It's that time of the month again: your dog's period. No, we're not talking about your dog's mood swings or PMS.
Your dog's estrous cycle, also known as her heat, is the time during which she is able to get pregnant.
During the estrous cycle, your dog will exhibit the following behaviors: She will pant and pace. Her rear will be red and swollen, and she will have bloody discharge from her vulva.
Did you know that dogs have cycles similar to those of humans? Not only do they go through menstruation, but they also have hormones that mimic those of pregnant women.
This is why dogs can be pregnant for months on end without showing any signs of it. The overall process is called the estrous cycle, and it is broken down into four stages: proestrus, estrus, metestrus, and anestrus.
Estrous Cycles in Dogs
Just like humans, female dogs can experience a host of uncomfortable side effects when they have their periods.
Some of the symptoms of a dog having her period are similar to those that women experience, such as lethargy, irritability, and an upset stomach. Other symptoms are unique to our canine companions, such as pawing at their bottoms, a sudden aversion to their favorite toys, and gnawing at their sides.
A female dog is said to be in estrus (known as "heat" in some dog breeds) when she is sexually receptive to a male dog, and will display clear signs of this.
These signs may include: swelling of the vulva, increased blood flow to the vagina, restlessness, and an obvious discharge from the vagina. Not all dogs are obvious about their estrus. Some dogs become anxious and withdrawn, while others are very friendly.
The obvious signs serve as a signal to males, who are eager to breed and can become aggressive.
1. Proestrus stage
Proestrus is the first stage of a heat cycle in dogs and is characterized by swelling of the vulva and a bloody discharge. The discharge is similar to a menstrual period and is caused by the rupturing of the follicles that contain the eggs of the ovaries.
Proestrus may occur on its own or as part of a longer cycle, called estrus. In this stage, the blood estrogen levels increase to levels near the peak of estrus (called estrus) and the vulva will become pink.
The first day of the cycle, or the first day of proestrus, is the first day of bleeding from the female dog.
2. Estrus Stage
Estrus is a term used to describe the period of time when a female dog is in heat. A dog that is in heat will ovulate (release an egg from the ovaries) within 24 to 72 hours after the onset of behavioral signs of estrus.
Although it is most common for a female dog to show behavioral signs, male dogs can also show behavioral signs of estrus in some cases.
The Estrus stage in dogs is the time when they are sexually receptive and able to reproduce. The estrus stage is usually characterized by an increase in the female dog's vaginal discharge and attraction to male dogs.
3. Diestrus Stage
Diestrus is a stage in a dog’s estrous cycle (heat period) when it is not pregnant. This is one of three stages in the reproductive cycle of female dogs.
Throughout the course of the estrous cycle, the dog’s body goes through various changes, preparing for pregnancy. Diestrus is the second stage of a dog’s reproductive cycle.
It is characterized by a decrease of the levels of progesterone, which causes the body to activate signs of male receptivity and ovulation. In other words, the female dog will display mating behavior, to which the male will respond.
4. Anestrus Stage
In dogs, the anestrus stage is the period of low reproductive activity that occurs after the estrus cycle. The anestrus stage is a direct result of the estrus cycle.
The anestrus stage begins when the female dog is bred. The anestrus stage ends when the female dog enters another estrus cycle. During the anestrus stage, the female dog will not be receptive to being bred.
Anestrus is a highly important term in the world of dogs that refers to the resting period between heats. During this time, female dogs do not come into heat. During the anestrus period, your dog's body is preparing for the next estrus period, when she will be prepared to carry a litter.
Anestrus stage is a good time for you to assess your dog's health, weight, and reproductive health. If you see a change in your dog's behavior, weight, or if she stops eating during anestrus, you should consult your veterinarian to determine if an issue exists.
Anestrus is the period of time when a dog is not interested in mating or reproducing. It is a part of the reproductive cycle that occurs in both male and female dogs.
In females, it is the time when the reproductive cycle is paused, while it continues in males. In either case, it is most often a period of calm, and a lack of interest in sexual activity.
Dealing with Discharge
There's nothing worse than your dog suddenly rushing outside and leaving a smelly mess behind, especially if that's a regular occurrence.
That's because a female dog's discharge is a sign that she's approaching her heat cycle, when she'll be able to conceive puppies with the male dogs in your area.
Dogs don't have regular monthly periods, as humans do; rather, they have one cycle per year that lasts around two weeks, during which she'll begin to bleed and attract male dogs from all around.
If your female dog has begun to experience any type of discharge, don't worry — that's normal. It's important to know the difference between normal discharge and abnormal discharge, especially if you plan on breeding your dog (or if you plan on showing her).
Your dog's discharge will be normal if it's clear or yellowish, if it's thick or thin, if it's pasty or a bit wet. If your dog's discharge is anything but normal, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.
In fact, some dogs experience discharge throughout their cycle. However, if your dog experiences discharge and it is accompanied by a change in behavior or other symptoms, you should take your dog to the vet.
When your dogs have a period, they may slowly lose weight, have an increased appetite, and feel crabby. Here are some tips for handling your dog's period: Make sure the dog is eating. Make sure the dogs period is not a result of a hormonal problem. Keep the dog calm. If the dog is a female, it may be in heat. If the dogs period is a result of a hormonal problem, the dogs period will stop when the hormonal problem is treated.