When your dog starts her heat cycle, you’ll notice changes down there. We’re here to help you identify a normal color for dog period blood and discharge and how to respond.
At first, the discharge will be thick and blood-stained, but it’ll eventually turn watery and pinkish.
The blood is mainly composed of red blood cells, but as the cycle progresses, the color becomes less dark. Every dog is different, so the color may be slightly different.
Below, we’ll cover the color changes in-depth and talk more about a dog’s cycle.
Before reading this article, “Dog Period Blood Color & Discharge Color,” check out: Do Dogs Get Period Cramps? Common Symptoms and How to Help! (2023) and Why Do Dogs Like Period Blood? (2023).
What Are the Stages of a Dog’s Heat?
The number one clue that your dog is in heat is when she starts paying excessive attention to her private parts. She’ll start licking the area, and her vulva will look slightly swollen.
The vulva is the skin located near the vagina, and in the early stages of the heat cycle, it’ll feel stiff and hard. As the cycle progresses, it’ll become softer. You’ll also notice mood and behavior changes, as well as a more pungent urine odor.
There are several phases to the dog heat cycle, and the first is proestrus. During this stage, the vulva becomes red, firm, and swollen. There might also be some bloody discharge. Your dog will start secreting pheromones to attract males, but she won’t be open to mating yet.
The estrus stage allows females to mate with males, and it can last for around seven to nine days. The female might even elevate her tail, revealing her private region to attract males. During this phase, there will still be some blood discharge, but it’ll have a more pinkish hue.
The next step is the luteal phase, where the dog can experience a false pregnancy or diestrus. This stage occurs after estrus, and it’s before the anestrus phase.
Finally, anestrus is the period between the end of the luteal cycle and the beginning of a new proestrus cycle. This stage lasts between two to eight months.
How to Tell if a Dog Is in Heat
You’ll probably see a decrease in her vaginal bleeding. Don’t worry — this is totally normal and actually means she’s at her most fertile! This stage usually lasts around a week to 10 days until bleeding starts again (although not all dogs experience this).
When your dog is around other dogs, both male and female, you’ll notice a change in behavior. She might try to mount them or let them mount her. And if there are no other dogs around, she might try to mount your leg.
Another thing to look out for is a change in your dog’s tail position — it’ll often curl or move to the side. This is called flagging, and it’s a way of letting male dogs know she’s ready to mate.
When it comes to male dogs, they’ll definitely react differently to your dog in heat. They might start getting aggressive toward other males or barking and whining more. And they’ll definitely be way more interested in your dog’s genital area than usual. So be careful on walks!
Do Dogs Get Periods?
Have you ever wondered if female dogs get periods like humans do? Well, the answer is no — but they do have a heat cycle in which they can experience some vaginal discharge or bleeding.
This typically lasts between two to four weeks and happens every six to 12 months for adult female dogs or every four to six months for puppies.
When a dog is in heat, her hormones change and her body prepares for pregnancy, making her more willing to mate. This state can last for up to three months, during which time she may experience physical symptoms like increased urination, mood changes, a swollen vulva, and bloody discharge.
It’s good to keep in mind that larger breeds may mature later than smaller ones, and females usually reach sexual maturity at around six to 12 months of age.
But here’s the thing: female dogs don’t get their periods monthly like humans. That’s because their uterus is different. In humans, the uterine lining sheds each month during menstruation, but in dogs, the lining is thinner and doesn’t shed regularly. So, female dogs only experience bleeding during their heat cycle.
If you spay your dog, it means she won’t go into heat anymore, right? Well, technically, yes. But after the surgery, she might still experience a little bit of bleeding.
This happens because the hormones keeping her heat cycles under control are now unleashed into her body. Bleeding shouldn’t last for more than a few days, and then your dog will be back to her old self.
How to Keep a Dog in Heat Comfortable
Many owners of female dogs will put a diaper on their dog when she’s in heat to keep their carpet, furniture, and other home surfaces from being stained with blood.
However, it’s important to make sure the diaper fits right for your dog’s comfort. Using a diaper can also mean your dog doesn’t have to stress about constantly grooming herself to clean up bloody discharge.
While resting is important for a dog in heat, getting a good amount of exercise is crucial too. Exercise can help your dog de-stress and also save her from boredom after being cooped up.
However, exercise should be approached with caution. Your lady pup’s biology and physical changes during estrus can make her lethargic, abnormally tired, and uninterested in play — so don’t push it.
It’s also important to note that during estrus, female dogs produce a vaginal secretion called Methyl p-hydroxybenzoate that alerts male dogs. This can make her a magnet for male dogs if she’s outside, causing her to become restless — and potentially leading her to act out in destructive ways.
To help keep her calm, try taking her for shorter walks that are only half as long as normal and keep her on a leash. And when she’s not out for her daily stroll, try to keep her indoors as much as possible to avoid unwanted attention from male dogs.
What Is Pyometra in Dogs?
Pyometra, also known as “Pyo,” is a serious infection that occurs within a dog’s uterus. Female dogs that have not been spayed and are over the age of six are at risk of developing pyometra.
During a dog’s heat cycle, hormones are released, and the uterus undergoes changes, making it more susceptible to bacteria. Once the heat cycle is over, a bacterial infection can rapidly develop in the uterus, filling it with pus. This condition can lead to severe health complications such as sepsis, kidney failure, and even death.
Pyometra can manifest in two forms: open and closed. In an open pyometra, the cervix of the uterus remains open, causing blood and pus to discharge from the dog’s vulva. In a closed pyometra, however, the cervix of the uterus is closed, and discharge may not be visible.
This type of pyometra is particularly risky, as the uterus may burst, causing life-threatening conditions.
How Is Pyometra Treated?
If your dog is suffering from pyometra, which is a serious infection in the uterus, emergency surgery is usually necessary. The procedure involves the removal of the uterus and ovaries.
In addition to the surgery, your dog will require a fluid drip to restore and maintain hydration, especially if they’ve been vomiting or experiencing other symptoms. The veterinarian will also prescribe pain relief and antibiotics to help ease your dog’s discomfort and prevent the infection from spreading.
In some cases, hormone therapy may provide an alternative to surgery. However, this treatment method is not always successful, and the infection may return during the next heat cycle.
Ultimately, surgery is often the most effective long-term solution to protect your dog’s health and well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s not uncommon for a dog to have brown period blood depending on where she is at in her heat cycle, but if you’re worried, watch for out-of-the-ordinary color changes and contact your vet.
You can use a clean cloth or a pet-safe wipe to tidy up your dog’s period blood or spotting.
You can expect your dog to have a bloody first period that becomes more watery and pinkish.
Conclusion for “Dog Period Blood Color & Discharge Color”
To understand a normal color of discharge for your dog, pay attention to the color of the discharge through several cycles. This will give you an idea of your dog’s “normal” discharge color. If you notice that your dog’s discharge color changes, there could be a number of causes.
Dark discharge could mean internal bleeding, and light discharge could mean anemia. The only way to know for sure is to take your dog to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Not all causes of discolored discharge are serious, however. Certain stages of a dog’s heat cycle can also affect color.
If this article, “Dog Period Blood Color & Discharge Color,” helped answer your question, check out:
- Are There Dog Tampons? Can You Put a Tampon on a Dog? (2023)
- If a Dog Tastes Blood Will It Attack Again? (2023)
- Dog Tongue Color Chart: Common Colors and What You Need to Know! (2023)
Learn more about this topic by watching “Dog Periods: When Your Dog is in Heat and Bleeding” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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