Do Dogs Have Periods?

Female dogs experience their reproductive cycle in four stages. Like humans, female pups also demonstrate period symptoms.

 A dog’s period is called their heat cycle. Once a dog has her first reproductive cycle, she will go into heat about twice a year. A female can become pregnant during her estrus cycle or when progesterone is more prevalent.

Periods are just as challenging for pups as they are for humans, which is why spaying your dog may be the right thing to do. If you want to know more about dogs and their periods, check out this article.

Maltese dog on bed with open snout

Do Dogs Have Periods?

The dog’s reproductive cycle has four events, including:

  • Proestrus
  • Estrus
  • Diestrus
  • Anestrus


Most female dogs will experience their estrus cycle about every six months. Their reproductive cycles are otherwise known as their heat cycles. Most of the time, dogs will have their first heat cycle around six months of age.



During this stage, female dogs will attract male dogs. However, female dogs do not wish to engage. It is because the female is not quite ready to mate. She rejects the male. Estrogen levels are soaring during this time. There are some defining features of proestrus:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Swelling of the vulva
  • Bloody discharge
  • Frequent urination


The blood during this stage ranges from red blood to pinkish yellow or brown tones, and it will usually appear in small droplets. This period typically lasts for seven to ten days.


During the estrus stage, the female becomes interested in male attention. Estrogen levels decrease, and progesterone levels increase. Some of the significant features of estrus:

  • Vulva softens
  • Lighter bloody discharge
  • The female waves her tail flirtatiously

During this stage, bloody discharge lessens and becomes a pinkish tan color. The estrus stage can last from four to twenty-four days.


During diestrus, progesterone levels tend to decrease whether she is pregnant or not, and the fertile period ends. There are some defining characteristics of this stage:

  • Vulva swelling further decreases
  • The courtship ends for the male and female
  • The discharge becomes red again and will gradually taper off


There might be a sixty-two- to sixty-four-day gestation if breeding was successful. The diestrus stage lasts for about twenty days.


During anestrus, the female takes a well-deserved rest. This period typically lasts for about five to eleven months. If breeding was unsuccessful, she goes into anestrus and then back to proestrus. Ultimately, she goes through the cycle all over again.

Pregnancy in Dogs

If pregnancy does occur as a result of successful mating, your dog may exhibit sure signs that they are pregnant that you will need to watch out for:

  • Nesting behavior or looking for a good place to birth puppies
  • “Morning sickness” or vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of energy
  • Nipple growth that may or may not include milk
  • More or less affectionate

Some of these signs are similar to your pup experiencing her heat cycle, so it is best to confirm pregnancy with the assistance of a trained veterinarian. Even non-pregnant dogs demonstrate certain maternal signs, such as lactation or behavioral changes.

Pregnant dog at home


Gestation Period

Dogs can become pregnant at any point during the estrus stage. The gestation period in dogs typically lasts for about 62 to 64 days. Measuring hormones progesterone and luteinizing hormone in dogs is how your vet will determine ovulation.

Once your vet figures out this essential information, they can pin down a due date almost to the day. You and your vet should work together while your pup is pregnant to ensure that she is healthy and everything is going smoothly.

How Can I Manage My Dog’s Period?

Dogs need to be clean and neat during their reproductive cycle, just like humans. If you want to keep the house clean during your pup’s heat cycle, there are some items you can purchase that may help.


Reusable Dog Diapers

Reusable dog diapers are an excellent option for those pet parents who also care about the environment. They can absorb many layers, and you can wash them. They come in many prints and colors, and they are machine or hand washable.

Disposable Dog Diapers

Disposable diapers are another great option, and they are good if you do not like reusable diapers. You can buy them in sizes for small, medium, and large breeds. The diapers help when your dog is going through the stage where they are urinating more often.

Full Body Dog Diapers

If your dog has trouble keeping her diaper on, a full-body dog diaper may be the best option. They range in sizes from small to extra large-long. They were made to fit right on any dog. Also, they have the additional benefit because they are anti-microbial. These diapers come in many colors, such as pink, purple, blue, and red.

Some dog diapers are even adjustable with a hook and loop feature. It will help the diaper fit better, which keeps your pup cleaner. There are also special pads you can get for your girl while going through the heat cycle. Diapers help prevent pregnancy by protecting your dog from penetration when they are around pups of the male persuasion.


Consider Spaying Your Female Dog

Overbreeding is a serious issue, and it should be considered before you decide to breed your dog. If you are not raising your pup for breeding, you should have her spayed. Ideally, your dog should be fixed at about six months old. However, talk to your vet to see what they recommend.

When you have your dog spayed, they remove her reproductive organs. There are a plethora of benefits to having your dog spayed:

  • Eliminating the stress of the heat cycle
  • Decreasing the risk for mammary cancer
  • Reducing the risk of uterine cancer

If you choose to breed your dog, only have them breed after completing two regular reproductive cycles. Breeding her sooner may cause problems for her and her puppies.


A female dog has four stages of her reproductive cycle. They must suffer through their period just like humans. If you intend to breed your dog, be responsible for her and her puppies. As a pet parent, your dog depends on you to make the best decisions regarding her health and happiness.

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Lincolnway Veterinary Clinic is a full service, AAHA accredited veterinary practice located in Mishwaka, Indiana. In addition to general wellness care like vaccinations and wellness exams, we also provide holistic veterinary care such as acupuncture and a variety of alternative medicine options.