If you are a dog parent for the first time, you’d probably be unaware of how dogs in heat behave. Male dogs are ready from six months to the day they die, anytime ready to mate but what about females? Female unspayed dogs in heat often show physical signs such as bleeding. If the dog in heat is bleeding for three weeks, should you be stressed? The answer is NO! It’s a normal body process, you probably had spayed or male dogs experience before which is putting you to worry.
Let’s dive into details to find out why a dog in heat would bleed for weeks and what can be done to manage it.
Dog’s Reproductive Cycle
First things first, the seasons don’t determine a dog’s heat cycle but the age does. You could probably be finding female dog mating in chilly cold winters or super hot days, it’s just that time of the year where she gets her pleasures. On the other side, male dogs are always ready to breed. They just look for signs that a female doggo gives off, and they’d cross miles just to reach her!
Fun fact, the female dog would hold her tail up to show genitals and let the scent of hers travel. And the male, he’s ready to break chains as long as three miles away just to be with a female who is giving off heat signs. Interesting, no? Well, the canine world is full of surprises.
What is heat?
In simple words, it is the time of the reproductive cycle in a female’s non-spayed dog’s life during which she is fertile. This means the dog can easily get pregnant if she interacts with a male dog. It also means that the dog in heat will be bleeding for weeks and you need to keep the dog and house both clean. If it’s your dog’s first reproductive cycle, I understand why it gets to be so worrisome. But is it something you can control? No! It’s natural.
When does a reproductive cycle begin?
Regardless of gender, as a dog turns six months it enters its reproductive age. An example is a Bulldog that mostly starts to show heat signs by six months of age. The males show promiscuous behavior wanting to be with any female on heat. In comparison, females show swollen genitals and spotting of blood that lasts for weeks. Their body is basically being prepared for implantation of the fetus.
However, this is not true for every dog out there. Some dogs experience it between eighteen to twenty-four months for the first time. This is especially true for large-sized dogs.
So hold your male dog at home or he may in turn make some dog pregnant.
In general, the larger the breed the later it will begin its reproductive cycle.
Moreover, the repetition of the cycle can vary in different dog breeds. Some of the dogs go in heat every four months, others six months and few can even have it only once in a year. An example is of Basenjis and Wolf Hybrids who only go in heat on an annual basis.
Female Dog Heat Cycle
Before we answer if the dog in heat bleeding for three weeks is normal, you need to have a little overview of the female dog’s reproductive cycle.
How long does the dog stay in heat? It lasts for 18-21 days during which several stages occur.
This is the first stage of the reproductive cycle. During this time a female dog’s body is being prepared for mating and actually having babies.
The cycle begins with swelling of the vulva (female genital organ) and bloody discharge that lasts for 9-12 days.
This is also the phase your doggo will be attracting all the handsome lads out there, but the attitude queen won’t let anyone win her over.
You may notice your dog licking herself more than usual to keep clean, she may also be getting irritated, not wanting to eat anything. The poor doggo in the heat wasn’t ready for this.
Now is the time to make love.
By the time a dog reaches this stage, the discharge changes the color to a lighter pink tone and the flow also reduces. The vulva enlarges and softens, now ready for the penetration of the male genital organ. Moreover, in this time ovulation takes place.
Another name for the love-making stage is ‘Standing Still’. Why so? Well, because during this time the female dog in heat, bleeding for three weeks, stays still for the male to breed. This way she shows off her beauty, gives off her scent, actually giving off invitations for males to approach!
How long does this stage last? It lasts anywhere from as few as 3 days to as long as 14 days.
As soon as the Estral stage ends, next begins the Luteal Age. The previously pink discharge quickly changes its color to red and gradually stops, the vulva returns to the normal size and most importantly, the female dog no longer allows any males near her. Time to back off boys!
The phase is 60 days long.
Suppose your dog gets pregnant the gestation period lasts for 63 days and it’s part of the Diestral phase. The dog will give birth to three or more puppies depending on its breed and the fertility of sperms.
How do I know that heat in dogs has come to an end?
In simple words, when all the signs of swelling and discharge eradicate the reproductive cycle indicates its end.
Yes I know, I stated that dogs go off the heat at Diestrual phage, and I mean it. Anestrus is the time span from the end of Diestrus to the beginning of Proestrus/heating season. The phase lasts for 100 to 150 days.
The dog’s body is preparing itself quietly for the next heating season.
And Our cycle completes. Phew!
|Proestrus||9 days||● Swelling of vulva|
● Thick red vaginal bleeding
● Female attracts male dogs.
|Estrus||9 days||● Enlarging and swelling of the vulva|
● Discharge flow decreases and color changes to pink
● Female dog ovulates
● Ready to breed!
|Diestrus||60 days||● The vulva returns to normal|
● Discharge ceases.
● Female no more responds to male dogs.
|Anestrus||100-150 Days||● Body preparing for next heating cycle.|
My dog in heat is bleeding for three weeks. Should I be worried?
We described the dog reproductive cycle so that everyone has a clear idea about what exactly happens during the heating season that normally lasts for 21 days. In some dogs Proestrus, Estrus phase easily totals up to 21 days which are bleeding stages in the reproductive cycle. And if you count three weeks they also total up to 21 days, hence the on and off, red to pink, heavy to light flow are all just part of the process.
A dog in heat usually doesn’t stay at home and wants to go out and mate, she stands still and her genital organs show visible differences. Also, the discharge is from the vulva only. Moreover, the dog will also urinate more often to attract dogs. Urinating to attract dogs, sounds creepy?
In most cases, there is nothing serious to worry about. In other words, your dog in heat bleeding for three weeks is normal.
As mentioned before a lot depends on the type of breed. Ranging from small to large 3-5 week bleeding cycle shouldn’t really put you under stress unless the dog shows additional symptoms. An example is the Bernese Mountain Dog that is large-sized, and compared to others the bloody discharge is secreted for longer, sometimes exceeding three weeks.
Thus, the most common reason for the dog bleeding for weeks is due to heat which is a part of the natural process. But you need to be sure that the dog is in heat otherwise it could indicate a medical emergency.
If you’re still not satisfied, you should definitely consult a vet. There are no second thoughts to that.
Other causes of female dog bleeding for weeks
Diarhhea or UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
Sometimes a few people can confuse bleeding with diarrhea as something coming out of the vagina. Even blood in urine can put people to doubt. The digestive and urinary systems are completely different systems than the reproductive. So, you need to make sure where the bloody tinge is coming from.
Hence, in the cases of bloody diarrhea and UTI, a doctor’s visit is very very important.
In common language, this is an infection of the uterus. Commonly known to occur after the heat cycle is over. Since the WBCs are away from the uterine lining during the heating phase, the infection can grow cysts and become life-threatening.
Excessive bleeding and severe pain make the dog uneasy.
Estrus is the mating phase where a female dog is fertile. Sometimes due to ectopic pregnancy, trauma, or intake of harmful substances like rat poison, a dog can have a miscarriage.
The early placenta that has not yet started specification leaks out as blood.
Dogs aren’t very hygienic, hence they are much more prone to infections. Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina that causes the dog to give off a bloody discharge.
It has more symptoms added to it like frequent and painful urination where the dog scoots her bottom on the floor. However, it is mostly found in older dogs.
Don’t wait for a moment and immediately rush your dog to a vet if you notice signs of any other disease.
How much blood is normal for a dog in heat?
In general, dogs in heat usually bleed for 7 to 10 days. Dog in heat could be bleeding for two to three weeks. During this time the flow is variable from thick to thin consistency until eventually reaching an end.
Most large breed dogs bleed more than the smaller ones.
My female dog is bleeding heavy. What to do?
If you can’t keep the dog clean during all this time and it is getting difficult for you to manage, what can you do?
Here are some tested and well-known tips.
- Do not let the dog outside unsupervised during the Estral phase, she’s likely to attract many males.
- Keep the dogs away from males if you don’t want her pregnant. Or just keep her with the one you have chosen, that’s all.
- Use diapers for dogs in heat to prevent mess around the house. These diapers fix nicely and have space for the tail to pooch out.
- Give plenty of water and keep the dog clean to prevent future infections.
- If it’s very difficult for you to manage, the permanent solution is spaying the dog. This will completely eradicate the chances of all future diseases associated with the reproductive tract.
Why should go to a vet?
A vet will take a detailed history and physical examination to make a diagnosis. Quality, quantity, flow, consistency, and color, everything about the discharge is important for the vet to know.
He will additionally take a swab to rule out signs of any infection of the reproductive tract.
Moreover, ultrasound and CT can help him know if there is any sign of miscarriage or a growing tumor.
In a nutshell, it can be safely concluded that a dog in heat bleeding for three weeks is physiological. If you notice additional signs of dog discomfort that signal you for a vet visit, otherwise your dog is good to go.