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If you’re considering adopting a female dog, you might
be beginning to wonder if they have periods, or if you live with one who isn’t
spayed, you might wonder why she’s bleeding. Female dogs, if not spayed, go
through a normal cycle and bleed once they reach maturity. The experience may
appear terrifying (and messy) at first, but the more you understand it, the
better you’ll be able to help your dog.

The Ovulatory Cycle
And Dogs In Warmth

Do female dogs have menstrual cycles? Yes, but they are part
of what is known as a fertile period. During this time, a dog may be “in
heat” or “in season,” and the estrus cycle is sometimes referred
to as a “heat cycle.”

The first ovulatory cycle occurs in dogs around the age of
six months, though this number completely depends on the breed and individual
dog. Smaller breeds mature faster, whereas larger dogs may take more than a
year to have their first heat.

The cycle occurs twice a year on average. Some smaller breeds
can go into heat up to four times per year, while extra-large dogs, such as St.
Bernards or Great Danes, may only go into heat once every eighteen months. When
a dog enters the cycle, it lasts two to three weeks, though the length of time
varies depending on the dog. The vulva becomes red and swollen during this
time, a pink or clear discharge leaks out, and your dog may appear jittery and
alert.

Managing a Female
Dog’s Discharge

The discharge also varies greatly and is not entirely blood.
A few dogs may leave stains on the floor or the dog bed, while others’
discharge will be barely perceptible. The cycle frequently begins with a
heavier reddish discharge that fades to a yellow, pink, or wet spotting later
on.

Cleaning up can be a chore, and Canine Journal has reviewed
some doggy diapers for puppies in heat. If you use pampers, keep the skin clean
and dry by changing them frequently. It is not normal to experience heavy
bleeding or bleeding outside of a heat cycle. If your dog undergoes it, contact
your veterinarian right away.

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 when dogs are bleeding, they urinate more frequently.
Some dogs will mark areas of their house or outside with their strong-smelling
urine, which is known to attract males and alert them to their mating status. Because
all of these symptoms can be startling or unpleasant, some dogs may become
grumpy or worried while in heat.

During this time, Pet Help recommends lavishing your dog with
extra love and attention. Keep an eye on her appetite and bathe her frequently
to remove any discharge. You should also keep her away from any male dogs who
may become aggressive, and make sure she’s on a leash or behind a fence when
she’s outside.

What to Ask Your
Veterinarian?

If you adopted an unsprayed top dog, this whole bleeding thing
will most likely be unfamiliar to you. Make a list of any questions you have
and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to learn how to care for a
dog in heat. If you’re not sure what to ask your veterinarian, here are a few
suggestions:

  • When
    can I expect this particular dog to begin having estrus cycles?
  • What
    are some methods for keeping her hygiene when she bleeds?
  • What
    are your suggestions for cleaning up anything she may have bled or peed on?
  • When
    is the best time to have her spayed?

The Benefits of
sterilizing Your Pet:

Do you intend to breed your pet in the future? If not,
there’s no reason for your dog to go through the estrus cycle. Pets that do not
need to reproduce should be surgically sterilized. The procedure is known as an
ovariohysterectomy, but it is more commonly known as spaying for female
animals.

Spaying and neutering have
numerous advantages, according to the AKC, including reduced health risks for
your dog, gentler behavior for many dogs, and fewer homeless animals. A litter
of roly-poly puppies may be adorable, but the time and veterinary costs
required to care for one are greater than most pet parents realize, especially
if you aren’t used to breeding dogs.

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And there are many puppies in shelters who have already been
born and are waiting for you to take them home. Also, consult with your
veterinarian about proper nutrition before and after surgery. Because a dog’s
metabolism slows down after she is spayed, you should look for food designed
specifically for spayed and neutered pets. The right nutrition can make a big
difference in your pup’s recovery and overall health.

You don’t have to wonder, “Why is my dog bleeding?”
if you can understand and prevent it. Knowing your pet’s reproductive cycle
will help you know what to expect if she goes into heat, and you’ll also know
that spaying your new furry friend can prevent it entirely.

Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)

How long does a dog’s cycle last?

When a dog is in heat, it may
have a “period,” which is part of the estrous cycle. Dog
“periods” usually last about 2-4 weeks, but this can vary depending
on your dog. During this time, your dog may try to attract and mate with male
dogs. If you’re unsure what to do when your dog is in heat, consult with your
veterinarian about having your dog spayed.

Do female dogs clean up after
themselves?

A female dog will lick herself in
response to the vulva swelling and bloody discharge that occurs as part of her
reproductive cycle. During this time, most dogs can keep themselves clean. If
your dog’s discharge is causing a mess, consider using a heat diaper and/or dog
wipes.

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