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When Do Bulldogs Go Into Heat: Bulldog First Heat and Cycle

Written By: Sharon Waddington

Last Updated:

Knowing when your English Bulldog goes into heat will help you handle the situation, understand what they’re going through, and know if you want to have them spayed. Common symptoms include bleeding, fatigue, and occasional irritability. Your Bulldog’s heat cycle is an essential part of its natural ability to reproduce.

Bulldogs go into heat between six to eight months of age. An English Bulldog’s heat cycle typically starts with a bloody discharge that slowly turns into a pinkish-red color over the following days. This process can last up to 17 days, and you can expect them to urinate more when in season.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can know when your English Bulldog is about to start their heat cycle, how long they bleed, and how often they go into heat. We’ll also teach you the best time to spay your Bulldog according to the latest data-backed research.

A Bulldog in Heat. When Do Bulldogs Go Into Heat? Bulldog Heat Cycle

So if you want to know all the facts and the latest research about your Bulldog’s first heat and cycle, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started!

How Do I Know When My Bulldog is in Heat?

To know when your Bulldog is in heat, check for signs of light to heavy blood spotting, excess urination, a swollen vulva, and mood changes. Your Bulldog might seem nervous or agitated, which is a common symptom associated with natural hormonal adjustments.

It’s important to know when your Bulldog is in heat for many reasons. They’ll act differently and experience various mannerisms that they usually don’t. Let’s break down a handful of things to expect below.

  • English Bulldogs start spotting, then bleeding heavily during their heat cycle. According to VCA Hospitals, bleeding is almost always the first sign of an incoming heat cycle in all dogs. If your dog experiences heavy bleeding, they’re likely starting their period. Some Bulldogs spot a bit beforehand.
  • A Bulldog period makes them urinate more often than usual. Since your dog’s vulva is swollen, it applies pressure on their bladder and makes them pee. Its hormonal changes also increase the likelihood of your Bulldog peeing throughout the day.
  • They might seem nervous or agitated, which is a natural result of hormonal changes. When their estrogen spikes, your dog will react much differently (the severity of their hormones and attitude varies from one Bulldog to another).
  • Swollen vulva. Your Bulldog’s vagina will appear swollen although this can be difficult to notice in some cases.
  • Some Bulldogs lick their private parts when they’re about to go into heat. This habit should be dealt with through training. While it’s not uncommon, this nasty habit can spread germs and make your dog feel sick.
  • Inappetence. Some dogs may temporarily lose their appetite due to the change in hormones in the body. This is natural as the dog only wants to concentrate on breeding during this time.
  • A male dog may start to mount her. If you also have a male dog, he might start to sniff her back end or hump your girl. This can also occur at the dog park when your Bulldog is around other dogs, so you need to be aware of this to prevent pregnancy.

These signs and symptoms let you know when your Bulldog is about to go in heat, also known as estrous. However, not all of the symptoms last the whole cycle. For example, their bleeding can reduce drastically. To learn more about how long it lasts, read on.

How Long Does a Bulldog Bleed When in Heat?

A Bulldog bleeds for up to 17 days when in heat but can bleed for as little as 3 days. The length and severity of its bloody discharge can vary. If your dog is in heat for longer than three weeks, you should take them to the vet.

Unfertilized eggs in humans are expelled through bleeding. However, if there are unfertilized eggs in your female Bulldog, the nutrients are reabsorbed into the body. Although female dogs’ vaginal bleeding does not originate from the uterus, it signifies that your dog has entered the “heat cycle” stage.

Here’s what you should know about your Bulldog’s bleeding tendencies when it’s in heat:

  1. Most English Bulldogs go into heat and experience discharge for about 3 to 17 days. The bleeding timeframe softens as it goes, meaning the deep red blood turns into a clear, pink discharge as fewer blood cells are lost. Their estrogen levels fall back to normal, too.
  2. Elongated Bulldog periods sometimes warrant a call or trip to the vet. One or two days over the previously mentioned limit aren’t a cause for concern, but if your dog has a three or four-week period, you might want to call your call veterinarian for a checkup.
  3. Each heat cycle could be a different length for your pup. Their first cycle could last for ten days, and the second could go for four days. They might bleed more than other times, and their estrogen levels could fluctuate more or less each time. There’s no regulating the way they experience their heat cycles.

Tip! The Simple Solution Dog Diapers from Amazon will prevent an unwanted mess and keep your dog from licking itself while going through heat. They’re disposable and come in a pack of 12 or 30 and multiple sizes to fit your pup!

Learn More About Female Dog Heat Cycles…

How Often Do Bulldogs Go Into Heat?

Bulldogs go into heat every six months or twice per year. Keep a calendar to know when your Bulldog’s next heat cycle is so you know when to expect the next one. If they miss a period, they could be pregnant or experiencing health issues.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) states most dogs go into heat every six months (or twice per year), and English Bulldogs are no exception. It’ll also let you understand how much they might bleed or if there are any irregularities.

If you plan to breed your Bulldog, you should wait until her second season, preferably her third, to allow her eggs to mature sufficiently.

Keep in mind that your dog won’t go into heat once it’s spayed. If you’re thinking about spaying your Bulldog, proceed to the next section to learn three must-know tips.

When Should I Spay My Bulldog?

There’s a huge difference of opinion as to exactly when you should spay your Bulldog. Some believe that spaying a Bulldog too early can cause severe health issues, such as joint conditions, while others believe that spaying them too late can lead to cancer, slow or delayed healing, and more. Fortunately, you’re in the right place to find the perfect timeframe.

Bulldogs should be spayed within 6 months of birth (or before their first heat cycle). Most vets recommend neutering before their second cycle at the latest, though some breeds can be spayed or neutered for the first several years. However, the later the surgery, the higher the chances of health complications.

Let’s evaluate this a bit more.

  • You should spay a Bulldog before its first heat cycle. I recommend you contact your vet to know how your Bulldog will handle being spayed. Nevertheless, most experts suggest they get spayed before their first period.
  • Most professionals recommend spaying them no later than their second heat cycle. Once your dog is too old, it won’t be able to recover from the surgery as easily. Their bodies are used to going through heat and can relocate recourses to healing a wound much quicker when they’re young.
  • Your local vet might have weight requirements for your Bulldog to be spayed. Some vets suggest dogs should weigh a certain amount before surgery so they can handle the anesthesia much better. The requirements differ between dogs and vets, so it’s best to ask before booking an appointment.

So, why all the differences in opinions? And what is the latest scientific advice?

The risk of joint problems like hip dysplasia and cancer varies based on the dog’s breed and neutering age. This latest study conducted by the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, also confirmed when to neuter a dog is breed-specific.

The evaluation of 35 breeds found that delaying neutering until after 11 or 23 months of age may reduce the chance of developing joint problems and cancers in standard to giant-sized mixed breeds and several dog breeds.

But what about English Bulldogs?

This evidence-backed research found that there was no noticeable increase in joint disorders or cancers with spaying Bulldogs at various ages, whether spaying was done less than 6 months of age, between 6–11 months, 12 to 24 months, or 2–8 years, or even if the dog was left intact.

This meant that those wishing to spay their Bulldog should decide on the appropriate age themselves. In light of this latest evidence, I would always recommend consulting with your vet for an individualized opinion.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’re familiarized with your English Bulldog’s heat cycle, you can be extra attentive and know what to expect. Like humans, Bulldogs can experience mood changes, rushes of hormones, discomfort, and other symptoms. The best course of action is to be understanding and gentle with them throughout this process and keep your Bulldog comfortable.

Photo of author

Sharon Waddington

Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs.