How much blood is actually normal for a dog in heat?
If you have a bitch and she is not spayed, this question is likely to be asked of you.
I know I certainly wondered this since my Rottweiler Amalia bleeds heavily when in heat.
Not only is it quite uncomfortable for you as an owner and for your dog (many change their behavior during the heat), there is also an amount of blood in which you probably think it exceeds all reasonable limits.
I’ve researched a lot when it comes to blood loss during a bitch’s heat to find out how to deal with my dog’s heavy bleeding and finally found a solution, more on that below.
While I haven’t been able to define any scientific studies in nature of how much blood, down to the last drop, is reasonable, there are ways you can compare your dog to an average, healthy female bitch.
How much blood is normal for a dog in heat
The amount of normal blood in heat is completely dependent on your dog’s cycle, but most dogs are somewhere between lightly dripping when standing up and covering the entire floor with bloodstains over the course of a day for over a week.
Usually, there is nothing to worry about if your bitch appears to be bleeding.
However, if you still want to know if your dog is bleeding too much, there are a few ways to tell.
Beware that since you have no way of knowing exactly how much is accumulating here and there, it is not an exact science and how long it goes on is also essential.
These are the signs that your dog’s bleeding in heat may not be normal:
- Prolonged bleeding for over 2 weeks
- Sudden, huge increase in blood loss
- Blood streaks on furniture, floors, also visible on the outside
- Irregularities between thermal cycles
- Lethargic or nervous behavior
- Vomit from licking too much blood
Dogs generally don’t bleed a lot when they are in heat, so if you are concerned, ask your vet and explain the situation in detail.
My dog is more the type for blood stains all over the floor, but it’s just that, stains, not huge stains.
It is completely normal for your dog to lose blood from the heat when standing up, especially if he has been on the floor for more than a couple of minutes.
Even blood on his bed (or better yet, a heat-washable blanket) after a good night’s sleep is not a cause for concern.
We’ll explore more what heavy dog owners should pay attention to (as my Rottie probably is).
My female dog is bleeding heavily
If your dog is bleeding a lot, you should check if the bleeding stops with the end of the heat cycle and if it is prolonged or the bleeding is extreme, consult a veterinarian for the risk of ovarian cysts and pyometra.
Ovarian cysts and pyometra can be quite serious medical conditions and require quick action.
It is not normal for your dog to have a heavy period, but it is definitely possible.
You should be worried if previous heat cycles were nearly bloodless and now it looks like a slaughter has taken place in your home.
A quick chat with your vet should clear things up. But the following questions have bothered me in the past.
Why does my dog bleed a lot during his heat?
There is no known specific reason why your dog bleeds heavily compared to other dogs and it differs from individual to individual.
I’d like to tell you it’s about breed, age, diet or whatever, but there is no known number one determinant of whether or not your bitch is bleeding badly.
If you want to control damage, dog diapers are probably the best way to go.
Also, a full blood test could be money well spent to find out if your dog’s bleeding is actually related to something more serious.
A small side note: spayed dogs do not suffer from heat, so no bleeding should occur if this applies to your dog.
Can a dog bleed for more than 10 days?
Yes, dogs can definitely bleed for more than 10 days, for up to 14 days, more than that will require a visit to the vet as a female dog bleeding for 2+ weeks is very unusual.
I monitored a couple of my dog’s heat cycles and his bleeding usually lasts from 8 to 13 days if you count the days with very light red spots until bloody discharge at the end.
In the early and late stages of a bitch’s heat, it usually drips blood, but if your dog is bleeding heavily for more than 10 days, the alarm bell may sound.
Do dogs bleed for 3 weeks?
A dog that has been bleeding for 3 weeks or more is extremely rare and after 2 weeks you should see a vet to rule out medical problems.
Heat cycles are only around 21 days in total, and dogs don’t bleed from start to finish, so your bitch definitely bleeds too long if you’ve crossed that threshold.
Sometimes, what we still think is that the dog’s blood is just a discharge and that it could very well stretch up to two weeks if you count the times the very clear red blood starts already.
How do you know when a dog heat is over?
A dog’s heat ceases as soon as all secretions cease, the swelling returns and usually your dog’s behavior will also change slightly (e.g. don’t look for male dogs, less panting, non-swollen mammary glands).
Male dogs will be less anxious about your female, but your dog is still not safe.
Since the highlight for pregnancy is over, you should still take precautions like keeping your dog on a leash and supervising him with non-neutered males (if you let them interact at all) for a solid buffer after the period appears to be over.
Did you know: Riding without a tie can still lead to pregnancy.
My dog is in heat and continues to lick himself
It’s perfectly fine for your dog in heat to lick himself and actually keep her clean.
As mentioned above, it only becomes a problem if your dog is feeling sick or is even vomiting from taking too much blood.
Dogs usually clean themselves after lying down, getting up, peeing, sometimes after eating or just after a general grooming session.
If your dog neurotically returns to the same spot again and again, it can actually make his region around the back red and itchy.
Seeing a vet should be the first step in ruling out medical conditions or something that is physically wrong (fungus, fleas, dry skin, etc.)
If your dog is bleeding a lot during periods, try introducing a dog diaper as this will automatically prevent her from licking herself apart from the time between diaper changes.