My Dog Is Bleeding a Lot During Heat
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If a female dog has not been spayed, they will enter their estrus cycle. This is also known as going into heat. Various physical and behavioral changes occur during this process. It is necessary for cats to mate and have kittens, but it is something which can be very disruptive in domestic cats. One of these commons symptoms is the presence of a little blood coming from their vagina. While this is normal during the heat period, there are times when they bleed excessively. In these cases, they may require veterinary attention. See what to expect with AnimalWised and what happens when my dog is bleeding a lot during heat.
Heat period in dogs
In order to determine why your dog is bleeding excessively during their heat period, we should look at this process in greater detail. The heat period is something which is also known as the estrus cycle. However, the estrus cycle in dogs is actually broken down into smaller cycles:
- Proestrus: this period is when bleeding occurs and it can last up to three weeks. This can present in different tones, from the color of fresh blood to more pink, yellowish or brown tones. The dog usually eliminates droplets or small amounts. An abundant amount of fresh blood would be a reason for veterinary consultation, in the same way as if a bad smell or symptoms such as fever or pain appear. During this period an inflammation of the vulva is also visible and it is not strange that our dog urinates more often. At the end of this phase, males will become receptive due to the production of pheromones. When she starts to move her tail to the side and
- Estrus or receptive heat: in this phase the bitch accepts the male and enters their fertility period. This means they can get pregnant. It can last up to three weeks and we will notice that it ends because the female stops accepting males. The period of heat is considered to include proestrus and estrus and lasts about three weeks on average. In estrus there should no longer be bleeding. If this occurs, it will be a reason for veterinary consultation, since we could find ourselves facing an infection or irregularity.
- Diestryus: as we have said, the bitch in this phase will reject mating and the male will also lose interest. If the dog becomes pregnant, this period lasts a few months, corresponding to pregnancy, and would end at the time of delivery. If there is no pregnancy, this period will be followed by the anestrus. No bleeding has to occur.
- Anestrus: corresponds to the period of sexual inactivity and will last until a new cycle of heat begins.
Normal bleeding during a dog's heat cycle
It is only in the period known as proestrus that our dog should be bleeding from her vulva. It is impossible to say what amount is the ‘normal’, amount as this is not fixed. We can't even say there are a correct number of days as this will also depend on the individual. However, in general we can point out the following:
- Normal duration of bleeding in the heat: if the bitch bleeds for more than three weeks it would be a reason for veterinary consultation. Up to this point, bleeding may be normal, but we should always notice that it decreases and changes color, from an intense red to a pinkish-brown. These secretions should not emit a bad smell. Doing so may indicate infection and veterinary attention will be needed.
- Normal amount of blood in heat: this is also variable. In some dogs it is almost negligible, because the amount is small and dogs lick themselves regularly, so we may not even notice it. It is normal to see drops of blood emitting from the vulva. Sometimes, they are small jets that can stain the adjacent area and even the legs. This can spread when the dog sits or changes positions. We may also see small puddles in her bed or the place where she is lying, so we must protect beds and sofas if we let her climb on them. Likewise, it may be advisable to cover their bed with sheets or old towels that can be thrown away after the heat period.
As we can see, we need to know our dog to know how much is a normal amount of bleeding during heat. However, when the dog is sick due to infection or internal bleeding, we will observe other warning signs such as lethargy, howling, pain or even the presence of pus. If we see any of these signs, they need to be taken to a vet immediately.
Reasons a dog is bleeding a lot during heat
If a dog bleeds more than she should it is usually due to one of the following reasons:
- Infection: if a dog has a lot of the blood, they may have an infection which was received during mating or at some other point. When this happens, the dog will start to have other symptoms such as tiredness, weight loss or even the production of pus. The infection can be bacterial, fungal or viral and it will need diagnosis from a veterinarian.
- Miscarriage: although a dog's pregnancy should only last around 63 days, the fetuses can develop quite a lot in this space of time. There are some reasons such as physical trauma, the aforementioned infection or idiopathic reasons why a dog will miscarry, but if they have progressed sufficiently, the fetus may be evacuated. In this cases, we will see blood as well as the dead fetus/fetuses.
- Transmisible Venereal Tumor: TVTs in dogs are very uncommon, but they may develop after mating and cause excessive bleeding during a later heat cycle. They are considered a rare type of sexually transmitted cancer and they will need diagnosis and treatment.
At AnimalWised, we recommend sterilization for dogs when they are puppies. We look at the reasons why in more detail with our article on what happens after you neuter a dog.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
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