Tue, Dec 19, 2023

My female dog is going through her first heat cycle. She's been bleeding out of her vagina a lot. Tonight I noticed the blood is getting darker. Is this normal?

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Dr. Balsama

During the first stage of the heat cycle, called proestrus, it's common for a female dog to have a bloody vaginal discharge. This stage can last anywhere from 3 to 17 days. The amount of blood can vary from dog to dog; some may have a light spotting, while others may have a heavier flow. The blood during this stage can range in color from bright red to a darker, almost brownish-red hue as the days go by.

As she is on day 4 of her cycle and the blood is getting darker, this could still be within the normal range. However, it's important to monitor the situation for any signs that may indicate a problem. If you notice any of the following, it would be prudent to seek veterinary attention:

- Excessive bleeding that soaks through bedding or diapers quickly
- Signs of pain such as whining or discomfort when urinating
- A foul-smelling discharge or a change in the color of the discharge to green or yellow
- Any signs of systemic illness, like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargic.
- Swelling of the vulva accompanied by signs of pain

Remember, while the heat cycle is a natural process, complications can arise.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to come back to us! Thank you.