Do Dogs Get Period Cramps

By Aviram K.
March 19, 2021
4 min read
Do Dogs Get Period Cramps
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.
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People know that a woman’s period can be a very uncomfortable experience. It is also well known that unspayed dogs will still experience periods. But do they actually get period cramps as female humans do?

In general, the symptoms of a dog period are very similar to those of a human. Those symptoms can include nausea, pain, cramping, and more. During a period, a dog experiences a change in hormone levels that can cause that discomfort. Often the dog will vocalize their pain.

This article will focus on what it is like for a dog to experience period cramps. I’ve laid out the basics of what causes period cramps in general and how a dog and a human’s period are the same and different. Finally, I go over how you can help your dog during her period.

What Causes Period Cramps in Humans?

One of the main barriers to understanding any kind of pain in dogs is lack of communication. Since dogs cannot speak our language to describe their period cramps, we will have to use the human experience as a starting point for our understanding.

Medical professionals believe that period cramps come from an excessive build-up of prostaglandins, which are compounds similar to hormones that help release the uterine lining during a period.

Those compounds are a necessary part of a period, but when there are too many, they can cause some discomfort. An excess of prostaglandins can lead to a reduction in blood flow to the uterus and can cause strong contractions. Those contractions naturally lead to some level of pain.

For some women, the pain from these cramps can be excruciating. For others, the pain will be mild. It is hard to predict what kind of pain a woman will experience during her period, but a few factors may make matters worse.

For example, studies suggest that those with inflammation and those who smoke and drink are more likely to feel period pain. Otherwise, there may be a genetic component as well.

Do Dogs Experience Their Periods in the Same Way as Humans?

While dogs and humans both have periods, there are some notable differences between them. The most significant discrepancy is the length of human and dog periods.

A dog’s period is also called heat. In contrast to a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, a heat cycle can last for several weeks. During that time, the female dog will express different behaviors and show some physical changes as well.

The female dog in heat may attempt to initiate sexual intercourse with male dogs nearby. She will also show a discharge of blood during that time. During heat, it is more likely that the dog can become pregnant. This is especially true during the first and second weeks of heat.


How You Can Help Your Dog During Her Period

Now that you know how extensive and uncomfortable a dog’s period can be, you’ll likely want to know if there is anything you can do to help your pet during that time.

Fortunately for you and her, I have a few tips that you can use to ensure your dog is as comfortable as possible during its next heat cycle.

Give Your Dog Space and Attention

The best thing you can do for a dog in heat is to give them space where they can relax. By now, you likely know where your dog likes to lie down and rest. So, make sure that space is open and available to her.

Along with needing a distinct space, your dog may want to spend more time with you as well. During heat, she is experiencing a change in hormones that will affect her mood and behavior.

Often that emotional change results in a need for more physical affection in the form of cuddling. Be ready to snuggle and console your dog, especially if it is their first heat.

Be Ready for Clean Up

During heat, you can expect to do a lot more cleaning up than usual. Much like during a human period, a dog in heat will experience a bloody discharge from its genitals.

When that discharge arrives, be prepared to clean it up calmly. At this time, you’ll also be wise to give your dog more potty breaks outside. This can eliminate some of the clean-up you need to do.

You should also ensure that your dog is well hydrated during their heat by making sure they drink enough water. That extra water can lead to more bathroom breaks as well.

Consider a Diaper

If you are struggling to keep up with the mess your dog makes during their period, you can use some other tactics.

One of the most valuable items to have during a dog’s heat is a dog diaper.

Dog diapers come in reusable and disposable versions and help contain the mess your dog makes during their heat. Just make sure that the diaper you choose fits comfortably on your pet.

As a good choice for a diaper, I recommend getting the Paw Inspired Disposable Dog Diapers for Female Dogs. It is leak-proof and is equipped with a technology to convert urine into gel for a less messy experience.

Avoid Male Dogs

If your dog in heat is not ready for puppies, you should do your best to keep her away from any male dogs.

When a female dog is in heat, the male dogs nearby can sense it. They will likely feel drawn to the female in heat with the goal of sexual intercourse.


Although it might be hard to imagine for some, the cramps that a woman may feel during a period are similar to those that can arise in dogs. The same hormonal changes that cause cramps can also cause significant behavior changes for a dog in heat.

To prepare for such discomfort, a good owner will make life as easy as possible for their dog in heat. If you’re facing such a situation, use the guidance in this article to better understand what your dog is going through and how you can help.


Dog Heat

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Aviram K.

Aviram K.

Dog Behaviorist & Trainer

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