What seldom comes to the mind of dog owners is: “Do dogs get cramps on their period?”
Even when they notice discomfort in their pet during this painful time, they often don’t pay enough attention to the estrous cycle itself.
As a dog lover, you should understand all there is to know about a dog’s period, how often it happens, the behavioral pattern of a female dog in heat, and how to manage the pains that accompany it.
Dogs are usually healthy pets, except when they are injured during physical exercise or other events. In any way, your canine companion is most definitely ill during her period as a result of many changes within her system.
Do Dogs Have Periods?
Yes, dogs have periods. Unlike what most dog owners believe, it is not all similar to the one experienced by women.
A dog’s period is called the estrus cycle, or heat cycle, it begins when it is about 6 months old and it occurs once or twice every year. During the female dog heat cycle, the menstrual period makes the creature more receptive and ready to engage in sexual activities. At this stage, there is a higher chance to become pregnant if fertilized.
Your canine companion should be prevented from moving around unsupervised, especially where there are stray male dogs. This prevents a situation where your dog mates with an unsuitable or unhealthy breed, which may lead to accidental pregnancies.
It is exactly during the fertile time when dogs look around for potential suitors to procreate. This is unlike in female humans whose periods are characterized by the removal of an unfertilized egg.
Dogs in heat can sync when they stay close to one another. This occurs because hormone-like substances produced in one dog can stimulate the other ones, leading dogs in the same proximity to have their estrous cycle almost at the same period.
Now that we have established that female dogs have menstrual cycles, do dogs get cramps on their period? Let’s find out.
Do Dogs Get Cramps on Their Period? The Painful Truth
Yes! Dogs do have cramps during their period.
Contrary to the past belief that many animals do not feel pain as humans do, there is now more awareness of pain experienced by animals.
It is now general knowledge that dogs have neurotransmitters and neural pathways relatively similar to men. If humans can experience pain, it is, therefore, safe to say that dogs can too.
The truth of the matter is that pain is real, and it may range from acute to chronic, depending on the parts of the body that are affected (abdominal pain, back pain, muscle or joint pain).
Dysmenorrhea, a painful menstrual period, is common among females. If you doubt it, ask a female human or be around when she menstruates.
Comparing Female Human and Female Dog Periods
The menstrual cycle in female humans aims at eliminating the intestinal lining whereby tissue and blood are shed (end of a reproductive cycle). Prostaglandins are produced, causing contraction of the uterine wall, inflammation, and pain responses.
Despite their similarities with humans, a dog’s period is different. The intestinal linings are absorbed instead of being shed. Estrogen stimulates the permeability of uterine blood vessels, leading to blood discharge (start of a reproductive cycle).
Evidence Seen in a Female Dog on Her Estrus Cycle
The canine estrous cycle is accompanied by several behavioral and physical changes. Such behavioral changes include your dog courting males as she emits pheromones (a hormone-like substance that an animal releases into the environment, affecting the behavior and psychology of other members of its species.)
Your dog appears increasingly vocal, more active, has frequent bathroom breaks, wants more attention, and allows male dogs to lick and sniff.
Female dogs in heat have physical changes, for example, red and swollen vulva, blood discharge from her vagina, and curved back. These are generally good signs that your female is all set to go on a mate search.
Things To Look For When Your Dog Has Cramps
Below is a list of common signs that your dog may be suffering from period pain:
- Lack of appetite for food
- Excessive barking
- Crying and panting
There is no definitive symptom as to when a dog is having cramps but, the above list is a very good starting point to better understand a dog in pain.
How Do You Help Your Dog Ease Her Cramps
If you notice your female dog suffering during the heat stage, finding immediate help should be your priority. Physical exercise can be reduced or stopped during this period, just like humans who decide to not exercise while in pain.
Remove all environmental stress or pressure that might make her agitated, making sure the blinds are drawn to prevent her from seeing strangers approach the house and maintaining a quiet and calm environment.
Extra treats can be given to distract her from the pain. Talking to her calmly and cuddling her is of great importance too.
She should be taken to a Veterinary Doctor for examination and prescription of drugs. To avoid unwanted side effects or adverse reactions, you should never give your dog medication without the directives of a professional.
Humans and dogs are alike in a lot of ways. One of them is in their ability to experience pain during their periods. While the heat cycle in dogs occurs twice a year, it can be accompanied by severe cramping and discomfort. You must help your dog out during this time.
We hope that after reading this guide you not only have the answer to the question “do dogs get cramps during their period?”, but you also have useful information on how to properly handle the situation.
Remember that medications should only be given after the approval of the Veterinary Doctor.