Do Dogs Get Periods Every Month and Bleed?

Do Dogs Get Periods? Photo of a dog with a red flower representing the period blood.

Do dogs get periods? Is this a thing? Below is all you need to know about it as a responsible pet parent looking to learn how to care for their female dog.

Yes, dogs go into heat (aka get their periods) regularly throughout the year. Small dogs can have this happen anywhere from 3-4 times a year. Most dogs will be about once every six months.

Their period will last all the way up to senior years, which means that she can get pregnant during those senior years, too.

When dogs are young, their heat cycle will vary. However, once they are a few years old, this will settle into a routine that will help you get a better sense of the timing you can expect.

Do female dogs get periods?

As you read above, yes. Female dogs get their periods just like humans do. Their cycle works a little differently. However, an unspayed dog will have a period when she reaches sexual maturity at around 4 months of age.

How long does a dog in heat bleed?

The amount of time for bleeding will change from one dog breed to another. Typically, larger dogs have fewer heat cycles in a year than smaller dogs. The heat cycle itself is consistent at approximately 2-3 weeks in most dogs. Young dogs may be as short as 2-3 days, however, since they are still “settling in” to their cycle.

Can a dog bleed longer than 10 days?

Yes, a dog can bleed for longer than 10 days. This is often unexpected for those who think that a dog’s period will work similarly to a human’s period. Dogs will usually have a bloody discharge for 3-4 weeks. It will be lighter than a human period.

Why is my dog’s period lasting so long?

It’s normal to feel a little panicky about your dog bleeding for weeks on end, but this is perfectly normal in dogs. As far as why it lasts as long as it does, it’s mostly about their biology. Since dogs typically go into heat about twice a year, their heat cycle is long enough to allow them to get the “best” chance of pregnancy. Biologically speaking, this is important for the body to do, and it is the reason for your dog’s existence. For a modern pet parent, it’s mostly an irritation.

Do dogs have periods every month?

A dog will get their period between 2-4 times a year, at the most. If you are noticing that she is bleeding every month, then something else is doing on. Even the smallest dogs will get their period no more than 4 times a year! This will be a huge relief if you thought that you would have to deal with this every month, like with humans!

What do you do when your dog gets her period?

If this is your first time dealing with a dog’s period, you might be feeling a little apprehensive. The most important thing is to make sure that you don’t blame her. Sounds strange, perhaps, but many will be upset with their dog for getting their period and then having its symptoms.

Just like in humans, this is a biological process that your dog can’t control. This includes the actual discharge and the symptoms like whining, dragging her belly around, and irritability. Chastising her will just make her feel upset and even afraid of you. 

If your dog gets her period, be prepared to learn how to deal with her symptoms and make sure that you are prepared physically with diapers, or dog equivalent, and perhaps a onesie. This will help keep the blood problem down to a minimum, at least.

As well, having a diaper or some sort of suit on will also ensure that if she does escape (more on that later), she won’t be able to mate with a dog and get pregnant successfully.

Dog heat cycle stages

There are three stages in your dog’s heat cycle (aka her menstrual cycle). These are:

  • Proestrus
  • Estrus
  • Anestrus

Proestrus

This is like the warm-up stage for her estrus cycle, as the name probably suggests. This is where you’ll notice her vulva swelling, and she’ll start to become a bit restless. At this point, her body is letting potential mates know that her mating period is coming (but not quite there yet).

This is when you should start preparing for her estrus cycle, as the bleeding will increase once she gets into it. Bleeding won’t be heavy in dogs like in humans, but dogs in heat will have some bloody discharge throughout the heat cycle. This part of the cycle lasts from 7-10 days.

Estrus

This is the stage where her body will be ready for mating. She will have a swollen vulva, still, and will be having bloody discharge. You’ll also notice other period symptoms like restlessness, whining and howling, etc.

This stage can vary in severity (of her symptoms) and last from 2-4 weeks. In most cases, dogs will be in this stage for about 10 days. With the addition of the proestrus stage, the period technically lasts for 3-4 weeks!

Anestrus

This is the remainder of her cycle. At this point, her body is just “resting” and will be waiting for the next stage to begin. For this reason, the stage lasts between 3-4 months. This is when your dog will act normal with no discharge and no strange behavior.

Do dogs have menopause?

Unlike humans, dogs will not have menopause naturally. The way dogs are built means that they can have puppies anywhere from 4 months to senior age. Any time that they are in heat, they are capable of getting pregnant. Of course, pregnancy doesn’t mean that it’ll be healthy or recommended! But, it is technically possible.

How to prevent a dog from getting pregnant?

If you’re feeling a little worried about your dog getting pregnant, you aren’t alone! Heat cycles are not fun at all, even for the attentive and loving pet parent. Want to make sure that your dog doesn’t get pregnant? Your two options are:

  • Keep her away from all male dogs
  • Spay her

Don’t feel like that first tip is even plausible? You’re right! Technically, this would only apply to intact males, of course. Still, you’d be surprised how many times people put their dogs at risk for pregnancy and don’t even know it!

Plus, your sweet little girl will become somewhat of an escape artist when she is in heat (which is a biological instinct and not her being difficult). This means that it’s very plausible that she’ll run off and find a male somewhere (she is releasing a scent and howling to do this anyway), and then she’ll return pregnant!

Again, this is much more common than most people believe. Since no one wants to be dealing with 13+ years of this kind of behavior in their dog, this leads you to the second point.

The best thing to do for everyone’s peace of mind, safety, and sanity, is to get your dog spayed. This is a standard procedure offered by vets everywhere, and it is often a requirement when you adopt or purchase a dog from a store. This is because dog overpopulation is already a problem, and pregnancy can put a lot of strain on your dog’s health!

There are many advantages to considering a spay for your dog, too. One of the biggest and best ones is that you will never have to worry about your dog getting pregnant. Even at the best of times, this causes a fuss. In the worst case, it could put her health and that of the puppies at risk.

TLDR

Most dogs will have periods every 6-7 months. This includes classic period symptoms. They will have these from the age of sexual maturity all the way up to her most senior years, where pregnancy would be dangerous. The only way to prevent dog periods is to get your dog spayed.

Dogs get their periods 2-3 times a year. This means dealing with dog period symptoms and helping keep her safe and pregnancy-free during her cycle for everyone’s wellbeing.

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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.