Do Dogs Have Periods? All You Need To Know

Do dogs have periods?

Do female dogs get periods? 

The answer to this question is yes. So, make a choice between male and female dogs before you bring one home. It would help if you also prepared yourself and your home for female dogs. This article will help you understand all about female dogs and their estrus cycles and what you can look forward to, as a pet parent.

Female humans have menstrual cycles, and when it is the menstruation cycle for dogs, it is called an estrus cycle. The difference is that unfertilized eggs in human females get secreted through bleeding. On the other hand, if there are unfertilized eggs in your female dog, the nutrients are reabsorbed back into the body. The vaginal bleeding in female dogs is not from the uterus; but, it is a sign that your dog has reached the ‘heat cycle’ phase. 

When do dogs get their period?

Female dogs get their first period when they are around six months old. That is when they reach their puberty. Small dogs may reach puberty earlier than the larger breeds. Some even take more than a year to reach their puberty.

How often do dogs get periods?

Female dogs get their periods twice a year. There may be some variation in this, as well. Small dogs have their estrus cycles more than twice, sometimes even four times each year. The larger breeds such as St Bernards may go without an estrus cycle for around eighteen months. During this cycle, there will be an increase in estrogen levels at first followed by a sharp decrease when her ovaries will release the eggs. The estrus cycle lasts around two to three weeks. 

How to recognize if your dog is in heat?

You will notice that when your dog is ‘in heat’ her vulva looks swollen and red. She will urinate more frequently, and a clear pink discharge will leak out of her vagina. Apart from these physical signs, your dog will also show a few behavioural symptoms. She will seem nervous, alert, and distracted. She may even start ‘flagging’ when she lifts her rear end and deflects her tail to the side, showing that she is receptive to male dogs. Possibilities of getting pregnant usually are around the end of the first week and last a little longer than the second week. 

Managing your dog during her estrus cycle

As a pet parent of a female dog, you will need to make a little extra effort. Your dog is likely to be a trifle fretful during these times and will need patience and understanding from you. There may be a few changes in her appetite and temper. You will need to give her a few more baths to clean up the discharge. It is best to keep her on a leash when you take her out because male dogs may turn aggressive when they pick up the signs of a dog in heat. 

The Importance of Spaying Your Pet

There is no reason why your dog must experience her estrus cycles. Only those dog owners that plan to have a litter from the dog need to leave the dog without spaying. All dog owners have a choice to make. If you decide not ever to use her for breeding purposes, the best option is to get her spayed. This procedure is called an ovariohysterectomy. There are too many benefits to having your dogs spayed:

Health risk reduced: Spaying your dog can prevent uterine infections. It can reduce the risk of cancer, especially if spaying is done before her first cycle. 

Behaviour effect: Spaying the do before she begins her first estrus cycle has helped in making them more gentle. They are not so easily given to grouchiness or irritation that is common when they go into heat. 

No more bloody discharge: Your dog is free from bloody discharge, and you are free from cleaning it up.

Remember that spaying your dog is done under general anaesthesia. It is abdominal surgery and will require pre and post-operative care. It is best to consult your dog’s vet to understand your dog’s needs better before spaying her. This includes nutritional needs, as well. Her metabolism will be down post-surgery, and you will need to build it up by specific prescription foods as per the vet’s advice. Using an E collar will prevent her from worrying the area where the incision has been made, allowing it to heal faster. Make sure that you give her all the attention she needs once you take her home.

Dog Periods FAQs: All Your Queries Answered

At what age do female dogs reach sexual maturity?

On average, puberty (or sexual maturity) is reached at about six months of age, but this can vary by breed. Smaller breeds tend to have their first estrous cycle at an earlier age, while large and giant breeds may not come into heat for the first time until they reach eighteen months to two years of age.

How to ensure hygiene during your dog’s period?

Just try to keep it out of her fur and wipe the area clean. To keep her private area clean while she’s in heat, keep a spray bottle of water on hand for a quick spray and wipe down. Always use a clean cloth or a fresh wet wipe for this wiping process. Pat her wet areas down with a dry towel.

When is the right time to spay a female dog?

Wait until your dog is at least over 6 months and likely little older for larger dogs.

The information contained in VOSD Vet Advice™ is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical action which is provided by your vet. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For any emergency situation related to a dog’s health, please visit the nearest veterinary clinic.

Do you find this information useful? For more medical advice, visit the VOSD website.