How Long Does a Pit Bull Stay in Heat?

Just like women, female dogs can only get pregnant during a certain time when their bodies are ready. Starting at 6 months old, female dogs will start to get their heat, which is the stage in the dog’s reproductive cycle when she is ready for mating.

How long does a Pit Bull stay in heat? A Pit Bull stays in heat for a period of 18 to 21 days. This cycle happens to all female dogs approximately every 6 months. During heat, your Pit Bull will be going through various physical and behavioral changes, so you need to pay more attention to it to ensure it remains healthy.

Keep reading to learn more about the Pit Bull’s heat period, how to spot the signs, how to care for your dog while it’s in heat, and whether it’s better to just spay your dog.

When Will Your Pit Bull Get Her First Heat?

All female dogs have approximately the same cycle and get their first heat anytime between 6 months old and 24 months old. During heat, your Pit Bull will be ready for mating but it’s not advised to start breeding before your Pit Bull’s 3rd or 4th heat cycle. 

How Often Do Pit Bulls Go into Heat?

Pit Bulls go into heat every 6 months. It’s a fixed cycle for all female dogs alike. From the time they get their first heat till the rest of their lives, Pit Bulls will go through this process twice every year.

Even though dogs do not stop going into heat throughout their lives, their cycles may become irregular depending on their age and overall health. It sounds weird, but dogs do skip heat cycles, and you can learn why dogs skip heat cycles here.

How Long Does a Pit Bull Stay in Heat?

A Pit Bull stays in heat for a period of 18 to 21 days. During that period, your Pit Bull will be going through various physical and behavioral changes, so you need to pay more attention to it to ensure it remains healthy.

Signs That your Pit Bull Is Going into Heat

The heat period consists of two stages: proestrus and estrus. During proestrus, your Pit Bull is not yet ready for mating and it’s more of a pre-heat stage where her body is getting ready for heat aka estrus.

Check out this article where I discuss the Pit Bull’s heat cycle timeline and stages in more detail.

There are many physical and behavioral signs that will help you tell when your dog is going through heat. 

First, let’s break down the behavioral signs:

Hiding

During proestrus, your female Pit Bull will be prone to hiding from others all day long. She is not exactly hiding from you, she is hiding from male dogs.

Since her body is still getting ready for estrus, you will notice that especially during outside walks, your Pit Bull will try to hide at every corner to avoid any potential males nearby.

Being nervous & irritated

Your sweet, friendly, and cuddly Pit Bull might experience some behavioral changes when she’s going through heat.

During those couple of weeks, your Pit Bill can become more nervous and uncomfortable around people.

She can also get easily irritated and might be a bit more violent. 

It’s advised to give your Pit Bull her space during this period and let her sit in her feelings for a while. It’s all-natural and she will go back to being your sweet friend in no time.

Being clingy and cuddly

You thought you had a read on your Pit Bull’s mood? Wrong! Mood swings are the holy grail of heat cycles. One minute your Pit Bull is nervous and irritated and the other she is super clingy and cuddly. 

The truth is, that affectionate behavior makes sense. In your dog’s head, she’s getting ready to become a mom. Until that happens, you will do it for cuddles.

Mounting everything

This honestly is just funny but can also get very uncomfortable quickly.

Heat means your Pit Bull is ready for that male attention and her body is ready for a physical connection. If she’s not getting it from other dogs, your Pit Bull will try to mount and hump everything. 

From your leg to her toys, her bed, and basically every surface she can get herself onto, your Pit Bull will not stop. Discourage her from humping your leg because that can be very uncomfortable. 

Now, let’s break down physical signs:

Swollen v*lva

This is the easiest sign to catch.

Your Pit Bull’s v*lva will be swollen and red during her heat. She will also tend to lick and groom her vaginal area more than usual which can irritate the vulva and increase the swelling.

Raising her leg

Your Pit Bull will have no shame calling for male attention during heat.

Every time she sees a male dog -doesn’t even have to be a Pit Bull,- she will raise her rear and deflect her tail to the side to entice the male dog.

Bleeding and discharge

Bleeding usually happens during the proestrus stage and will stop as your dog enters the estrus stage.

You might notice a brownish discharge coming out.

To avoid messes around the house, some owners keep their dogs outside, but then you will have to deal with male dogs and unwanted pregnancies, so the other more reliable option is to use dog diapers to contain the mess and save your carpets and floors.

Urinating a lot

Dogs can use urination as a means of communicating with each other. They sometimes use it as a means to mark their territories but in this case, your Pit Bull is using it as a sign for male dogs that she is in heat.

How to Care for Your Pit Bull in Heat?

Heat is a very sensitive time for your Pit Bull and she needs your love and care during this period. There are many things you can do to help her get through the physical and emotional experiences she goes through during her heat.

  1. Keep your dog inside – Your Pit Bull will be an easy target for male dogs during her heat and she will even encourage the attention. If you do not want any puppies in your house soon or do not want your dog to mate with any random dog she finds, then keep her inside.
  2. Buy dog diapers – This advice is for your own sake. Your dog won’t care whether they are wearing diapers or not and can leave discharge all over your house. Dog diapers come in different sizes and prices. Check out the one that works best for you and keep it ready for your Pit Bull.
  3. Separate her from other pets – If you have other pets at home, make sure to separate your Pit Bull from them. During heat, she might try to mount them and sometimes will get uncharacteristically angry at them for seemingly no reason.
  4. Brush her coat – Your Pit Bull will be nervous and on edge during her heat. Brushing her coat regularly will calm her down and make her feel better. She’s also vying for any attention or affection during this period so she will welcome the brushing.
  5. Keep an eye on her vagina – Your Pit Bull’s need to keep her vagina clean and groomed during heat might get excessive. Too much licking or scratching can lead to injuries or infections. To avoid this make sure to keep an eye on her and discourage her from touching it too much.

For brushing her coat, use a brush that’s gonna be soft and soothing for her. You can check out my guide to the best Brushes for Pit Bulls here.

Can You Disguise Your Pit Bull’s Heat from Other Dogs?

You can disguise your Pit Bull’s heat from other dogs using special sprays. These sprays can help disguise the smell of your Pit Bull’s vagina while you are outside.

You can use these sprays on the outside of her hindquarters but never too close to her vulva.

Make sure to discuss the use of sprays with your vet first to make sure your dog is not allergic and will not have a negative reaction to the components.

Should You Spay Your Pit Bull?

Spaying your female dog means removing their ovaries. It’s a simple procedure that people do to their dogs every day. Whether to spay your dog or not, is a choice only you can make.

What we can do is give you the pros and cons of spaying and how it will affect your dog. 

The Pros and Cons of Spaying Your Pittie

Spaying your Pittie has many pros including but not limited to:

  • Avoid unwanted pregnancies 
  • Avoid dealing with messes around your house 2 times a year
  • Lower chance of your Pit Bull developing breast, ovarian or uterine cancer
  • Reduce aggressive behavior
  • Avoid the danger of Pyometra Bacteria

Spaying can also have some cons, such as:

  • It’s impossible to breed if you change your mind
  • Spaying reduces your dog’s metabolism which can cause obesity if not careful
  • Spaying large dogs have been linked with increased knee injuries

When to Spay Your Pit Bull?

If you have decided that you’re going to spay your Pit Bull, the best time to do it is before they get their first heat. The standard age for spaying is 6 to 9 months old. 

But healthy puppies younger than 6 months and healthy adult dogs can also be spayed as long as you check with your vet first.

Common Myths About Spaying Your Pit Bull

  • You have to wait for her to get her first heat – Waiting for your dog to go through her first heat has no effect on her behavior after spaying. Each cycle your dog goes through increases the chance of complications, injuries, and medical concerns.
  • Let her have puppies at least once – Your female Pit Bull does not need to have puppies to fix anything about her behavior. Usually, the owner is the one who wants the female to breed. If you have no need for a litter of puppies then you should spare your Pit Bull the pain of going through birth and spaying her young.
  • Spaying will fix ALL your dog’s issues – Spaying also isn’t a magical solution to all your Pit Bull’s behavioral or medical issues. It certainly will help with some of them but it is not an alternative to obedience training and regular medical checkups.

Related Questions 

How Long Do Pit Bulls Bleed While in Heat?

Pit Bulls bleed for around 7 to 10 days while in heat. Although technically the bleeding happens during proestrus which is the stage before estrus aka heat. As soon as estrus starts, the bleeding will stop and be replaced with discharge.

Are Female Pit Bulls More Aggressive When in Heat?

Female Pit Bulls can be more aggressive when in heat. This is a normal and expected behavior as their hormones are high and they are going through a lot of physical and emotional changes. The best solution for this is to separate the dog while in heat.

Helpful Resources

What To Know About Dogs in Heat

PitbullsHome Personally-Tested Picks for Pitties:

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