How often do dogs have periods? Essential Tips

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If youre thinking of adopting a female dog, you may wonder if female dogs have periods, or if you live with one that isnt spayed you might be curious as to why she is bleeding. Female dogs do undergo a regular cycle and bleed once they reach maturity, if they are not spayed. The experience may seem frightening at first (and messy), but the better you understand it, the more youll be able to help your dog.

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Before you get a dog, it’s important that you’re ready to be a responsible dog owner. From getting a properly-sized dog crate to setting up puppy vet visits, there’s a lot of preparation to do. And if you have a female dog, that includes getting ready for your dog’s “periods” — or more accurately, her estrus cycles. Dogs don’t menstruate in the same way human females do.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to take care of your dog during her estrus cycle, including when dogs go into heat, how often, and products you’ll need to help manage the physical signs.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is in Heat?

You’ll know your dog has her period if she cries at the smallest things and binges on Lifetime movies and chocolate M&Ms (ha! Just kidding). But in all seriousness, your dog might appear nervous, distracted or highly alert if she’s in heat. She might also be raising her hind quarters toward male dogs when they’re around her. Afterward, she’ll push her tail to one side and her rear legs will get tense. The other major sign of a dog in heat is bloody vaginal discharge and a swollen vulva. When the female dog is ready to mate, the vaginal discharge decreases and changes in color from red to the color of straw.

Ask The Vet, (Dogs getting their period.) Dr Yalda Motavali

When a female dog is in heat (called estrus), she has a bloody discharge from her vulva—similar to a human period or menstruation. But that’s where the similarities end. While humans experience a menstrual cycle every 28 days on average, dogs’ estrous cycle is six months or more.

A dog’s heat cycle has four stages . The first three can span as much as 30 days and include times of:

The fourth stage is the months between the end of one estrous and the beginning of the next.

While the timing of the first heat varies by dog breed and size, a puppy can go into her first heat at as young as 6 months old. Unless she is spayed, she will continue to go into heat every six months or so well into her senior years.