Do Dogs Have Periods?

Ameera Mills
By Ameera Mills. Updated: March 5, 2019
Do Dogs Have Periods?

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In general, female dogs experience bleeding at least twice a year, also known as menstruation. This, however, only occurs in bitches who are unspayed. However, menstruation in dogs is referred most commonly as heat and is different to what human women experience. It is important to understand how your dog's cycle works. By familiarizing yourself with the heat cycle of your dog, you will be able to avoid unwanted pregnancies and discover the importance of sterilization.

In this AnimalWised article we will be discussing answers to; do dogs have periods? In addition, we aim to look over a bitches heat cycle and how to avoid unwanted canine pregnancies.

You may also be interested in: Do Cats Get Their Period When in Heat?
  1. Reproductive cycle of a female dog
  2. Can dogs have periods?
  3. What is the difference between heat and menstruation?
  4. Do dogs feel pain during period?

Reproductive cycle of a female dog

In order to understand if a female dog experiences menstruation, we need to know how their cycle works. A dogs cycle is repeated twice a year from when they begin maturity between 6-8 months, depending on the breed. Heat in dogs is divided into four cycles:

  1. Proestrous: In this phase a bitch begins to stain and produce pheromones that will attract males, although she will not accept yet them. Her vulva will begin to swell and, in addition, a bitch could also present changes in her behavior. In this stage, she might urinate more in order to spread her odor.
  2. Estrus: This phase is when the dog proves to be the most fertile. Her vulva is more flexible, to facilitate the coupling. She will carry on spotting. The main characteristic of this 7-9 day period is that a female will accept the male and ovulation occurs.
  3. Diestrus: this phase lasts about two months and begins when the female starts to reject the male. If she is pregnant, this is where she will deliver. If she is not in fact pregnant, one needs to be aware that pseudo-pregnancies or phantom pregnancies may occur in this period.
  4. Anestrus: this is the longest phase of inactivity, which concludes with the beginning of the next proestrous.
Do Dogs Have Periods? - Reproductive cycle of a female dog

Can dogs have periods?

There is a common belief that dogs experience periods like humans do, this is not the case.

The cycle of a woman is repeated monthly. If we look at a woman's period; if her ovum has not been fertilized, the inside of her uterus (endometrium), thickened to receive the embryo, detaches in turn causing bleeding. Therefore, if we look at menstruation in the sense of a human woman, then no dogs do not experience a period.

What is the difference between heat and menstruation?

The differences between heat and menstruation in dogs are distinguished by;

  • Menstrual bleeding occurs when the ovum has not been fertilized. On the contrary, bitches always bleed, regardless of what happens with the ovules.
  • Bleeding in bitches is caused by an increase in blood supply in the targeted area. In women, it is caused by the fall of the endometrium due to lack of fertilization.
  • Bleeding in women corresponds to the end of a cycle. In dogs, however, it indicates the beginning of their fertile period. Therefore, contrary to what happens in women, it is during this bleeding phase (estrus) when a dog will ovulate and may become pregnant. If you do not want your dog to fall pregnant, this is the period when precautions need to be taken.

Therefore, the difference between menstruation in women and estrus in bitches, needs to be recognized.

Do Dogs Have Periods? - What is the difference between heat and menstruation?

Do dogs feel pain during period?

Yes, as we have just mentioned, period may not be the correct word when talking about a dogs estrus cycle. However, it is the most widespread nomenclature, therefore a term which is still commonly used. Regarding pain, there is no evidence that bitches feel it during estrus. Although, we can observe changes in their behavior, such as: restlessness, increased urination,a decreased appetite or increase in aggressiveness.

To avoid such problems such as: those mentioned above, unwanted pregnancies or pathologies (breast tumors, canine pyometra or ovariohysterectomy) it is highly recommended that one spays their bitch.

If you want to read similar articles to Do Dogs Have Periods?, we recommend you visit our Heat category.

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Do Dogs Have Periods?