Estrus, that’s the technical name for a dog’s reproductive cycle, but to you and me, we simply know it as a dog coming on heat or having a season.
A dog can be on heat for 7 – 21 days which is a great window of opportunity if you plan on breeding your beloved pet.
How much blood is normal for the dog to lose when on season? This is a great question, but is extremely difficult to answer. It is hard to tell how many milligrams of blood a dog would lose.
One of the reasons for this is that they are constantly cleaning themselves or they lick the blood that has dropped on the floor. Keep in mind though, every dog is different.
Some dogs bleed excessively and some hardly at all, just like the human female cycle.
When your dog is on heat, the chances are high that you will find spots of blood on the ground or the furniture.
A good indicator is how much you find on the ground, but it is usually just spotting. I would be concerned if there were streaks of blood found, pooling or if there was blood running down the dog’s leg and tail.
If you have any concerns at all about the amount of blood lost, then call your veterinarian for advice.
Blood loss could also be a sign of infection, either in the womb or urinary tract.
Never ignore these symptoms thinking that it is just part of the cycle, if there is any doubt in your mind always seek out professional advice. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The Dogs cycle.
A dog will first come on heat (Canine Estrus) generally when they are about 6 months old. But it can vary from 4 months to 18 months old depending on the different breeds and size of your dog.
They will then have a season about twice a year. There are 4 stages of the dog’s cycle.
When a dog comes on heat you will notice blood spots on the ground, if you have never had a female dog and are not prepared, it can be quite alarming, but is it perfectly normal.
It also becomes quite annoying if your pooch loves to sleep on the couch or even worse, your bed.
When any of my dogs came into season, I would put a sheet down on their favorite sleeping spot to help stop the staining.
Believe it or not, you can now get doggy diapers. These will help save your furniture and bedding, but not all dogs like them, and do not think in any way that they are a doggy contraceptive. Here is link for more information on Doggie Diapers.
The 4 stages of Canine Estrus:
1. Proestrus stage.
This stage lasts from 7 – 10 days, you will notice that the dog’s vulva starts to engorge making it look swollen.
This is a good indicator that they are coming on heat, but on some dogs this is not as noticeable as it is in others.
Another indicator is that the dog’s mood could change, two tell-tale signs are that they will either want to be with you constantly or they may even become irritable and moody.
Their appetite may also change, either they will go off their food or some just want to eat more than usual. Another thing to look for is tail tucking, which is a defensive action if they see another dog, especially a male, approaching them.
2. Estrus stage.
This is the stage when your dog has become fertile. This stage lasts between 5 -14 days, and this is when the ovaries starts to release their eggs for fertilization.
Your dog’s blood discharge will also lighten from bright red to a pinkish color.
Your dog will now be more than willing to be around male dogs for a bit of flirting, if you know what I mean.
If she is around a male she will initiate the interest of the male by turning her rear end toward the male dog, an invitation of sorts.
3. Diestrus Stage.
This is when the fertile stage comes to an end and she is no longer producing eggs, also the vulva will decrease back to its normal size.
At this stage all interest in the male dog has diminished considerably, and she will certainly discourage it, so no more flirting.
4. Anestrus stage.
This is the final stage of the cycle, this is called the resting stage, if your dog has not fallen pregnant, this stage will last for 100 to 150 days until the heat cycle resumes.
i). Absent Heat.
This is can happen in a poorly nourished dog, and means exactly what it sounds like, your dog just simply does not come on heat. This can also be caused by certain medications, especially hormone treatments,
ii). Silent Heat.
This is where the bleeding does not occur, and the small signs like swelling of the vulva may be missed by the animal’s owners.
Try to be aware of your dog’s cycle, the fact is that they are still fertile, and male dogs will generally be able to detect that the female is in fact on heat and can get pregnant.
iii). Split Heat.
This occurs when it stops before the 2nd phase of the cycle, it generally is caused because of a hormone imbalance or lack of hormones necessary to induce ovulation.
iv). Prolonged Heat.
This is when after 21 days the dog is still on heat, this can be caused by an ovarian cyst or tumor and is an extremely serious condition. Seek veterinarian advice immediately.
Premature Ovarian failure.
This is when the ovaries either lessen or stop functioning at an early age. Should you have concerns a simple blood test can define the whether it is the cause of ovarian failure.
Blood may also present because of infections, trauma, tumors or blood clotting disorders, and as mentioned before urinary tract infections.
Any dog who has blood coming from her vulva should be checked by a qualified vet, unless she is definitely on heat.
There is also a condition called Pyometra, this is exceptionally serious and can be fatal, it affects a dog in her first month of pregnancy.
This condition is an infection of the uterus with the first noticeable symptom being an unpleasant discharge from the vulva which will include blood.
Basically, this condition causes the cervix to close, which in turn creates a build-up of fluid which cannot be adequately discharged and will become infected.
Sometimes this can be treated with antibiotics, but if it gets to bad then the dog will lose her litter and she will have to be spayed.
Call your veterinarian for advice.
The answer to the initial question of how much blood does a dog lose while on heat is obviously impossible to make.
There can be so many varying factors to take into account, and just like humans, all dogs are not the same.
As I have pointed out there can be so many reasons why your dog may be bleeding, but whatever the reason, you need to be diligent for you dogs sake.
The best thing to do if you feel that the bleeding is excessive is to have a veterinarian check with your trusty companion and make sure you pooch is healthy and happy.
It can be extremely hard work trying to keep excitable male dogs away from your bitch whist she is on heat, so when you commit to owning a dog you need to be responsible in your decision whether or not you want your families four-legged-friend to have a family or not.
If you do not intend for your dog to have a litter of puppies, the best option would be to get her sterilized. This will eliminate any worry that you will have about her coming into season.