Female dogs go through a fertile season called estrus, where they will have vaginal bleeding for a few days. The amount of bloody discharge from female dogs in heat depends on their:
- cycle duration,
- cycle frequency, and
- cycle severity.
Dogs may bleed from 2 to 4 weeks, but only for 7 to 10 days, and large dogs bleed more than small breeds. If a dog bleeds longer than usual, it’s best to bring her to the vet as it may indicate an underlying health issue. Aside from bleeding, there are other signs that your dog is in heat, such as excessive licking, frequent urination, flagging or flirting with male dogs, and appetite changes.
Like humans, dogs deal with hormonal changes in heat and need extra care and attention. Pet owners can spay their dogs if they do not want to breed them.
How Much Do Dogs Bleed When In Heat
The amount of bloody discharge from female dogs in heat depends on their age and breed. Similarly, factors such as length of time, frequency, and severity vary too. Puberty in dogs usually happens during the 6th month of age. And this is when female dogs start having their first period. However, small breeds may start earlier, while large breeds may get their period later. Having an intact male dog at home also affects this timing.
The heat cycle may last from 2 to 4 weeks. Your dog will only bleed for an average of 7 to 10 days, around half of the total cycle. The discharge starts with dark-colored blood that gradually turns lighter and pinkish as the days pass by. In general, large dogs bleed more than small breeds. However, if your dog loves to groom herself often, you may not see a lot of period traces in the house.
Vaginal bleeding in dogs occurs during the proestrus and initial part of the estrus stage. Aside from the bleeding, you’ll also notice the swelling of the dog’s vulva. Your furry pal will attract male dogs. Then, during the estrus stage where the bleeding slowly subsides, she’ll be extra friendly to male dogs. This also means she is ready to mate.
If you notice your dog bleeding longer than usual, it’s best to bring her to the vet. Health issues may be the underlying cause. Common health problems causing longer periods include bleeding disorders, UTIs, reproductive tract infections, and hormonal unresponsiveness. Some possible causes of extended bleeding may be fatal such as pyometra. So, be observant and contact the vet immediately.
Signs That Your Dog Is In Heat
Aside from bleeding, there are other signs that your dog is in heat. The physical and behavioral symptoms help you track your pet’s period. They also help you deal with their situation and provide better care. Here are the most common signs that your dog is in heat:
- Excessive licking of her vulva. Because of the swelling and bloody discharge, your pooch will lick her private parts frequently. This is to clean and soothe the area.
- Frequent urination or marking behavior. This is to attract mates.
- Bleeding and swollen vulva.
- The female dog can bite the male dogs approaching her, which is a sign that she is not ready for copulation.
- “Flagging” or flirting with male dogs. Your dog will raise her rear and deflect her tail to one side
- Or can be nervous, or distracted by male dogs
- Appetite changes. Some experience decreased appetite while others may feel hungrier.
Dogs can get pregnant during the estrus age. Their hormones become so intense, so you need to be careful if you have an intact male dog at home. They’ll try to find ways to mate, despite having fences.
- If your dog mated, she could show signs of pregnancy during this stage.
- Heat symptoms will start to subside during this stage
- Lasts up to 6 months, and the vulva returns to normal.
How to Take Care of a Dog In Heat
Like humans, dogs deal with hormonal changes when in heat. Although their period cramps may not be the same as ours, they sometimes feel discomfort to some extent. So, they need extra care and attention when in heat.
Hormones may make your dog feel anxious. So, you can help relieve her anxiety by keeping her entertained and distracted. Add in some extra walks or games to reduce her stress. Second, keep her away from un-neutered male dogs. They will be attracted to your pooch and she will reciprocate the action. Never leave her unsupervised, otherwise, you’ll be dealing with unplanned puppies.
Some dogs become picky eaters when in heat. So, if you notice your dog having a decreased appetite, offer nutrient-dense treats. If she refuses to finish her usual meals, she will still get added nutrition from those yummy treats.
Cleaning after blood spots from your dog’s bleeding can be tedious. So, create a comfortable and restricted space away from the carpet or upholstery for her to roam around. You can keep some towels on the floor to catch the blood. If you have the budget, you can also use doggy diapers. There are also washable and reusable options for environment-conscious pet owners.
If you have no intentions of breeding your dog, you can get rid of her heat cycle permanently. You can opt to spay your furry pal, so your dog won’t have to go through period symptoms. At the same time, you won’t have to deal with extra responsibilities either.
When to Spay Your Dog?
It is best to discuss with your veterinarian the best time to spay your dog. Factors like breed and health conditions may need to be considered. In general, it is best to spay your dog before the first heat. However, it is still good to have your dog spayed after the first heat or up to 2 years old.
Aside from not having periods ever, spaying also offers health benefits for your dog. In fact, according to a study, dogs spayed before 2 years of age had a higher chance of surviving cancer of the mammary glands. The study compared the survival rates of intact female dogs, those spayed before 2 years old and those spayed after that age.
Spaying is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus of female animals including dogs. It is also known as an ovariohysterectomy. This invasive process involves an abdominal incision, therefore, it entails a few days of recovery time. However, the dog is immediately sterile after the procedure. Pregnant dogs or dogs in heat may still be spayed. However, spaying will terminate the pregnancy. It is also dangerous for female dogs as their blood vessels are enlarged. So, vets don’t recommend it.
Aside from preventing breast cancer, it offers other benefits, too. It helps improve your dog’s behavior. Since there will be no hormonal changes to deal with, your dog will be less irritable and nervous. Additionally, you won’t have to deal with uncontrollable male dogs trying to get to your dog in heat. You also will have less mess in the house as there will be no more bleeding from your female dog.
Most importantly, you won’t have to deal with your dog’s pregnancy, unless you intend to do so. Pregnancy in dogs can be costly. You’ll need to spend more on vet checkups, pregnant dogs’ vitamins, and other whelping needs. Plus, when the puppies arrive, they’ll be an added cost too.
Let’s discuss the frequently asked questions about dogs bleeding when in heat.
Your dog will bleed from 7 to 10 days. The amount of bleeding depends on your dog’s age, breed, and heat cycle. Generally, normal bleeding entails light drips or just a few bloody spots on the floor when they get up. If your dog grooms herself often, you may not even see a lot of bloody spots.
Despite their estrus stage lasting more than a week, dogs will not bleed heavily daily. They’ll continue to have light-dripping blood every now and then. If you notice heavy bleeding all day, you must call your vet. You need to make sure there isn’t any underlying infection or urgent health concern.
When the bleeding stops, then this means your dog has finished her heat cycle. The swollen vulva also returns to its standard size. This starts to happen during the diestrus phase. Then after six months, your dog may start the same cycle again if not spayed.
If you notice that your dog in heat is bleeding so much, she may have an infection. Urinary tract and uterine infections are common during a dog’s heat cycle. If left untreated, it may lead to serious health issues. Bleeding disorders may also be another underlying cause. Consult your vet immediately.
The average length for a dog in heat to bleed is 7 to 10 days. Some breeds, especially large dogs, may bleed slightly longer. However, if it is over 2 weeks, contact your veterinarian to rule out other health problems.
Keep your dog in a specific area at home, away from carpets and upholstery. You can use clean towels or rugs to protect the floor. You can also use doggy diapers to prevent bloody messes around the house.
The maximum number of days for a dog in heat to bleed is 14 days. If your dog bleeds for over 2 weeks, she may be experiencing health problems. This includes bleeding disorders, urinary tract and uterine infections, hormone unresponsiveness, and heat cycle irregularities.
Female dogs go through heat cycles when they reach puberty. Due to hormonal changes, they may feel and act differently during their fertile season. However, there are ways to manage symptoms and take extra care of the pooch. But, if you don’t intend to breed, you may also opt to spay as it offers advantages to you and your dog.