She ran past you when you opened the door, and even though you found her quickly and brought her back inside, you think she may have mated. You know she’s been bleeding, and you are full of questions.
Does bleeding stop after mating? How can you tell if your dog has mated? You love your dog very much, and you have her best interests at heart. Let’s see if we can hash out some answers.
Do dogs bleed after mating?
Your dog’s first heat can show up from 6 months up to 2 years old. The typical cycle is for a dog to come into heat twice a year for 18-24 days.
Look for changes in behavior, restlessness, “clinginess,” and lack of tolerance for other animals. Also, look for her to begin licking her vulva a lot.
The two heat cycles typically happen sometime between January and March and between August and October. The estrus cycle is broken down into four stages. What are they? Let’s look.
Proestrus lasts roughly 9 days during which your dog will typically be bleeding. If you are trying to avoid pregnancy, it can be extremely difficult.
Note that bleeding in female dogs is different from that in women. When a woman bleeds, it’s after her fertile stage, and it means her ova were not fertilized and are being expelled.
In a dog, the bleeding happens before her fertile stage. A given dog begins her estrus cycle and her proestrus stage on day 1. Ovulation can occur anytime between day 3 and day 17 but typically occurs on day 9.
However, it can be very hard to tell when day 1 of the estrus cycle occurs. Depending on how meticulous your dog is about cleaning herself, you may not even notice the blood. Another thing that may make detecting day 1 difficult is that sometimes the “bleeding” or discharge may be pink or yellow instead of red.
She will urinate more, as well. During this time, her urine gives off a certain strong odor that draws in the male dog. Her vulva will swell quite a lot and protrude outward. Generally, the female is not yet interested in the male at all.
After the 10th day or when she stops bleeding, she will be at her peak fertility. However, proestrus has been known to last as long as 27 days in some instances.
Estrus is the fertility stage, and it lasts about 9 days. Now, your female will be receptive to the male. She will even go looking for one and offer herself up, but she won’t have to look far, as every male in town will be on her doorstep. A female in heat has been known to attract males from as far away as 5 miles.
Do dogs bleed after mating? Since she should only bleed for up to 10 days from the beginning of the proestrus stage and mate sometime in the roughly 9 days or so after that, during the estrus stage, the answer to your question is that there is no typical answer. Every dog is different.
Dogs don’t always defer to what humans have decided is normal, and there are many, many exceptions to the rules. Ideally, dogs would stop bleeding on day 9 and start mating on day 10, but nothing is “set in stone.” This is only a typical average, and lots of dogs do not follow this pattern.
Sometimes, dogs mate while bleeding, and they can get pregnant while bleeding. Though it is not that uncommon for a dog to bleed after mating, by this time, the blood should be getting thinner, more watery, and lighter in color.
However, if the bleeding stays red and continues to be heavy or should be accompanied by other symptoms, call a vet post-haste. Read the next section — “Is it normal for dogs to bleed after mating?”
To reiterate, for dogs, bleeding is the beginning, not the end, of their fertile stage, so if she mates within the first 9 days and bleeds lightly afterward, it does not necessarily mean that there is a problem. It only means that you need to keep an eye on her.
It is when she stops bleeding, though, that she is the most fertile and the most likely to get pregnant, but there is a possibility that she will become pregnant up until the end of her season, and the estrus stage has been known to last up to 24 days in some instances.
Diestrus and Anaestrus
Read more about the Diestrus and Anaestrus stages on the East Central Veterinary Hospital website.
Is it normal for dogs to bleed after mating?
While it is not “normal” for a dog to bleed for the first several days after mating, neither is it all that abnormal. No dog is the same, but most dogs only bleed for the first 9 days of their estrus cycle.
So, if your dog has mated and 10 days or 2 weeks have passed, and your dog is still bleeding, you should call your vet immediately to avoid letting a serious, even grave condition continue to worsen. These are two health conditions that can cause your dog to bleed after mating.
What is Pyometra?
Pyometra is an infection secondary to hormonal changes in a female dog’s reproductive tract. After heat, progesterone stays elevated for up to 2 months. This thickens the lining of the uterus to prepare for pregnancy.
If she doesn’t get pregnant during several estrus cycles in a row, the lining of the uterus continues to thicken until cysts form. This is called cystic endometrial hyperplasia. The cystic lining then secretes fluids creating an environment that’s ideal for bacterial growth.
To add to it, the muscles now can’t contract properly either since the uterine wall has thickened or since the levels of progesterone are so high, so the bacteria that enter the uterus are trapped there.
During heat, the white blood cells that would typically protect her from infection cannot get into the uterus. Sperm, then, are able to do their job without roadblocks. All these factors can leave her plagued with a life-threatening infection.
Pyometra occurs in older dogs more than others but can also occur in any dog that is young to middle-aged and sexually intact. If your dog has gone through years of estrus cycles without getting pregnant, her uterine wall has undergone changes — ones that can promote pyometra, which typically occurs 2 weeks to 2 months after the last heat cycle.
What are the symptoms of Pyometra?
The clinical signs will vary depending upon whether the cervix is open or closed. Here are the signs.
If the cervix is open…
If the cervix is open, the uterus will leak pus or an atypical discharge through the vagina. This substance is then seen on the hair or skin under the tail, or on her bedding, even on furniture where she has lain. You may also notice depression, fever, lethargy, anorexia, and increased thirst.
If the cervix is closed…
If the cervix is closed, this pus cannot drain and is trapped inside. It pools in the uterus causing a distended abdomen. Toxins are then released by the bacteria and then absorbed into the bloodstream.
Though they may show the same signs as if their cervix is open, the onset will be very rapid and the severity will be extreme. You can also add vomiting and diarrhea to these symptoms.
How is Pyometra diagnosed?
Early on, a light vaginal discharge will be the only detectable symptom. If you start noticing, though, that your dog is drinking a lot and was recently in her estrus cycle, you may want to start looking diligently for signs of pyometra, like an enlarged, tender abdomen or others. If you see the signs, it’s time to see a vet immediately.
Your vet would do an examination and bloodwork immediately. Pyometra would reveal a gravely high white blood cell count and a rise in proteins associated with the body’s immune system. He would also do a urine test, though a urine test would only be able to tell him whether you have a major bacterial infection on your hands and not which one.
With a closed cervix, abdominal x-rays will usually show an enlarged uterus. With an open cervix, the uterine enlargement will be so minimal that the x-rays will reveal results that are inconclusive.
Ultrasounds can help identify an enlarged uterus and differentiate it from a typical pregnancy. Changes in a pattern with ultrasounds that could point to pyometra are thickened uterine walls, increased uterine size, and fluid retention within the uterus.
How is Pyometra treated?
The treatment option used almost exclusively is that of spaying (Ovariohysterectomy). It can be a bit more complicated than that of a routine spay, though, due to the fact that most dogs are quite ill before they are diagnosed. Antibiotics are administered for around 2 weeks after surgery.
What is a uterine tumor?
A uterine tumor is a tumor that stems from the dysfunctional, uninhibited growth of one of the cell types that make up the uterus. These cell types include skin cells (epithelium), smooth muscle, and glandular tissue.
Benign tumors, or non-cancerous tumors, are called leiomyomas, and cancerous tumors are called leiomyoarcomas. Both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors grow from muscle cells.
Squamous cell carcinomas grow from skin, or epithelial, cells. Adenocarcinomas grow from uterine glandular tissue. Uterine tumors are rare in dogs, however, and are usually benign, if found.
What are the symptoms of a uterine tumor?
Symptoms to look for are vaginal discharge, tender abdomen, pus in the uterus, difficulty urinating, constipation, lack of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, lethargy, urinating more often, and drinking more often.
How is a uterine tumor diagnosed?
Tumors are usually diagnosed with an examination by a vet along with bloodwork. When the bloodwork comes back revealing abnormalities like elevated calcium and estrogen levels, x-rays and ultrasounds are ordered eventually revealing the tumors.
How is a uterine tumor treated?
The treatment option used almost exclusively is that of spaying (Ovariohysterectomy).
How long do dogs bleed after mating?
In an ideal situation where everything goes just as it is “supposed to” according to all the latest science, a dog should not bleed after mating because she wouldn’t mate until after the 9th day of her proestrus stage or the 1st day of her estrus stage, and by then, her bleeding should subside.
However, that is only what happens to the average dog. Many dogs are not average and are in situations where they are able to mate during the first week, either because they are strays, because they got loose, or just because this is when they chose to mate. In these cases, the female may continue to bleed at least a little for a few days.
First, her hormones will be the controlling factor, and second, whatever was left in the uterus from before mating will still have to find its way to the outside, which means another day or two of discharge anyway. The bleeding, at any rate, should lighten and lighten up quickly, as in within days.
How can you tell if a female dog has mated?
You are wondering now whether there is some way to tell if your dog has mated. Here are a few signs.
These are signs that your dog has mated.
Signs of mating in a female are giving off a strong smell that is different from just “heat,” keeping her distance, lying or walking strangely, being unusually quiet, licking her genitals, and acting calmer and not as frantic.
These are signs that your dog is pregnant.
Signs of pregnancy are weight gain, increased appetite, enlarged nipples, growing belly, tiring easily, irritability, acting affectionate, and nesting. Some dogs may experience vomiting and decreased appetite in the first weeks due to hormone changes.