The vaginal discharge may change from bloody to a clear or brownish discharge. You may also see your dog move her tail to the side, making herself available to a male dog. This is known as “flagging” and is a sign that she is fertile. These behaviors result from a fluctuation in her hormones.
The first part of your dog’s heat cycle is known as proestrus. This lasts 7-10 d, and your dog may have bloody vaginal discharge. During this stage, she will have a swollen vulva. Your dog will likely show “flagging” and direct tail movements to solicit the attention of a male dog. You may also notice increased frequency of urination.
The second part of your dog’s heat cycle is known as estrus. This stage may last 7-10 d. During this time, you may notice that your dog’s vaginal discharge is more clear or brownish. You may also notice that it is more profuse. She will continue to exhibit “flagging” and will also have a swollen vulva. However, your dog’s behavior will change dramatically at this point. She is far less likely to solicit the attention of male dogs at this time. If two male dogs are in close proximity, you may notice fighting or mounting actions.
The third part of your dog’s heat cycle is known as diestrus. Your dog will have few to no physical signs during this stage. You may also notice that she is less receptive to male dogs. Most often, mating occurs during estrus. However, occasionally, mating may or may not occur during diestrus.
The length of each heat cycle varies, but they average 2-3 weeks, and each dog is different.
You should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if any of the following occurs:
-Your dog experiences a bloody discharge during proestrus or estrus.
-Your dog experiences a discharge that is tinged with blood.
-Your dog experiences anorexia, decreased alertness, or elevated heart rate.
-Your dog develops vaginal fissures or swelling or redness in her vulva or surrounding tissue.
-Your dog is pregnant.