How Long Does a Pit Bull Stay in Heat? 8 Signs That Your Pit Bull is Going into Heat and How to Care for It

Pit Bulls, like all dog breeds, go into heat at least twice a year, and during that limited period, their bodies will be ready for mating and pregnancy.

This period is certainly difficult for the dog to handle, but it might be even more difficult for dog owners as they need to deal with the changes the dog is going through while trying to prevent any unwanted pregnancy.

To be sufficiently prepared, you need to ask yourself when does a Pit Bull go into heat and, more importantly, 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 5 to 8 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 spay your dog.

When Will Your Pit Bull Get Her First Heat?

a photo of a pitbull to show how long does a Pit Bull stay in heat

All female dogs have approximately the same cycle and get their first heat anytime between 6 to 8 months.

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?

From the time they get their first heat till the rest of their lives, Pit Bulls will go through this process every 5 to 8 months.

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

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:


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

During heat, your Pit Bull 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 v*lva and increase swelling.

Raising her leg

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

Every time she sees a male dog -it 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 also 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 as much as possible. Your Pit Bull will be an easy target for male dogs during her heat, and she will even encourage attention. If you must go outside, make sure to keep your dog on a leash and avoid taking it on walks in areas where you’re likely to run into other male dogs.
  2. Never leave your dog without supervision around other male dogs to protect her and prevent unwanted pregnancy.
  3. 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 these disposable doggie diapers on Amazon; they’re comfortable, leak-proof, and very affordable.
  4. Separate your dog 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.
  5. Try to anticipate what your dog needs when it’s going through mood swings and provide it with a warm bed to rest in as well as some toys.
  6. Make sure your dog is eating well to maintain its energy levels, and try not to overexert it with exercise.
  7. Take your dog out for potty breaks frequently and avoid reprimanding her harshly if it has an accident inside the house.

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

You can disguise your Pit Bull’s heat from other dogs by rubbing some menthol on the tip of its tail when or using special sprays. This will make it harder for nearby dogs to detect its scent.

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 is a medical procedure that involves the surgical removal of the dog’s reproductive organs, which permanently prevents the dog from going into heat.

This procedure might not always be the best option for your Pit Bull, so you need to consult a veterinarian about the pros and cons to ensure that it will actually help your dog.

The Pros and Cons of Spaying Your Pittie

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

  • It will prevent the dog from going into heat, which means you won’t be dealing with any bleeding or discharge that can stain your carpets and furniture.  
  • It will prevent unwanted pregnancies. 
  • It will reduce the chance of your Pit Bull developing breast, ovarian or uterine cancer

Spaying can also have some cons, such as:

  • It’s impossible to breed if you change your mind
  • It may reduce your dog’s metabolism, which can cause obesity if not careful.
  • It will put the dogs at risk of developing other health problems. such as cranial cruciate ligament rupture, hip dysplasia, mast cell tumors, hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, and various orthopedic issues.
  • It will stop the dog from producing specific hormones that are vital for its development.

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 after its first heat, which is usually at least 8 to 10 months of age, so the dog will be old enough to tolerate being under anesthesia. However, some vets believe it’s best to spay the dog before its first heat cycle.

Common Myths About Spaying Your Pit Bull

  • 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 do not need 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.

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