Do Dogs Bleed When In Heat? What Should I Do?

For most pet owners, discovering or hearing for the first time that their female dogs get periods amazes them. And when it happens, they are often unprepared and don’t know what to do. So in this article, you can find out everything about female dogs getting their periods and what you should do when it happens.

Just like in humans, female dogs bleed when they get their periods. This period is known as the heat or estrus cycle. The onset of the heat cycle in female dogs varies. Some female dogs may start their first period within their first year of life. The duration of the heat cycle also varies in dogs. Some canines have heat cycles extending up to four weeks.

In this article, I will let you know how long it can take for your dog to complete its cycle, and how to identify when your canine buddy has completed her period.

Very importantly, I will also show you how to care for your dog when she is in heat. But before we start, let’s see what to do when your female dog is bleeding.

What Do You Do When Your Female Dog Is Bleeding?

You should first check if her vulva is swollen with stains. This will be a clear indication that she is bleeding as a result of her heat cycle.

However, not all bleeding in female dogs will come from their heat cycle. If the above indication is absent, the next thing you should do is check for an injury. If an injury does exist, you should take her to your veterinarian.

In most cases, female dogs will experience bleeding due to her period, and pet owners should be able to clean it and deal with it at home.

Image from Instagram:@poochcareinc

What Is The Heat Cycle In A Female Dog?

The estrus cycle or heat cycle occurs in female dogs and is similar to the menstrual cycle in humans. It is during this period that their reproductive organs are ready for producing offspring.

On average, the estrus cycle starts at about 6 months of age and lasts throughout the lifespan of the pooch.

In bigger dog breeds, for example, the Irish Wolfhound and the Great Dane, the onset of the estrus cycle begins much later. It usually starts anytime between 12 to 24 months old.

However, in smaller dog breeds, the beginning of the heat cycle begins earlier, at around 4 months old.

It is important to note that female doggies are not yet biologically mature to get pregnant on their first and second heat cycle. This is because their ovaries are still growing and are not fully developed.

Hence, both bigger and smaller dog breeds should not be allowed to reproduce until their third heat cycle.

What Are The Stages Of My Dog Heat Cycles?

Your dog heat cycles are divided into four stages. They are the proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus stage.

Proestrus Stage

This stage starts the estrus cycle and lasts between 7 to 10 days. It is characterized by swollen vulva, vaginal discharge or bleeding, and attraction to male dogs. At this stage, your female pooch isn’t ready to mate yet.

Estrus Stage

The estrus stage begins a week after you observe your female dog bleeding. It lasts up to 5 days and can take 10 days. This stage is characterized by a gradual reduction of bleeding until it stops.

You may also notice the bleeding or discharge gradually turn colorless at this stage. At the end of this period, your female pooch is ready to mate.

Diestrus Stage

This stage marks the beginning of rest from the stressful events of courtship and coitus in the proestrus and estrus stages.

It lasts for approximately 2 to 3 months whether your dog is or is not pregnant.

Anestrus Stage

This is the final stage and lasts up to 1 month to 6 months. Here, the ovaries of your female dog cease activity until it has been completed to begin a new heat cycle.

What Should I Expect When My Dog Goes Into Heat For The First Time?

When your dog goes into heat for the first time, you should expect a change in the vulva appearance and a change in your doggie behavior.

You should also expect a red and swollen vulva with a blood-stained discharge. You should also expect that your dog urinates more than usual whenever she goes on heat.

Finally, you should anticipate the behavior of your dog to change as your female canine buddy will become receptive to her male counterparts.

You will notice her seeking out other male dogs and getting overly friendly with them. She will also mount or hump, swing her tail side to side, and get nervous.

Image from Barkbox

What Do You Do When Your Dog Gets Her Period?

You should do more grooming, and cleaning. Also, you should show more care to your female dog when she gets her period. These are very important to keep her and her reproductive organs healthy.

You should get a soft cloth with warm water and a few drops of vinegar to clean the bloodstains on her body. You also need a good diaper for her to wear, and a blanket for her to lie on.

Lastly, you need a home clean-up kit to clean the floors and other surfaces of any bloodstains.

For her diet, you may also add more proteins when she gets her period.

Should I Put A Diaper On My Dog In Heat?

Yes, you should put diapers on your dog if she is in heat.

Diapers will prevent blood loss from uncontrollable bleeding from staining your house. Additionally, as female dogs urinate more when on heat, having your female buddy wear diapers will help keep the urine in place.

In dogs, females urinate more often when in heat. Their urine contains hormones and pheromones that indicate to the male that she will be receptive soon. And as a pet owner, if you don’t want your pooch to get pregnant, having her wear diapers will prevent that.

For the above purposes, we recommend Paw Inspired Disposable Female Dog Diapers. When worn, these diapers are leakproof, highly absorbent, and, most importantly, comfortable.

Can I Walk My Dog When She Is In Heat?

Yes, you can walk your dog when she is in the heat, and it’s a good way to relieve her of her hormones.

It is important that you use a leash and that she is in diapers while walking your dog in heat. You should also ensure that she stays away from other dogs as well.

How Long Will A Dog Bleed While In Heat

While in heat, your furry friend will usually bleed for 7 to 10 days which represents about half of the estrus cycle. Smaller dogs bleed little, and if your dog is bigger, you should expect her to bleed more.

Can A Dog Bleed Longer Than 10 Days?

Yes, if it is a big dog breed, it can bleed longer than 10 days, but it shouldn’t exceed 12 days. For smaller dog breeds, it’s not ideal that they bleed longer than 10 days.

For most dogs, the normal range for them to bleed is approximately 7 to 10 days and this is usually midway between the proestrus and estrus stages.

Some bigger dog breeds will usually have heat lasting up to 24 days and will bleed more. The bleeding could take up to 12 days to stop. While the smaller dog breeds that have their heat lasting up to 2 to 3 weeks will bleed less for about 10 days.

In any case, if you have a bigger dog bleeding longer than 12 days, or a smaller dog bleeding longer than 10 days, you should visit your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian will help to determine if the prolonged bleeding is from the type of dog breed or if there is something wrong with her.

In canines, prolonged bleeding during the estrus cycle could be a sign of a blood-clotting disease, like von Willebrand disease.

Similarly, if your female canine bleeds for less than the normal days, you should also visit the veterinarian. Little bleeding than normal when in heat could be an indication of infertility or a tumor in her reproductive organs.

How Long Does A Dog Stay In Heat?

It takes 2 to 3 weeks for dogs to stay in heat. And this is the normal range for most dogs.

However, considering some smaller and bigger dog breeds, the length of stay in heat is between 1½ weeks to 4 weeks.

How Do I Know When My Dog Is Most Fertile?

Your dog is most fertile just the moment before she stops bleeding, and this period marks the end of her estrus stage.

The period of most fertility varies in dogs. For most dogs, it occurs around Day 10 to 14, which is towards the end of the estrus stage. Again, this depends on the breed of dog, age, and size.

You should consult with the veterinarian to ascertain when your dog is most fertile. There are two tests that your vet can perform. Your vet can perform either a vaginal cytological test or serum progesterone tests.

When My Dog Stops Bleeding, Is She Out Of Heat?

No, the stoppage of bleeding in your dog is only a partial indication that she is out of heat. She may not have completed her heat cycle at this time.

You will know when your dog is out of heat when her vulva returns to its original size in addition to her bleeding ceasing. These two events confirm that she has completed her heat cycle for that period.

During this period, the influence of her hormone subsides, and your canine buddy will return to her normal behavior.

Image from Instagram:@enzo.zeta.the.ridgebacks
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Pete Decker