It’s one of those things all dog owners face: either you spay your female dog or you face her getting a period. How long does a dog’s period last, what can you expect during that time, and how can you prepare for it?
How Long Does A Dog's Period Last?
A dog getting her period is usually referred to as the dog “going into heat.” It usually occurs about twice a year, with the first cycle coming sometime between the time the dog reaches six months of age and her first birthday.
Each cycle will last anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. Most commonly, a dog’s period will last 2 to 3 weeks. No wonder it happens just a few times a year, right?
What Can I Expect During My Dog’s Period?
You’ll probably notice a few physical signs in your dog:
• Very frequent licking of herself
• A bloody discharge
• Swollen vulva
All of these symptoms are common and nothing to worry about.
You may also notice your dog getting a lot of attention from other dogs. Males can smell a female in heat from quite a distance, and at close range it’s difficult for them to resist.
How Can I Prepare?
A little preparation will go a long way.
First, if you are not planning on breeding your dog, you’ll need to keep her away from other dogs. Again, males can smell a female ready to reproduce from a distance and will do what they can to get to her. They’ll fight other males for access if necessary, which is why you’ll usually see signs at dog parks prohibiting females in heat.
Keep her away from any unneutered males you have. Minimize exposure to other dogs. Do not leave her unattended outside, as male dogs from around the neighborhood may make a surprise visit to satisfy their urges.
Second, whether you plan to breed her or not, you’ll want to have supplies on hand for clean-up duty. Prevention is best here. Dog pads for dogs in heat are comfortable garments that keep your dog’s discharge from making a mess around your house. It’s the easiest way to keep your carpets and furniture from getting stained while still allowing her freedom around the house.
Third, if you don't plan on breeding your dog, spaying her is an excellent option. It will prevent the headache of having to deal with future cycles and has health benefits as well. If your dog is currently in a heat cycle, call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment for a few weeks out so her period will be over (a requirement by most veterinarians for spay surgery). Read More: Common Spay/Neuter Questions Answered
How long does a dog's period last? It typically lasts a few weeks, with very noticeable symptoms. Those few weeks will take diligence from you if you're not planning on puppies, so make sure you're aware of symptoms and what to do during her cycle.
Did this answer your questions? Get more answers -- check out the "Dog Health Questions" blog category at right.
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Photo credit: bo7mon