The reproductive system of a bitch is not a subject of great importance, unless she is pregnant. You know that female dogs can bear pups and look after their offspring. However, if you have a non-neutered female, it is important to know whether your dogs have periods. Read on and find out the answer.
Do Dogs Have Menstrual Periods Like Humans?
Although dogs possess same types of reproductive organs other mammals, such as humans, they do not have menstrual periods unlike human females. Compared to their human counterparts, she-dogs do not undergo a 28-day menstrual cycle. Instead, they undergo an estrous cycle. They do not have periods like humans.
What is an Estrous Cycle?
It is a cycle of change in female dogs, which tends to last for around 180 days. It first arises anywhere between 5 and 14 months, based on the breed size. Once the cycle nears an end, a dog enters the ‘heat’ phase. Once it is in this stage, which generally lasts between the 2nd and 3rd week, she-dogs feel some unique identifiers and changes in their physiology. Some of the identifiers may cause owners to suppose that she is menstruating similar to humans.
For example, her body readies itself for childbearing. The changes include vaginal discharge, vulval swelling and a fluctuation in estrogen levels. The discharge from the vagina can range from brownish-red to mild pink, based on the part of heat cycle that the dog experiences. The amount of discharge can be barely noticeable or heavy, depending on the breed of the bitch.
There are some behavioral signs as well. Once she is in a heat cycle, your female dog will like to mate. You can expect her to behave unusually, such as urinating more while in heat. Her urine, rich in her pheromones and hormones, indicate male dogs that she is of ripe age and fit to reproduce. She might also indulge in playful, aggressive behaviors, such as poking male dogs with her nose or shoving her rear into their chests.
Does Vulval Discharge Signify Menstruation?
Unlike menstruation, in which blood arises from the uterus, the blood arising during the heat cycle of a female dog strictly comes from the vagina. The blood signals the start of fertility. The blood, packed with nutrients, is absorbed back into the body of the dog once an egg is unfertilized.
Why It Is Important to Spay?
Keep in mind that dogs, unlike female humans, do not enter a phase of menopause. In the estrous cycle, dogs are in heat about two times on an average every year. Even in advanced years, their reproductive system can go on working.
Due to this reason, it is important for you to spray your dog in case you do not have any plans to let it breed. Spaying a dog as early as 6 – 8 weeks is absolutely safe, and doing this will benefit the long-term health of your canine companion – as she will be prone to disorders such as cancers otherwise.