One of the questions that tend to come up frequently in dog forums is as to whether dogs get period cramps. From this article, you will get to know whether dogs get period cramps, and if yes, what you can do about them.
Do dogs get period cramps? The answer is ‘yes’. Some female dogs do seem to experience cramps and other forms of great discomfort during their heat cycles. If your dog has cramps during the heat cycles, you can provide some relief through massages, cold packs (or hot packs) and perhaps anti-inflammatory medications.
Right from the outset, it is important to point out that dogs don’t experience menstrual cycles that are similar to the ones experienced by humans. But instead of dog periods, they do experience ‘heat cycles’ – typically once or twice per year.
Thus the do dogs get period cramps question can be better framed as ‘do dogs get cramps during their heat cycles’? And the answer is that at least some of them do.
In humans, period cramps are due to uterine contractions. These contractions often cause the uterus to press strongly against the vessels that are supposed to supply it with blood.
Due to this pressure, the vessels are unable to deliver blood to the uterus (for brief periods of time). Lack of blood supply in turn translates into lack of oxygen, which is what leads to cramps and discomfort.
In dogs, it would seem that there are also changes in the uterus during the estrus (heat cycle) periods. And it is on account of these that dogs may experience what may be described as ‘period cramps’.
Can Dogs Get Periods?
In answering the do dogs get period cramps questions, the most ideal place to start would be by first finding out whether dogs can have periods.
So, indeed, do dogs get periods? The simple answer is ‘yes’. Dogs do have times when they get bloody vaginal discharges. These are usually in the course of their heat cycles.
At the start of the heat cycle, the dog may have a bloody discharge that is bright in color. Then as time progresses, it turns pinkish, before disappearing altogether.
Thus when a person asks, do dogs have periods, the simple answer is ‘yes’.
But in answering the do female dogs have periods question, it is important to mention that the bloody discharge dogs get during heat cycles is not actually menstrual flow.
That is a very key fact to point out, when addressing the does female dogs have a period question.
If by ‘period’ one means menstrual flow, then the answer to the do female dogs get periods question becomes different.
The bloody discharge that dogs get during their heat cycle is not menstrual flow. But it is still a bloody discharge…
Ultimately, the most important thing is to understand what the person posing the does dogs have period question is seeking to establish.
In one case, you may find someone asking, can dogs have a period with a view to establish whether dogs can have periodical bloody discharges. In that case, the answer to the can dogs get their period question is ‘yes’.
But in another case, you may find someone asking, do dogs get a period with a view to specifically establish whether dogs have menstrual periods. In that case, the answer to the do dogs have a period question is obviously different.
When Do Dogs Have Their Period?
Another aspect we need to gain insight into, before proceeding to answer the do dogs get period cramps question, is that of when the dogs get their periods.
Now earlier, in answering the can dogs get a period question, we saw that they do indeed have times when they get bloody vaginal discharges.
So, in that regard, we can say that the answer to the can female dogs get periods question is ‘yes’. But this subject of dogs and periods is complicated.
What makes it complex is the fact that whereas dogs do at times get bloody vaginal discharges, the blood therein is not actually menstrual flow.
That is what brings a layer of complexity, in answering the do female dogs get a period question.
Even if one were to frame it as, do girl dogs have periods, that complexity would persist…
Nonetheless, in answering that question (on dog have periods), the simple – as we saw – is ‘yes’. They do at times get bloody vaginal discharges.
This leads to other questions, key among them being, when do female dogs get their period.
There are two dimensions to look at, in answering this question (on when do female dogs get periods).
The first aspect is that of at what times the dogs have their periods. So the focus here is on when the female dog period occurs. And the other aspect is of what age do female dogs get period.
With regard to exactly when do dogs get their period, the answer is during their heat cycles.
With regard to when do dogs get period (age-wise), the answer is ‘once they attain sexual maturity’. This can be as young as 4-6 months for small dog breeds. And it can be as old as 2 years for big dog breeds.
What Are Female Dog Period Symptoms?
Another key pillar in answering the do dogs get period cramps question is that of finding out what the female dog period symptoms are like.
It wouldn’t make sense to proceed to answer the do dogs have period cramps question without first exploring this.
We first need to find out, do dogs get period symptoms? Only then can we dig deeper, to find out, do dogs get cramps from period?
Now a female dog in period (during the heat cycle) will normally have vulva swelling. Thus if you were wondering, do dogs vulva swell when on period, now you know that the answer is ‘yes’.
There will also be vaginal discharge, which is initially bright blood, then it turns pinkish.
The dog will be more receptive to males. And it may be rather nervous with signs of constant distraction. The dog will also tend to urinate more. And there may be appetite changes.
Further, the dog in period may either become emotionally clingy, or want to be left alone.
Here, one may ask, do dog periods hurt? For instance, can dogs get period pain? And the answer is ‘yes’ – some dogs do seem to experience great discomfort over the course of their heat cycles.
Do dogs get period poops? While there doesn’t seem to be much literature on this, what we know for sure is that dogs do at least experience more than usual urination during their heat cycles.
And do dogs get period cravings? The answer is that there are appetite changes during the heat cycles. And indeed, some dogs may crave for certain things more during these times.
With this background information, we can now proceed to answer deeper questions like, do dogs get cramps when they re on their period?
Do Dogs Get Period Cramps?
Earlier, we saw that what dogs get are heat cycles, rather than menstrual periods akin to those of humans.
Thus, the most ideal way to frame this question is, do dogs in heat get cramps? That is more accurate than asking, do dogs get cramps on their periods?
Otherwise the does dogs get period cramps question is not very accurate. It is similar to asking, can dogs get period pain? Or do dogs get menstrual pain?
It becomes tricky to answer the question along those lines: seeing that, strictly speaking, dogs don’t have menstrual cycles, but rather heat cycles.
Nonetheless, does female dogs get cramps during their heat cycles? Or if one insists on the previous line of questioning, do dogs get cramps when they’re on their period?
Do girl dogs get period cramps? Or generally, do female dogs get period cramps?
The simple answer is ‘yes’—at least some dogs do seem to experience cramps during their heat cycles.
Thus, if someone asks you, do dogs get cramps during period, this would be the simplest and most ideal answer to give.
Here someone asks, do female dogs get cramps when they have their period? And the answer is ‘yes’. But we then quickly clarify that what the dogs experience are heat cycles, rather than menstrual cycles.
In a way of speaking, the heat cycles are the menstrual period for dogs.
These are specifically uterine cramps. If one were to ask, do dogs get cramps in their legs during their heat cycles, that would be an entirely new dimension…
But in general terms, do dogs feel pain during period? We find that the answer is ‘yes’ – at least some of them do.
And that is also the basic answer to the do dogs get period cramps question.
How Do Dogs Get Period Cramps?
In answering the do dogs get period cramps question, we have seen that some female dogs do at least seem to experience pain akin to that from cramps during their heat cycles.
This may require us to sink deeper, and find out, how do dogs get period cramps?
And the answer is that when dogs get their period cramps, it is likely due to uterine changes that take place during the heat cycles.
Thus if someone were to ask, why do dogs have menstrual cramps, the answer would be along these lines.
That is similar to if someone were to ask, why do female dogs get cramps during their period? The simple answer would be that the dogs have the cramps due to the uterine changes that take place during the heat cycles.
In all this though, it is important to keep on pointing out that what dogs experience are not menstrual cycles, like those of humans. They are heat cycles.
All in all, in answering the why do dogs cramp on their period, it is essential to mention the uterine changes factor. So during the heat cycle, there are uterine changes, which ultimately bring about the cramping.
How Can You Tell That A Dog Has Period Cramps?
Right after the do dogs get period cramps question typically comes this one: on how to know if your dog has period cramps.
So far, we have established that at least some dogs do experience great discomfort during their heat cycles. So that is the answer to the do female dogs suffer from period pain question.
Similarly, we have established that the answer to the do dogs get cramps when they get their period question is ‘yes’ – at least in some cases.
What follows then is a question on how to tell if a dog has period cramps.
And the answer is that a dog experiencing heat cycle cramps will tend to twitch excessively. The dog may even get to a point of shaking with pain. It will also tend to pant more than usual, and may show unusual aggressiveness.
Sometimes, the cramps are so bad that the dog actually sheds tears.
Still in answering the do dogs get cramps during their period question, it is important to point out that this cramping only seems to affect some dogs.
Do dogs get cramps when on their period? The answer is yes. But do dogs get cramps on period all the time? The answer is ‘no’. Can dogs have their period without actually getting cramps? The answer is yes.
There are many dogs that go through their heat cycles without showing any major sign of discomfort.
Thus the answer to the do dogs feel pain on their period question is ‘sometimes yes, sometimes no’.
Or to put it differently, can dogs have periods that are pain-free? The answer is ‘yes’. That is a possibility.
But when a dog has period cramps, there may be twitching, unusual aggressiveness, shaking and even crying.
How Long Do Dog Period Cramps Last?
So far, we have answered the do dogs get period cramps question. It has become clear that at least some dogs do experience cramps during their heat cycles.
That then leads to other questions like, how long do dogs periods last? How much do dogs get their period? And do dogs get period every month?
Now with regard to how long dog periods (heat cycles) last, the answer is typically between 2 and 4 weeks.
So that is the answer to the how long does female dogs get periods for question.
And with regard to whether they get the period every month, the answer is, thankfully no. Most dogs only have two heat cycles per year. Some actually only have one heat cycle per year.
In all this, it is important to remember what we said while answering the do girl dogs get period cramps all the time question. Then we noted that not all dogs experience cramps during their periods.
In fact, if you dig deeper on how do dogs get periods or how do dogs feel on their period, you notice that most dogs don’t seem to experience these cramps.
Thus the answer to the do dogs get cramps when they have their period question is ‘sometimes – but not all the time’. That is also the answer to the do dogs get period pains always question.
And even when the dogs have such cramps, they will last only as long as the heat cycles. That is normally between 2 and 4 weeks, once or twice per year.
What To Do When My Dog Is On Her Period?
Sometimes, right after the do dogs get period cramps question comes this one: on what to do when one’s dog is on period.
Earlier, in answering the do female dogs have period pain question, we saw that it does happen in some cases.
That is also the answer to the does dogs have period cramps question. So the answer is that it happens in some cases.
Then we dug deeper, to answer the why do dogs get cramps when they have their period question.
In answering that question (on why do female dogs have cramps on their periods), we saw that it is largely due to uterine changes that occur during the heat cycles.
All that is what then leads to this other question: on what to do when female dog gets period.
So this is essentially a question on what helps dogs on their period.
Now one key thing to do, when your dog is in her heat cycle, is to ensure that she doesn’t get a chance to mate with a male dog. That is unless you wish to breed her.
Remember, even a brief encounter at the park during the daily walk would be enough to get the dog pregnant.
Can dog have periods without actually ovulating? That is unlikely. Therefore when a dog is on a heat cycle, she is likely fertile, and can easily get pregnant even from the most casual of encounters with a male.
So you may need to keep the dog indoors for this period. If you have to get her out, you may need to have her on a leash all the time.
To deal with the discharges the dog has during the period, you can use diapers.
What Can I Give My Dog For Period Cramps?
Many of the people who pose the do dogs get period cramps question have an interest in knowing what they can use for dog period relief.
That really is the genesis of this question on what can I give my female dog for cramps. So the challenge is on how to relieve dog period cramps.
Remember what we said, while answering the do dogs cramp when they’re on their period? Then (in answering the do dogs get cramps on their periods question), we saw the answer is ‘yes’.
More specifically, in answering the can dogs get cramps on their period question, we established that it does happen. At least in some cases.
That was the main emphasis, in answering the do dogs have cramps when they re on their period question.
So while responding to the can dogs get period cramps query, we saw that it does happen at times.
Now one thing you may give to a dog that is having period cramps is a relaxing massage.
Another thing you can give to a dog that is having period cramps is a cold pack. But in some cases, what may be necessary is a warm pack.
If the pain seems to be truly excruciating, you should consult your vet. The vet may then prescribe meds, including anti-inflammatories, which are quite effective at relieving the cramps pain.
Remember, while exploring the how do dogs cramp when on period subject, we saw that it is due to uterine changes. Those are changes that take place in the uterus during the heat cycles.
Against that background, the measures outlined above may be effective at pain relief.
When Should Dog Period Cramps Be Cause For Concern?
In many cases, the people who pose the do dogs get period cramps question tend to be folks who are already worried.
Nonetheless, when should dog period cramps be cause for concern?
To answer, we need to make reference to the answer we gave to the how do dogs get cramps on their period question.
We saw that these cramps are due to the changes that take place in the dogs’ uteruses during the heat cycles.
So what makes the female dog have menstrual period (or something akin to it) is the heat cycle.
And with regard to why do dogs have cramps on their period, the answer is something to do with the changes in the uterus that occur during the heat cycle.
That is the simplest answer to the why do female dogs get cramps on their period.
And with that background information, we can proceed to answer the question on when to get worried about the cramps.
Now the first situation in which the cramps should be very worrisome is when they seem to be extremely painful.
And the second situation in which the cramps should be very worrisome is when they persist for too long.
In such situations, veterinary attention is necessary.
Remember, what may look like period cramps may actually be a life threatening uterine infection or something else.
Therefore if the apparent dog period cramps are too excruciating or too persistent, it is best to consult your vet.
Final Verdict – Do Dogs Get Period Cramps
Some female dogs do get cramps during their heat cycles. The cramps are apparently due to the changes that happen in the dogs’ uteruses during the heat cycles.
In most cases, dogs have one or two heat cycles per year. So that is also how often the period cramps may occur. But it is worth noting that not all dogs have these ‘period cramps’ in all heat cycles.
There are some dogs that never experience these cramps. And there are those that may experience them in certain heat cycles, while going through other heat cycles without experiencing them.
In the cases where the dogs experience the period cramps, symptoms may include twitching, unusual aggression, shaking or even crying out in pain.
You can help a dog that is experiencing period cramps through a relaxing massage. Cold or warm packs can also be useful.
If the cramps seem to be particularly bad, you can consult a vet, who may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or something else to relieve the pain.
In all cases, if the dog period cramps are very excruciating or they go on for too long, it is essential to consult a vet.