When your dog is in heat, she is likely to show a different set of behaviors. These include a swollen vulva, bloody discharge, and increased interest in male dogs.
However, this doesn’t mean that she is pregnant. There are other health issues that may come up during a heat cycle, so always consult your vet if she is showing signs of any of these.
Swelling of the Vulva
When your dog is in heat, her vulva will become red and swollen, and a pink or clear discharge will leak out. This is a normal part of her heat cycle and she will go through this twice a year for about 3-4 weeks.
The vulva is an external female genital organ and opens into the vestibule, which leads to the vagina. The vulva also connects with the urethra, which drains the bladder.
Your dog’s vulva may swell during her heat cycle for several reasons. Some of them are minor and do not need immediate attention, while others could lead to more serious health problems.
A swollen vulva can be the result of an infection, which is often caused by bacteria or other microorganisms. Symptoms include discharge, itching, bleeding, and your dog licking her vulva.
When a dog is in heat, she may bleed more than usual. This bleeding is completely normal and not something that should cause you to worry, but if it continues or gets too heavy, see your vet.
Female dogs go through a cycle of heat that lasts up to three weeks on average and is also known as the estrus phase. During this time, she will be receptive to males and will spot as a way of marking her readiness for mating.
While the vulva is normally a pink color, it can become red or swollen during her heat cycle. This swelling can be accompanied by a bloody discharge that ranges in color from clear to pink and eventually turns dark brown.
Slight Change in Behavior
When a dog enters her heat cycle, she will exhibit a slight change in behavior. During this time, she may become less attentive to her owners and more receptive to male dogs who want to mate.
Her vulva swells and becomes red or pink in color, and her nipples may sag and become sensitive. Her level of thirst and rate of urination also increase.
Females in heat will also lick themselves more often, especially around their private parts. They will also wag their tail more often in an effort to wave her scent in the direction of a male dog who might be interested in mingling with her.
The first stage of the heat cycle is proestrus, which lasts between 3 and 17 days. During this phase, your dog may be anxious and disoriented.
Change in Appetite
When a dog is in heat, she will have increased levels of hormones from her endocrine system that cause a wide range of physical and behavioral changes. These hormonal fluctuations can also affect your dog’s appetite and make her want to eat less.
In many cases, a dog that is usually hungry may suddenly be skipping her meals or becoming extremely picky about food. This is a normal change that can happen with any dog during times of stress and is probably a sign that she’s in heat.
A dog’s vulva will begin to swell and she’ll start urinating more frequently. She’ll also have a pheromone scent that she uses to attract male dogs.