’s first heat cycle is approaching:

🔍Swollen Vulva 

This is the greatest and most apparent indication that your Labrador is in heat. Your Labrador’s vulva or genitalia will swell dramatically as she enters her heat cycle. Your dog’s vulva will be 3 to 4 times larger than usual; I’m not referring to a little swell here. Once you understand what to look for, the swelling dramatically alters how your Lab’s vulva appears and is difficult to miss.


Most dog owners anticipate their dog will bleed profusely during her first heat cycle. However, they are often pleasantly delighted to learn that their Labs seldom ever bleed at all. In certain instances, if you need to pay better attention, you can even miss the bleeding. A female Labrador in heat may only urinate a few droplets of blood, generally on their bed or the floor.

In my experience, dog diapers are an excellent method to limit bleeding and keep it off carpets and furniture. Use a tissue to clean your Labrador’s vulva to confirm if she is in heat. It is obvious that your Lab is entering heat if there is a crimson discharge and the vulva is enlarged. Golden Retrievers bleed very little when she is in heat. Our Labrador Retriever, on the other hand, bled a lot more, and it was rather nasty.

🔍More Self Cleaning 

Regardless of their menstrual cycle, labrador retrievers are clean creatures, and your dog is probably quite particular about her grooming schedule. Female Labs, however, focus much more on keeping themselves clean throughout their heat cycles.

The Labrador is likely licking and grooming herself more often than normal to remove and conceal the blood. This is often the first clue I look for when a lab is in heat. I usually notice when she cleans too much, and that’s when I look to see whether she has a vulva that is bloated.

🔍Behavioral Changes

Your Lab’s behavior is likely to change, given the increased hormone levels in her body. Your dog may start becoming more needy & clingy a few days before her other physical signs appear, depending on how these hormones influence her.

Most Labradors become sleepier than normal and want more snuggle time. However, depending on how the hormone alterations impact them, some females may become more agitated and restless.

🔍Flagging and Humping 

When they are in heat, some female Labs may hump other toys, dogs, & even humans. Since humping is a fun activity in puppies, you ought to consider your dog’s excessive humping if other indications of a heat cycle also accompany it.

Your Lab may shift her tail to the side and display her rear end more often when in heat. Flagging is a behavior that tells other male canines in the area that your Labrador is prepared for mating. The 3rd stage of the heat cycle, when a female is fully receptive to males, is when flagging most often occurs.


Male dogs of any kind breed are drawn to the pheromones that female Labs release when they are in heat. Other dogs may be a far better indication of your Lab’s heat cycle than your dog, so you may not always need to watch your dog for symptoms of heat.

You could notice male dogs hanging around in your yard more frequently than they used to, waiting to pounce on the dog when she steps outside. Dogs have a keen sense of smell. Therefore, male dogs can detect a female in heat from great distances.

How to Handle a Labrador That Is in Heat

If you don’t provide your dog the right attention and care during her heat cycle, it might lead to unintended pregnancies, further suffering for your dog, and different health issues. Depending on her body’s health, you may mate with your female Labrador while she is in heat or wait until the next season.

☑️Defend From Male Dogs

During the heating phase, female dogs generate potent pheromones to draw in male dogs even from a greater distance. As a result, never leave the female Labrador alone in the yard or garden. Please do not put your confidence in the fences since the male dog will simply leap over them due to his intense need to mate.

Unexpected mating might result in unneeded issues like unwanted litter & other difficulties. Therefore, keeping male dogs far from your female Labrador while she’s in heat is crucial.

☑️Proper Mating

Before female Labrador mate, it’s crucial to consider several criteria. Correct mating at the appropriate age may guarantee a healthy mother and litter. Your female Labrador should never be mated during her first heat. Before mating, your dog must be completely physically and physiologically mature.

Recognize the Labrador heat cycle so you can mate your dog when it is fertile. Completely examine the male Labrador’s health and use caution over any potential hereditary issues.

☑️Choose Not to Mate

If you don’t want to breed your female Labrador, you must take good care of her and keep her away from anything messy when she’s in heat. When you decide not to mate the female dog, you have options.

☑️Keep Your Labrador Indoors

Avoid going to dog shows and public parks while in heat. It is usually best to avoid public areas where you encounter other male dogs since preventing them from trying to mate with your dog is impossible.

☑️Provide Enough Rest and Exercise

Your Labrador should still exercise even when her heat cycle has begun. During the heat cycle, some dogs experience fatigue and restlessness; during this period, they need enough rest. Make sure your dog has a cozy place to sleep. My favorites are these and these, but you may select from various bed designs, including those with an oval form.

Additionally, getting a reasonable amount of exercise is always beneficial when your Labrador has enough energy to play and stroll. Your female Labrador needs a reasonable amount of activity daily, whether walking or playing. Get your dog interested in indoor activities instead of harmful outside pursuits.

Frequently Asked Questions

When in heat, how long do Labradors bleed?

When in heat, most female Labradors bleed for seven to ten days. Contrary to popular assumption, dogs don’t bleed much, and unless you’re paying great attention, you may not even notice that your Labrador is bleeding in the first place. Even if you know that she is bleeding, you will likely only ever see a few droplets of blood on the floor or next to your dog’s bed.

When do male Labradors go into heat?

Male Labs do not go into heat, unlike female Labs, which do so once or twice a year. Instead, after they reach puberty and &become viable at around six months, male dogs may mate all year. A male Lab may mate up to five times daily after they reach sexual maturity and can detect any nearby female labs in heat.

How can I tell when my Lab isn’t getting any heat?

You will know the dog is out of heat when the size of her vulva goes to normal and there is are no longer any discharge that is stained red. A dog will spend 2 to 3 weeks in heat every cycle.

Can a female dog be bathed when she is in heat?

While washing a dog during the heat is comparable to bathing a dog at other times, you should watch for erratic behavior and prevent over-bathing, which may lead to dry or irritated skin.

Do females that are in heat cry?

Dogs in heat can become more noisy to attract attention, such as groaning, whining, or wailing. Because their urine includes pheromones, female dogs may pee more often to attract a partner.

Final Words

Usually lasting three weeks, a Labrador retriever’s estrus, or heat cycle, occurs. Female Labradors have several unique phases at this time, including discharge, vulva enlargement, and the most fertile stage, known as “standing heat.” Dog owners must be informed of their Labrador’s heat cycle for adequate care and to avoid unexpected pregnancies.

I’m sure this article covered all you needed to know about caring for your Labrador Retriever when it’s in heat. In particular, if she’s intact and you don’t want to breed her, give her some extra affection through the unpleasant proestrus changes and keep her away from male Labradors during estrus.

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