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how often do dogs get their period

how often do dogs get their period

how often do dogs get their period

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how often do dogs get their period?

Female dogs typically reach sexual maturity around six months old and that’s when have their first “heat” or estrus cycle. During this stage, there’s 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 dog’s 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. It’s considered best practice to wait until your dog’s 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.

how often do dogs get their period
how often do dogs get their period

Do Dogs Have Periods?

When a female dog is in heat (called estrus), she has a bloody discharge from her vulva—similar to a human period or menstruation. But that’s where the similarities end. While humans experience a menstrual cycle every 28 days on average, dogs’ estrous cycle is six months or more.

A dog’s heat cycle has four stages . The first three can span as much as 30 days and include times of:

  • bleeding (7–10 days)
  • receptivity to breeding  (7–10 days)
  • returning to normal  (7–10 days)

The fourth stage is the months between the end of one estrous and the beginning of the next.

While the timing of the first heat varies by dog breed and size, a puppy can go into her first heat at as young as 6 months old. Unless she is spayed, she will continue to go into heat every six months or so well into her senior years.

What are the signs of estrus?

The earliest sign of estrus is swelling or engorgement of the vulva, but this swelling is not always obvious. In many cases, a bloody vaginal discharge is the first sign that a pet owner will notice when their dog comes into heat. In some cases, the discharge will not be apparent until several days after estrus has begun. The amount of discharge varies from dog to dog.

The vaginal discharge will change in color and appearance as the cycle progresses. At first, the discharge is very bloody, but as the days pass, it thins to become watery and pinkish-red in color. A female dog that is in heat will often urinate more frequently than normal, or may develop marking behavior, in which she urinates small amounts on various objects either in the home or when out on a walk. During this phase of her cycle, the urine contains pheromones and hormones, both of which signal her reproductive state to other dogs. This is the reason that dogs in heat will attract other dogs, particularly males.

Male dogs can detect a female in heat from a great distance and may begin marking your property with their urine in an attempt to claim their territory.

When does heat start?

Dogs can go into heat as young as four months in smaller breeds, but averages about six months old. Some giant breeds may not go into their first heat until they’re 18-24 months old. It is strongly advised not to breed young female dogs during their first and second cycle. Their eggs are not yet mature and the dog hasn’t reached full maturity. If you’re planning on breeding your dog, your vet will be able to tell you when the dog is mature enough to be bred.

how often do dogs get their period
how often do dogs get their period

What Happens When a Dog Goes Into Heat? How Can You Tell Your Dog Is in Heat?

Dog pheromones are undetectable to humans, but there are several other reliable ways to tell if your dog’s in heat, including:

When in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

At What Age Do Dogs Go Into Heat?

The first time you may notice that your dog has come into heat may be as soon as 6 months of age or as late as 24 months of age. Even though dogs can become pregnant during this timeframe, it’s generally not advisable, as they are still not fully mature.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is in Heat?

You’ll know your dog has her period if she cries at the smallest things and binges on Lifetime movies and chocolate M&Ms (ha! Just kidding). But in all seriousness, your dog might appear nervous, distracted or highly alert if she’s in heat. She might also be raising her hind quarters toward male dogs when they’re around her. Afterward, she’ll push her tail to one side and her rear legs will get tense. The other major sign of a dog in heat is bloody vaginal discharge and a swollen vulva. When the female dog is ready to mate, the vaginal discharge decreases and changes in color from red to the color of straw.

how often do dogs get their period
how often do dogs get their period

What to Do When Your Dog Is in Heat?

You should never panic if you notice your dog entering her heat cycle; it’s a very natural occurrence! There are simple steps you can take to make sure your dog gets the special care she’ll need.

What to Do When Your Dog Is in Heat

  • Use diapers and washable diaper liners to prevent messes: Some bleeding or bloody discharge is normal during her time in heat, and she will likely have the need to urinate more frequently than you are used to. Use diapers to contain and prevent messes, and help both of you navigate this period without unwanted stains or accidents. There are multiple types of diapers for dogs in heat to choose from, including disposable and reusable garments. Wee-Wee Disposable diapers work much like a diaper for a human infant, plus include a special opening to accommodate your pet’s tail. They’re available in multiple sizes so you can find the one that’s right for your dog, ranging from X-Small to X-Large. Proper sizing is important to prevent leakage.

Deploying these four care tactics when your dog is in heat will ensure she has a safe, clean, and manageable experience.

Keeping Your Dog Comfortable While In Heat

Being in heat for the first time can be a confusing experience for your girl. She’s going to need extra love and attention.

  • Pups tend to get quite snuggly during this time, so set aside some extra slots for lots of cuddles. Maybe consider a lap desk so you can work and snuggle simultaneously.
  • Offer a safe, chew resistant toy that she can nudge up against. This too will provide a sense of security.
  • Never scold your pup if she happens to make a bloody mess, just calmly reassure her while you clean it up.
  • Make sure she’s eating well and drinking plenty of water.
  • Provide extra potty breaks, as there is a lot going on down there and she may feel the urge to relieve herself more often.
how often do dogs get their period
how often do dogs get their period

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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