Do Dogs Get Period Cramps? Understanding How Dog Cycles Work

A cute black-and-white dog wearing a diaper with colorful paw prints on it.

Female dogs, like female humans, do get periods and have menstrual cycles. Dog menstrual cycles are different from humans, and their periods are not the same.  

Do dogs get period cramps? Dogs, like many other animals, do not have an active or obvious menstruation. The uterine lining of dogs is very thin, so it is typically absorbed by the body and doesn’t cause cramping or other problems. Instead, dogs experience slight bleeding and discomfort when in heat.

Dogs do not seem to experience cramping or pain during their periods or at any point in their menstrual cycles, but for even experienced dog owners, much of a dog’s heat cycle is misunderstood.

In the following, we’ll explain it all in simple terms so that you’ll have a better idea of what’s going on during your dog’s heat and can help keep her comfortable and relaxed.

How a Dog’s Cycle Differs From a Woman’s Period

Dogs have menstrual cycles much like human females, but they are slightly different. Humans have thick uterine linings that must be shed if the female does not become pregnant.

Dogs have very thin uterine linings that are mostly absorbed by the body. Most dogs do not show any signs of menstruation and are not uncomfortable during their periods.

Female Dogs’ Heat Cycle

Dogs have a heat cycle or a time period for when they are fertile. The cycle is broken up into phases that help make it easier to determine when a dog should be bred or is the most fertile.

The first phase is proestrus, which occurs when the egg develops in the follicles on the ovaries. The second phase occurs when the follicles release the egg; this phase is called estrus.

The second phase is when the dog becomes irritated, fussy, or extra clingy and also has a slight bloody discharge. It is during this time that female dogs will accept a mate.

The third phase is called diestrus and is the completion of the cycle. The fourth stage is the resting phase before the cycle starts again and new eggs start to develop in the follicles. 

Why Do Dogs Bleed When in Heat?

Dogs bleed when they are in heat because of a change in their hormones that can cause inflammation around the uterus and push blood cells through the uterine capillaries. 

How Much Does a Dog Bleed in Heat?

There is no specific amount of blood that is normal for a dog in heat, and most dogs lick themselves as they bleed, so it can sometimes be hard to determine if a dog is bleeding much at all.

A dog can bleed for up to 10 days while in heat, but most only experience subtle bleeding or spotting. 

Does a Dog’s Behavior Change When in Heat?

Dogs do have a change in behavior when they are in heat. They may become anxious, move around a lot more, and even be more social and/or clingy.

They can also seem to be on edge and a little moody. Some dogs also just feel tired or restless and tend to sleep a lot.

Menstruation in People

In humans, women bleed when their bodies shed the uterine lining.

The cycle is similar to the menstruation cycle of other animals, and many women also show signs when they are ovulating and fertile.

Most women have a 28-day menstrual cycle and will bleed after their fertile periods for 5 to 7 days.

Why Dogs Likely Do Not Experience Pain When in Heat

A cute Yorkshire terrier wearing a white diaper.

Heat is not a painful experience for dogs. In most cases, they do feel anxious and agitated when they are in heat and may have some spotting and inflammation, but the process is not painful.

Dogs have a covert period, so the cycle that may be painful in humans is not noticeable in dogs.

What Are the Signs That Your Dog Is Going Into Heat?

Dogs can demonstrate different symptoms and signs of being in heat. Some may have more obvious symptoms than others. Those signs include, 

  • Swollen vulva
  • Bleeding from the vulva
  • Licking the rear end 
  • Being overly friendly
  • Being clingy
  • Being agitated
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleeping pattern changes

How To Care for a Dog in Heat

The best way to care for your dog while she is in heat is to keep her comfortable and calm. Allow your dog to rest, and give her a quiet, calm place to sleep until the heat is over.

You should also provide plenty of food and water so that your dog gets adequate nutrition during her heat cycle.

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Near the end of the discharge phase, be very alert to the fact that she will more than likely accept a male, and if there are unneutered males in your neighborhood, they will probably come calling if they get the chance.

Do not leave her alone outside, and be on the lookout for other dogs when you take her out for a walk.

Related Questions: 

Do Dogs Get Periods Every Month?

Dogs do not have periods every month. Their menstrual cycles are much longer and more drawn out than people’s are.

They tend to get a period about every six months, and they do not bleed much during this time. 

When Can a Female Dog Get Pregnant?

Dogs usually reach sexual maturity between the ages of six and 12 months. They must also be in the second phase of the menstrual cycle and “in heat” in order to be impregnated. 

Conclusion 

Female dogs do have a menstrual cycle or periods. Their cycles are different from human females, and they do not bleed excessively or experience any discomfort while on their periods.

Some dogs do experience behavioral changes during the fertility period of the cycle or while they are in heat, but these symptoms do not include pain.

Last update on 2022-05-18 at 12:10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API