People wonder if female dogs have periods like women do. The answer is that it is similar.
Unlike women, dogs do not have a monthly cycle. The cycle of the dog differs also when it comes to the size of the dog.
Female dog heat cycles
A female dog will begin the cycles of heat varies by the breed of dog. Generally, most will begin between 9 months and 12 months of age.
Smaller dogs will have cycles more often than larger dogs.
Generally, the dog has 2 cycles per year. This last throughout the dog’s lifetime as they do not go through menopause like women do.
What are the stages of a dog’s heat cycle
There are four stages in a dog’s heat cycle. These cycles are; proestrus, estrus, diestrus and anestrus. Each poses a different physical and hormonal change in the female dog.
The 1st stage
The first stage, proestrus presents with the dog’s vulva swelling and a release of a reddish brown fluid.
This stage last 9 to 17 days and is when a female dog’s body is preparing for becoming pregnant.
The 2nd stage
This stage is estrus. During this stage, the dog will have a pliable, swollen vulva along with a discharge that is reddish or pink.
This is also the stage in which ovulation becomes stimulated. During this stage, the female becomes open to male attention.
This is also the stage in which most females become flirty with males, rubbing their back end against the male dog’s chest, poking the male with her nose, or lifting her tail to one side.
The 3rd stage
The third stage is diestrus. In this stage, the female dog will exhibit signs of pregnancy. Even if the dog is not pregnant she may start to mother other animals or toys.
This stage lasts 50 to 80 days but usually averages 60 days.
The 4th stage
The final stage is anestrus. This is the phase where the female dog body will heal and prepare for another cycle of heat.
This stage lasts between 130 to 250 days, depending on the dog breed.
How to care for your dog and home during heat cycle
There are some things you can do to care for your dog and home during her heat cycle.
If the dog is bleeding heavily you can purchase diapers or use a pair of male underwear on her with a pad in it. The male underwear may work better because you do not have to cut a hole for the tail in them. This also will allow you to buy pads instead of diapers which will be cheaper on your pocketbook.
When it comes to protecting your furniture you can use old blankets or sheets to cover the furniture.
Make sure to keep the dog in a restricted area; such as the laundry room where there are no outside doors that she can dart out without first attaching a leash.
During the night, crate your female as it will make it easier to clean up the next morning.
Keep an eye on her
You will need to accompany your dog outside during her heat cycle to keep her from mating with a male dog. Even if the area is fenced in a male dog can smell a female in heat. It is possible for a male dog to climb a chain link fence or jump wooden fences to get to a female in heat.
You will need to take her out more during heat as well as she will need to go more often. Do not become angry or upset if she has an accident in the house.
If you live in the city try to take her by car to a park or area that is not in use as much by other dogs. Keep a diaper on her until you get her to an area for her to do her business and as soon as she is done replace the diaper before taking her to the car.
Mark your calendar as soon as you notice she is bleeding or in heat. This will allow you to count forward six months and be ready for the next heat cycle.
If you are not going to breed your dog should you consider spaying her?
If you are not going to breed your dog it is best to spay her to prevent health issues with her reproductive organs and prevent unwanted litters.
As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to look after your dog’s health as well as not having unwanted puppies born.
You will need to discuss with your veterinarian when it is best to spay her as each breed is slightly different.
Most will say you can spay a dog before it comes in heat while others say when the dog is a minimum of 6 months old.
The health issues that can affect your female dog from not spay and not breeding is cancer of the reproductive organs.
Talk to your veterinarian about these issues when you first take your dog to the vet for vaccinations.
When you have the dog spayed; it will no longer have heat cycles or be able to become pregnant or develop cancer of the reproductive organs.
Female dogs have periods or heat cycles one to two times a year depending on the breed.
As the pet owner, it makes it your responsibility to be aware of the heat or period cycle of your female dog and take precautions to prevent unwanted puppies.
It is also your responsibility to make sure if you are not going to breed the female to have it spayed to prevent further health risk to her and keep her healthy.
You should discuss these issues with your veterinarian the first time you take your female puppy for vaccinations or a checkup.
Following the advice above you can manage to get through the heat cycle the first time should she come into heat before you have the opportunity to spay her.
Before you go get your diapers, have a look at this relative video: