when do female dogs get periods

when do female dogs get periods


When Do Female Dogs Get Periods?

Understanding Your Dog’s Physical Changes

Just like humans, female dogs undergo certain physical changes as they mature. This maturation process is often referred to as the “heat cycle” or “estrus cycle”. The onset of this cycle signifies that your fur baby is growing and capable of reproducing.

The estrus cycle generally starts when your female dog is between six to twenty-four months old, depending on the breed and size of the dog. During this period, you will notice some physical changes in your pet, such as:

  1. Swelling of the vulva
  2. Spotting or discharge
  3. Increased urination

The Four Stages of the Canine Estrus Cycle

The estrus cycle of your female dog is divided into four distinct stages:

  1. Proestrus: This is the initial stage of the cycle that lasts between 7 to 10 days. Your dog’s vulva will swell and she will have a bloody discharge, but she will not be receptive to males yet.
  2. Estrus: This stage lasts between 5 to 9 days, and this is when your dog is ready to mate. Her discharge will be lighter in colour, and she will be more receptive to males.
  3. Diestrus: This stage lasts for about two months. If your dog has mated, this is the pregnancy stage. If not, her body will return to a normal state.
  4. Anestrus: This is the final stage, where your dog is in her normal state, not displaying any signs of being in heat. This stage lasts until the next heat cycle begins.

Preventing Unwanted Pregnancy

If you’re not ready for your pet to have puppies, it’s important to take preventive measures. Here are some options:

  • Keep your dog indoors or secure when she is in heat.
  • Consider spaying your dog.
  • Consult with your vet for contraceptive options.

Health Issues Related to the Estrus Cycle

While the estrus cycle is a normal part of a female dog’s life, it may sometimes lead to health issues such as:

  • Pyometra: This is a severe infection of the uterus that can be life-threatening.
  • False pregnancy: This is when your dog shows signs of pregnancy even when she’s not pregnant.

If you notice any abnormal signs, it’s best to consult your vet immediately.


Q: How often do female dogs get their periods?
A: Female dogs typically go into heat twice a year, but it can vary with breed and individual dog.

Q: How long does a dog’s period last?
A: The entire estrus cycle can last anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months.

Q: Can I get my dog spayed while she is in heat?
A: It’s generally not recommended to spay a dog while she’s in heat due to the increased risk of complications.

Q: How can I comfort my dog when she’s in heat?
A: Providing a quiet and comfortable space, regular short walks, and avoiding stressful situations can help comfort your dog.

Q: Can a female dog get pregnant at any time?
A: No, a female dog can only get pregnant during the estrus stage of her heat cycle.