Do Dogs Get Period Cramps? Must Know Menstruation Symptoms

Do Dogs Get Period Cramps? Photo of a dog laying down looking sad.

Is your dog having “her time of the month”? If so, you might be wondering if she is also going to get cramps! Here’s what you’ll want to know about your dog’s period.

Dogs can get period cramps when they go into or are in the middle of their heat cycle. You most likely will hear your dog whining. This is her vocalizing her cramps, nausea, and general discomfort from her period symptoms. Other behaviors include irritability and wandering around the house.

How do dogs feel when they get their period?

While we humans have no way of knowing for sure, since we can’t read a dog’s mind (yet), many experts agree that dogs can feel many of the same symptoms that humans can when it comes to their time of the month.

Humans get their periods when their uterine lining is shedding, and these contractions will cause cramping and pain in the process. However, in dogs, the cramps aren’t due to the shedding because dogs are starting their fertile period, not ending it. 

Most agree that the cramping is caused by a hormonal surge since this is common at the beginning of a menstrual cycle.

This hormonal surge can leave your dog feeling irritable, scared, and more. It depends on her personality and potentially whether or not this is her first cycle. Many dogs will feel motivated to find a mate, too, as you can imagine. Since her entire heat cycle signals that she’s ready to mate, she’ll feel agitated to get out and find a male.

Do dogs feel bad during the heat cycle?

During their heat cycle, dogs can feel bad. Like humans, some dogs will have stronger symptoms than others, and some cycles may be harder. One of the advantages of only going into heat about twice a year is that it won’t be every month like it is with humans. 

Many find that their dog in heat is hard to watch. Not only is it hard to see them whining in pain (more on that in a bit), but it also is frustrating since they will give off discharge and will have to wear clothing to protect furniture. They also will be almost frantic to get out of the house to find a potential mate — this is what their body is telling them to do, after all.

If you find the heat cycle hard to deal with, you can consider getting her spayed. This is a surgery that removes her reproductive organs and will stop her heat cycle entirely. There are many health benefits to a spay surgery as well. Many breeders or adoption centers will actually require spays as part of their agreement since overpopulation is a common issue in many cities and countries, and many dogs enjoy a better quality of life.

Why does my dog whine when she is in heat?

Many assume that whining is a sign of pain when their dog is in heat. Since it’s such a woeful noise, it’s perfectly common. However, you’ll be happy to know that pain is typically not an indicator of pain when she is in heat. Instead, it’s a mating call to those who are around her. Since her body is now telling her that it’s time to mate, she’s, well, attempting to find a mate. Please remember that this is a biological instinct for her and cannot be disciplined out of her. Punishing her will only increase her anguish!

It can be unnerving to see her crying or moaning and dragging herself along on the floor since it so strongly makes us think that she is in pain. However, this is typical behavior when she is in heat.

How to tell my dog is in pain?

In some cases, the whining can mean that she is in pain. If she is whining after her heat cycle has stopped, this is a good indicator. If this kind of behavior happens at any other time of the year, you are correct in assuming that it’s from pain!

As far as when she is in heat, however, common indicators of pain include:

  • Sudden lack of interest in cuddling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Aggressiveness and irritability
  • Lack of interest in being anywhere near anyone

These are all hard enough to deal with in a human, but they can be even worse with our dogs because we often feel powerless to help them. However, we’ve got more on that a bit later to help you do what you can. 

Dog menstruation symptoms

There are a few ways that you can tell whether or not your dog is menstruating. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Bloody discharge
  • Dragging her stomach around on the floor
  • Raising her hind end towards male dogs
  • Moaning or crying
  • Wandering around aimlessly
  • Trying to escape

These are all signs that she is in her heat cycle, and her body and hormones are telling her to find a mate. These will all subside when she ends her cycle in 20-30 days.

How can I help my dog with her period?

If you feel like the heat cycle is endless (it can feel that way sometimes) and you’re desperately seeking to find a way to help her out, there are a few things that you can do:

  • Stay calm and controlled
  • Give her love and affection
  • Give her some pain medication

Stay calm and controlled

We all get frustrated when our dogs are roaming the halls and crying for days and weeks on end. However, you need to stay calm and controlled. This is a behavior that is out of her control, and she isn’t being moody or depressed. She’s just responding to the pain and the hormonal changes in her body.

Give her love and affection

If she’s feeling scared or comes to you for love, give it to her freely! If you’re worried about cuddling her and having discharge on you, you can put her in a surgical suit or a onesie. This is probably a good idea anyway! Give her love and cuddling and whatever else she is looking for.

Likewise, don’t force her to cuddle with you if she’s not interested. You can love her and reassure her from afar, after all.

Take it easy as far as exercise

Taking her out while she is in heat isn’t a good idea since she will easily attract male attention. If you do, though, stay close to home and don’t make her do lots of exercise. If she’s in pain, she won’t want to do much, anyway. 

Give her some pain medication

If you feel that she really needs it, you can consider pain medication and treatment. However, you should only do this with a vet’s approval and instruction. Pain medication can be dangerous to dogs, so you’ll need to have it done right.

What can I give my dog for period cramps?

If you really want to give your dog something for the pain of her cramps, then you’ll have two options. These are classic pain medication and CBD oil.

Your vet can prescribe classic pain medication to a pharmacy for you to pick up. Some will even recommend an off-the-shelf pain pill but in very carefully controlled amounts. Make sure you always follow your vet’s recommendation on dosage. Pain medication can cause serious health concerns.

CBD oil is commonly prescribed to dogs to help calm them and their symptoms. Since most of the mare simply due to the hyperactivity of her heat cycle, most find this is all that they need for their dogs. Again, a vet can prescribe dosage and type.


Period cramps can happen when a dog is in heat. These can create vocalizing, an upset stomach, and strong biological behaviors that come with this “time of the month.”

Proper understanding of how to care for her while in heat is essential for her mental health and wellbeing.

Dogs can get period cramps, but most symptoms are from discomfort due to their hormones creating biologically programmed behaviors like crying and searching for a mate. This article may offer some relief and advice to a dog parent searching for it.

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Andre Neves

Hi, I'm Andre and I'm the owner of Sula the Border Collie. I love writing about this amazing dog breed here. I joined the Council to be able to reach and educate more people on the joy of having a pet dog.