What Do You Do When Your Dog Gets Her Period

Do Dogs Have Periods And What You Do When Your Dog Bleeds

Ask The Vet, (Dogs getting their period.) Dr Yalda Motavali

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Lets clear it up, dogs techincally dont get periods like humans, but they do bleed. You may be wondering if there is anything that you need to do when your dog goes into heat. Many times, these heat cycles will last a few weeks then will go away. There are, however, occasional issues that would require you to see your vet.

When trying to figure out what to do when your dog is in heat, you need to understand a few things about your dogs heat cycle.

Delaying A Spay: Dog Behavior While ‘in Heat’

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Sometimes dog owners decide to wait to spay or neuter their dog for a variety of reasons. Even for dog owners who were planning on having their dog spayed or neutered sooner rather than later, the coronavirus pandemic may have thrown a wrench in those plans.

Many veterinarians had to postpone elective surgeries such as spays and neuters to save equipment, supplies, and minimize interactions.

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Wondering when you should spay or neuter your dog? Watch Preventive Vet’s Yappy Hour, featuring Dr. Beth Turner, to learn more about spay and neuter timing and how it affects your dog’s health and behavior:

Give Her Love And Support

Your dog may enjoy extra attention from you, so be sure to spend more time petting, cuddling, and playing with her. Shell appreciate it if you talk to her and brush her more often as it will help to make her feel calmer and more comfortable. If she seems sleepy, do give her time to sleep without interruptions.

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How Long Does A Dog Stay In Heat

Female dogs in heat in the estrus phase of the heat cycle usually display the signs of heat for 3 21 days or 9 days on average. For more information see the detailed explanation above. Dogs will typically have two heats per year, but each dog differs in length of heat, discharge amount and hormonal changes.

Clover’s First Heat Experience

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Preventive Vet office pup, Clover the Portuguese Water Dog, went through her first heat cycle before being spayed. She was almost 11 months old when her owners noticed the first visible signs of heat a few drops of bloody discharge on the floor where she’d been sitting.

Prior to the physical signs of heat, Clover’s owners had also noticed she’d become more intense in her interactions with other females at the dog park, but didn’t show the same kind of attitude with the males she encountered. Once they saw signs of estrus, she stayed home and away from the park. Clover acted a tad more restless than usual, panting a lot and always moving from resting spot to resting spot. Luckily, she had lots of team members in the office to give her pets whenever she asked for them.

For the first five days of her active heat cycle, her heat pants needed to be changed 4 or more times a day, but then slowed to only needing twice daily changes. By using disposable pads inside her heat pants, they were able to cut down on how often they needed to launder the cloth diaper. Once her cycle was finished, Clover was spayed when she was 14 months old.

PRO TIP: Before she went in for her spay surgery, she had practice getting used to the “cone of shame.” By taking some time before your dog’s spay surgery to desensitize them to wearing a cone, you can make the experience much less stressful.

Watch this video below of Clover practicing having the cone put on and walking around while wearing it:

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When Do Dogs Go Into Heat

When a female dog is in heat, it means she is ovulating and can breed and get pregnant. Dogs can go into heat when they are as young as 6-8 months of age, which means if they go into heat and have sex with a male dog, then they can get pregnant, even if they themselves are growing still.

The first heat cycle often is missed by pet parents, which is why many veterinarians advocate for spay surgery at 6 months of age to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Heat cycles vary depending on the dogs age, size and breed. Small dog breeds can cycle every 3-4 months, medium and large breeds typically cycle every 6 months, and giant breeds may only cycle every 6-12 months. Older female dogs may cycle less often than younger dogs. Bleeding during proestrus typically lasts around 7 days.

Do Dogs Go Through Menopause

In short, dogs do not go through menopause. Because their reproductive cycles are different than in humans, dogs can continue to go into heat and subsequently become pregnant throughout their lives.

You may notice, however, that your dogs cycle may occur less often, or the duration seems longer from one heat to the next. Thats normal in dogs as they age however, dogs that have ceased having cycles altogether should be examined by a veterinarian, as this can signal an underlying health condition or metabolic disease process.

But just because dogs can get pregnant as seniors doesnt mean they should. Litters tend to be smaller, there may be more puppy deaths, and labor may be more difficult if carried to term. Moreover, females that get pregnant after 8 years of age are more at risk of developing pyometra, which is a life-threatening disease.

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How To Prevent Pregnancy In A Dog In Heat

What can you do when a dog is in heat to prevent pregnancy? Try these tips:

  • Watch her closely. When a dog is in heat, her only thought is to breed, and she will often do whatever it takes to find a mate. Its important to keep her supervised at all times or contained in a crate or other secure enclosure that she cannot get out of and other dogs cannot get in. There have been reports of dogs climbing fences to escape and mate, and even getting pregnant through chain link fences, so make sure that enclosure is secure!
  • Keep male dogs away. If you have male dogs that have not been neutered, they need to be kept separate from the female dog. Its best if you can board the male dogs or have them stay at another house during the heat cycle. If thats not an option, make sure there are two barriers between the dogs at all times.
  • Consult your vet in emergencies. If your dog accidentally mates during her heat cycle, there is a morning after injection that will terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
  • Close the windows. Male dogs can detect female dogs in heat from over a mile away. By closing the windows, you contain her perfume to the house.
  • Take caution with walks. Its not recommended to take dogs in heat on walks, because of the risk of attracting male dogs. If you must take her out, make sure she is on a secure leash, and bring a spray bottle filled with water to ward off any would-be wooers.

How Often Do Dogs Get Their Period

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Now that you know how long dog periods last and when you can expect your dog to start their period, you might be wondering how often your dog will experience this heat cycle.

In most cases, female dogs will have an estrous cycle twice each year, with cycles occurring about 7 months apart on average. Keep in mind that your dog may have another heat cycle in as little as 4 months, or it could take as long as 13 months for your dog to be in heat again. The gap between heat cycles depends on several factors, including the size and breed of your dog.1

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Having Dogs Spayed Is The Most Reliable Form Of Dog Birth Control

Preventing your dog from getting pregnant is not as easy as it sounds. Dont underestimate the determination of your dogor someone elsesto reproduce. Extra vigilance is needed trust me, just because you have a fenced-in yard, that doesnt mean anything!

Having dogs spayed, which involves removing the ovaries and/or uterus, is the most common and effective method for preventing unwanted dog pregnancies and reducing pet overpopulation. Sterilization is permanent and cannot be reversed.

From dog diapers to body wraps, there are multiple at-home, nonpermanent ways to prevent pregnancy. Do not frequent dog parks or other dog-populated areas while your dog is in heat. Additionally, if you choose to use a dog diaper, keep in mind it should be leakproof, absorbent, comfortable, and most importantly, secure. It should also be changed frequently.

When Do Dogs Get Their Period And How Often

Female dogs typically reach sexual maturity around six months old and thats when have their first heat or estrus cycle. During this stage, theres an increase in estrogen levels, then a sharp decrease, and then her ovaries release eggs. Their estrus cycles typically last three weeks but can range between two and four.

While six months is the average age of a dogs first heat, it can vary between dogs. Some dogs may go into heat at four months, but bigger dogs may be as old as two years before their first heat. Its considered best practice to wait until your dogs third heat to breed her. However, your vet can perform genetic testing and tell you when your dog is ready.

Dogs typically go into heat on average every six months, but this varies especially in the beginning. It can take some dogs around 18 to 24 months to develop a regular cycle. Small dogs usually go into heat more often as much as three to four times a year. Large breeds such as Great Danes and St. Bernard might only go into heat once a year.

Dogs will continue to have cycles, but the length of time between estrus will increase as she gets older.

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At What Age Should I Spay My Dog

Although veterinarians used to recommend spaying your dog as young as four months old to ensure she never experienced a heat cycle to prevent mammary cancer, current research is leaning toward allowing large- and giant-breed dogs to grow before removing the hormones necessary for skeletal development. Discuss health concerns with your veterinarian before deciding what age is appropriate to spay your dog.

Do: Balance Between Rest And Play For Your Dog In Heat

How to Tell if Your Dog is Pregnant: Signs and Symptoms

Different dogs will react differently to being in heat. Some may feel restless and need a bit more exercise, while some may feel tired most of the days. Its important to really observe your dogs behavior and offer the right amount of rest and play for her. You know her best, so you have to know what is right for her and what makes her happiest and comfortable.

During rest, we recommend providing her with Pet Parents®Pawtect® Blankets. These Pawtect® Blankets are waterproof and made with the smoothest special faux fur fabric that provides warmth and comfort for your dog. If she is feeling anxious, she may begin to gnaw on the blanket. If this happens, dont worry because a Pawtect® Blanket has LockJaw technology that aids in preventing fast fraying & wearing and limits your stressed furbaby’s access to chewing the blankets edges. Additionally, according to Sleep Foundation, a comfortable bed will encourage sleep. A Pawtect® Blanket by your furbaby’s side is able to provide her comfort while sleeping and helps better her sleep.

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Choosing The Best Option

One of the biggest reasons why there are so many unwanted litters and animal shelters filled with puppies is the number of pet owners who don’t want to have their dogs spayed. Thankfully, this is no longer the only method of preventing a female dog’s heat cycle. Today there are a number of medications available that are essentially the canine equivalent of birth control pills. The big difference is that they completely stop the heat cycle in a dog, whereas in humans, the birth control pill stops pregnancy by preventing ovulation or the release of eggs.

Both of these are long-term solutions to your dog’s heat cycles and the risk of pregnancy. However, the medication approach is more of a short-term solution as you can stop the medication at any time and your dog will return to her heat cycle and be able to become pregnant.

Use Calming Treats Scents And Sounds

There are treats available that are designed to calm anxious and stressed dogs without making them drowsy. You can ensure her environment is quiet, turn the volume down on the T.V. and make sure the children lower their voices. You could consider using this dog speaker that plays music designed to reduce stress or use a spray that is meant to calm anxious dogs.

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When Is The Heat Phase Interrupted

If the heat phase fails to materialise for an adult female, this can be caused by an interruption in ovarian function or adrenal gland hyperactivity. In this case, you should get your dog examined by a vet to be on the safe side. The same applies when the heat phase goes on for an extremely long time, such as the bloody discharge or willingness to reproduce lasting longer than three weeks or the heat period being shortened, meaning that pre-oestrus and oestrus last less than ten days in total.

Medications To Prevent Heat Cycles

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If you are not ready to say you never want your furry friend to have puppies, spaying is out of the question at this point in time. Fortunately, there are a number of medications your vet can prescribe that will stop the heat cycle.

The most common of these drugs are referred to as GnRH or Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormones and can be purchased as either an injection or a subcutaneous implant. Both of these options are available for most breeds of dogs and work with equal effectiveness for as long as you keep your dog on the medication.

These medications are highly effective at stopping your dog from going into heat. However, they also have several possible side effects. Among these are enlargement of her mammary glands, weight gain, and changes in her personality, as such this may not be a good idea.

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When Should I Have My Dog Spayed

The right time to spay your dog is mid-way between cycles, once she is mature, and once you are fully aware of the risks and benefits of neutering.

We know a lot more about the effects of neutering on dogs than we once did.

There are numerous health benefits to having your dog spayed. For example, spayed dogs are at a greatly reduced risk of mammary cancer.

However, we now know that neutering is not always in the best interests of every dog.

So you need to weigh up the pros and cons, which will depend on your individual situation.

Your pup can be spayed from 2 months of age. It is best to consult with a vet to determine the best time for your girl.

You can find out more in this article: Should I neuter my dog the latest evidence.

What Does ‘going Into Heat’ Mean

When an unspayed female dog goes into heat, it means she is physically capable and receptive to mating. She’ll be releasing hormones that other dogs can smell that communicate she is open to conceiving puppies.

There are four stages of a dog’s reproductive cycle:

  • Proestrus: During this stage, your dog’s body is preparing for estrus. You’ll see swelling of the vulva and the start of bloody discharge.
  • Estrus: This phase is when your dog, if she is fertile, is able to become pregnant, as the ovaries begin to release eggs for fertilization. Discharge during this time tends to become lighter in color and the dog becomes more flirtatious.
  • Diestrus: Your dog’s body is recovering from the estrus phase and is no longer fertile. You’ll see less flirtatious behavior, reduction of any swelling, and discontinuation of vaginal discharge.
  • Anestrus: The anestrus phase is your dog’s reproductive cycle’s time of rest and lasts until their next cycle begins.

You’ll see most behavioral changes during the proestrus and estrus phases of the reproductive cycle.

Important Note: After estrus, a serious medical complication called pyometra can occur. Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. Signs include pus-like discharge from the vulva. Because this condition can be life-threatening, your dog should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Questions? To chat with a veterinarian about whether your dog’s behavior during their heat cycle is normal,

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The Importance Of Spaying Your Pet

Are you ever planning on breeding your pet? If not, there’s no reason why your dog needs to experience her estrus cycle. Pets that don’t need to become pregnant should get surgically sterilized. The sterilization is called ovariohysterectomy, though it is most commonly referred to as spaying for female animals. The AKC points out the numerous benefits of spaying and neutering, including reduced health risks for your pup, gentler behavior for many dogs, and fewer homeless animals. A litter of roly-poly puppies may be cute, but the time and veterinary costs necessary to care for one is more than most pet parents realize if you’re not used to breeding dogs. And there are many puppies in shelters that are already born and waiting to come home with you.

Also, be sure to talk to your vet about proper nutrition, pre- and post-surgery. After a dog gets spayed, her metabolism tends to slow down, so you might look for a food specially formulated for spayed and neutered pets. The right nutrition can play a pivotal role in recovery and overall health for your pup.

There’s no need 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 know that spaying your new furry friend can prevent it from happening altogether.

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