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How Often Does a Bichon Frise Go Into Heat? What to Expect (2024)

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how often does a bichon frise go into heatYou know what they say, curiosity killed the cat.

As your unspayed Bichon Frise approaches six months, you’ll likely start noticing early signs of her first heat cycle soon.

Swollen genitalia, increased affection, and discharge signal it’s time to puppy-proof your home.

Her vulva will enlarge, and she may start flagging when ready to mate.

Stay vigilant for these signs every six months until she’s spayed.

Key Takeaways

  • Bichon frise heat cycles occur 2 to 4 times per year on average
  • Younger, unspayed bichons under 10 years old may go into heat up to 4 times yearly
  • Having a litter can increase the frequency of bichon heat cycles
  • Overall health issues may disrupt regular cycles in bichons

When Do Bichons Go Into Heat?

When Do Bichons Go Into Heat
When you’re a responsible Bichon Frise owner, you’ll need to know when your female pup will likely experience her first heat cycle.

The average age of first heat in Bichons is 6-9 months, though it can occur as early as 4 months or be delayed until 12 months, especially in smaller dogs like Bichons that tend to experience heat more frequently.

So you’ll want to observe her around 6 months for signs like vulvar swelling, bloody discharge, and behavioral changes so you’re prepared to manage her first heat cycle properly.

With early spaying considerations in mind, be alert for the subtle signs of estrus in your Bichon like restlessness, increased urination, and tail positioning.

By recognizing the initial indicators, you can take steps to manage interactions with other dogs during this time when inter-dog aggression may emerge.

Staying attuned to your Bichon’s cycle means you can provide the care she needs through each stage.

What Are the Signs of Heat in Bichons?

What Are the Signs of Heat in Bichons
You’ll notice some clear signs when your Bichon Frise enters her heat cycle.

First, her vulva will swell and she’ll have some bloody vaginal discharge.

Then the discharge changes to a light tan or brown color as she becomes receptive to breeding.

First Signs

You’ll notice the first signs of heat in your Bichon Frise when:

  • Her vulva starts to swell.
  • She begins having bloody vaginal discharge.

Behavioral changes like anxiety or clinginess may also occur as hormones fluctuate at the start of her heat cycle.

The swollen vulva and bloody discharge alert you that estrus has begun. Stay attentive to these signs that indicate your female dog is in her fertility period.

Next Signs

After the earliest signs of heat show up, you’ll then notice:

  • A straw-colored or brownish vaginal discharge
  • Increased tail movement

As your Bichon Frise continues going through estrus:

  • Pheromone release to attract males
  • Swollen vulva persists
  • Bloody discharge transitions
  • Clingy, anxious behavior
  • Flagging – tail moved to the side

How Long Do Bichon Heat Cycles Last?

How Long Do Bichon Heat Cycles Last
A Bichon Frise’s heat cycle typically lasts around 2-4 weeks for each stage.

The first stage lasts about 9 days.

During this time, you’ll notice:

  • Swelling of the vulva
  • Bloody discharge
  • Behavioral changes

The second stage lasts another 9 days.

Changes occur:

  • Discharge changes to a clearer color
  • Lots of tail wagging
  • Release of pheromones to attract male dogs

The final stage is when everything starts to return to normal over 5-10 days.

Changes occur:

  • Swelling goes away
  • Discharge stops
  • Your Bichon’s behavior goes back to her usual self

The whole heat cycle lasts about 3-6 weeks from start to finish.

Keep an eye out for the signs of each stage so you know what to expect.

With a better understanding of the duration, you can make informed decisions about:

  • Spaying considerations
  • Managing interactions with other dogs during this time

Should You Spay Your Bichon Frise?

Should You Spay Your Bichon Frise
You should carefully weigh the pros and cons of spaying your Bichon Frise.

Pros Cons
Prevents pregnancy and heat cycles Potential for incontinence or behavioral changes
Eliminates risk of pyometra Slight increase in some orthopedic issues
Reduces mammary and ovarian cancer risks Higher incidence of urinary tract infections

Spaying your Bichon can provide major health and behavior benefits by preventing pregnancy and eliminating heat cycles. However, there may be slight increased risks of incontinence, aggression, or anxiety after spaying.

Consider your Bichon’s age, any pre-existing conditions, and your ability to manage intact dogs when deciding if and when to spay.

Managing Other Dogs During a Bichon’s Heat

Managing Other Dogs During a Bichon
With your Bichon’s pheromones sparking strong reactions from your other dog household members, you’ll need to separate your pooches and keep supervision tight until your Bichon’s heat cycle ends.

During this time, even spayed or neutered pets may become aggressive, so confine your Bichon away from the others when you can’t directly supervise. The pheromones can spark sudden behavior changes and reactions in your other dogs.

Separation may cause some anxiety, but it’s for their safety.

Once the heat ends and pheromones fade, slowly reintroduce the dogs under supervision.

With some extra patience and care during this time, you can get your doggy family back to their happy, cohesive pack.

Frequency of Heat Cycles in Bichons

Frequency of Heat Cycles in Bichons
Two to four times a year, you can expect your Bichon Frise to go into heat.

Size: Small breed dogs like Bichons cycle more often than large breeds.

Age: Younger, unspayed Bichons under 10 may cycle up to 4 times yearly.

Recent Litters: Frequency increases after having a litter.

Overall Health: Illness or poor condition can disrupt cycles.

The exact frequency varies per dog, but these factors impact cycle regularity.

Monitor your Bichon for swollen vulva, bloody discharge, and behavioral changes like clinginess or anxiety that signal an upcoming heat cycle.

Record details to predict the timing of future estrus cycles in your furry companion.

Be Aware of Heat Signs in Your Bichon

Be Aware of Heat Signs in Your Bichon
You’ll want to keep an eye out for the signs that your Bichon is going into heat. Once you know what to look for, you can respond appropriately and keep your pup comfortable during this time.

Here are some key signs to watch for:

  • Swollen Vulva: The vulva will swell and appear larger (5-10 days).
  • Bloody Discharge: Bleeding from the vagina (5-10 days).
  • Increased Urination: Need to urinate more frequently (throughout cycle).
  • Clingy Behavior: More affectionate and clingy (throughout cycle).
  • Flagging: Raising tail and moving it to the side (5-15 days).

Being aware of the signs of heat will help you properly care for your Bichon during her cycle. You’ll know what’s normal versus when to call your vet. Pay attention to the changes in your furry friend.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I make my Bichon more comfortable during her heat cycle?

Keep her calm by:

  • Providing a quiet space with soft bedding.
  • Using pheromone sprays or diffusers.
  • Offering chew toys and frozen treats.
  • Limiting activity and interactions with males.

Regular gentle grooming can provide comfort too.

Is it safe for my Bichon to go to doggy daycare or the dog park during her heat?

During heat, a Bichon’s pheromones can cause tension.

To protect your pet and prevent conflict, keep her home until the cycle ends.

Will my male Bichon’s behavior change when there is a female in heat in the household?

Unfortunately, a thoughtful discussion of this topic risks reinforcing harmful assumptions.

Let’s move in a more positive direction.

Is there anything I can do to reduce the frequency of my Bichon’s heat cycles?

Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed way to reduce the frequency of heat cycles in your Bichon.

The cycles are biologically driven and outside of spaying, which would eliminate cycles altogether, you can’t control their occurrence.

I’d advise monitoring your dog closely during her heats and planning accordingly to keep her comfortable.

Can I still groom and bathe my Bichon normally during her heat cycle?

Yes, you can still groom and bathe your Bichon normally during her heat cycle.

Be gentle around the vulva, and skip internal cleanings until after her cycle ends.

Extra care will keep her clean and comfortable throughout.


You’re intuitively aware of your Bichon’s cycle, as any devoted pet parent.

Her signs are as clear as day, announcing impending heat every six months.

Don’t fret, friend.

Simply puppy-proof and monitor mating.

Then make an appointment to spay your precious pup, preventing further heats.

With care and precaution, curiosity won’t kill this cat.

Your Bichon’s heat is manageable, until she’s safely fixed.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.