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Do Dogs Have Periods?

When adopting a female dog, it’s very important to identify and know her physical processes. Especially if she is not spayed, you will need to get acquainted with dogs’ periods: their symptoms, duration, and different phases.

Dogs get periods when they reach maturity, approximately at 6 months of age. Usually, depending on the dog’s size, female dogs get periods every 6 months. However, smalls dogs go into heat 3 or 4 times a year and larger dogs only once a year.

Periods last approximately 2 or 3 weeks, depending on each dog. Even though, just as humans, dogs also bleed, bleeding is not that significant, and can even go unnoticed. However, there are other heat symptoms you can pay attention to: 

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  • Bleeding from the vulva (it can be mild and go unnoticed).
  • Urinating more often.
  • Swollen vulva.
  • Behavioral changes towards male dogs: roaming and mounting.
  • Licking the genital area

What should I do while my dog is in heat?

Your dog’s first heat can be nerve-racking and a bit confusing if you don’t have all the information about how the cycle works. Here are some recommendations you can follow:

  • Get her diapers: depending on the volume of your dog’s discharge, you may want to buy some diapers in order to avoid blood spots all over your house. They usually use 1 per day.

  • Never walk her without a leash: dogs in heat can have very unpredictable behavior, so even if she is used to walking by herself, don’t let her off her leash while she is in heat.

  • Consider spaying her after her heat is over: Spaying can have many health benefits for dogs, and can also help reduce unwanted offspring. You can read more about it in our blog about Neutering.

Do they get cramps during their periods?

Yes, dogs can experience cramps when they have their period, and they can even feel a bit uncomfortable. However, the pain is usually not that intense.

4 stages of dogs’ heat

  1. Proestrus: This is the start of the heat cycle when dogs are getting ready to mate. You’ll notice your pup will experience some aggressive behavior towards other dogs and clinginess. It’s the beginning of the vaginal discharge.

  2. Estrus: During this stage, your dog will be more receptive to males. She will urinate more often and will do it to mark the territory.

  3. Diestrus: This is the stage that occurs after heat or estrus itself. During this stage, your dog’s body will stop bleeding and return to normal.

  4. Anestrus: This stage is characterized by the lack of hormonal activity.
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