Can a Dog Get Pregnant While Bleeding? Some dog owners believe that when their dog is bleeding, she cannot get pregnant. However, this isn’t always the case. If she is mated, a dog can become pregnant even in the earliest part of her reproductive cycle, when she’s on heat. Let’s take a more in-depth look
What is a Dog’s Reproductive Cycle?
Whether you’ve decided to breed your dog or not, she won’t come into sexual maturity until around she’s around 9 months of age. At that time, she will go into what’s known as an ‘estrus’ cycle, which is made up of four different stages:
- Proestrus (3-17 days)– At the start of the heat period, a dog’s sexual organs will swell, and she may emit a pinkish discharge and owners notice drops of blood on the floor. She’s unlikely to allow any male dogs near her, even if they pick up her scent and try to engage.
- Estrus (3-21 days) – This is the mating phase, where the dog’s discharge changes from blood to a clearer fluid that attracts male dogs. At this point she will want to mate, and dogs from far and wide will pick up her scent to happily oblige.
- Diestrus (60-90 days) – If the dog’s pregnant, then the pregnancy continues, otherwise the sexual organs return to their pre-cycle state. All bleeding and interest in mating will stop.
- Anestrus (90-180 days) – The ‘dormant’ phase of the cycle is the longest, as the dog’s uterus recovers completely from the heat cycle and prepares for the next one.
When is a Dog Most Fertile?
The estrus (second) phase, is the one in which your dog is most fertile. This is when her bleeding has stopped, but her vulva produces a discharge that attracts males.
However, that doesn’t mean that she can’t become pregnant in the proestrus (first) stage. Many owners have made the mistake of thinking their dog can be around males during this stage without incident, and yet mating and then subsequent pregnancies have occurred.
The reason it can be difficult to tell when a dog is most fertile could be that she’s cleaning up after herself very well. Dogs lick themselves to clean their genitals especially when they’re in heat, so the transition between the first two stages of their cycle can be missed.
It could also be the case that she allows a male to mate her even though she’s in the proestrus stage and usually wouldn’t allow such contact. Even though normally she’d growl and snap and tell males to stay away, some females have allowed mating to occur, and then pregnancy has followed.
Not only that, but a dog’s sperm can survive for several days inside a female, so even if estrus hasn’t yet begun, it may begin while the sperm in her uterus is still viable, and can result in a pregnancy.
Don’t Take Chances!
If you don’t want your female to become pregnant, you should be especially careful with her when she’s out of the house at any of the first two stages of her cycle. So, even when she’s bleeding and especially when she’s in estrus, don’t let her off the leash on her walks.
Once her first cycle is over, then she can be spayed by the vet. It’s advised by vets that if you’re not looking to breed your dog, then you should get her spayed so that she isn’t susceptible to uterine and other cancers in non-sterilized dogs.
Most dogs have two ‘heat’ cycles in a year, but not all dogs are the same. Larger dogs such as Irish Wolfhounds will often only have one, for example.