When a female dog is in heat, she might experience several symptoms, including crying. With that, you could wonder if she is enduring period cramps like a human. Cramps can be painful for females, and it is natural to think that your dog is dealing with the same issue. Here are a few things that you need to know about dogs and period cramps.
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What Causes Female Menstrual Cramping?
In the female human body, period cramps are caused by the hormonal substance known as prostaglandins. These substances will cause the uterus walls to contract and shed the outer lining, resulting in bleeding.
When there is a higher level of prostaglandins, that is what causes the cramps. While these cramps are painful, they are a natural process when the uterus walls begin to shed.
However, there are plenty of other conditions that can cause cramping, such as tissue lining growing in the uterine walls (adenomyosis), lining forming outside the uterus (endometriosis), pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids, and cervical stenosis.
Cramps In Dogs
Now that you understand the causes of cramps in humans, here is what to know about dogs and periods. Yes, dogs are physically different from their human counterparts, but those same reproduction processes are similar.
When an egg is released and fertilized, it will develop in the uterus, and then you will have a litter of puppies. A female dog’s heat cycle has some of the same signs as a human menstrual cycle.
If you have a female dog, you understand that she might become very uncomfortable during that heat cycle, leading you to think she is experiencing cramps.
While we cannot ask our female dog if she feels pain from cramps, many veterinarians believe that a dog is uncomfortable while in heat. All that pain is not much different from the discomfort of a human cramp during the menstrual cycle. The cramping is often caused by the contraction of uterine walls in a human female, and it is possible that those symptoms could be present in a dog.
However, cramps work differently from a dog due to the fact that a human’s reproductive system is different. In a human female, when she has a period, it is the end of a cycle. The egg was released, not fertilized, and the lining of the uterine was shed for the start of a new menstrual cycle. You could even say that the period cycle in a human is a phase of infertility.
When you compare that to a dog, that period is the first stage of her heat cycle. This cycle is an induction that the female dog is ready to be fertilized and produce offspring.
As previously stated, the leading cause of cramps in humans is the shedding of the uterine lining, but with a dog, she will reabsorb that lining instead of getting rid of it.
Plus, the bleeding in a human female has a primary purpose: to rid the body of that unused uterine lining. However, the bleeding in a female dog results from the estrone hormone that allows those blood vessels to become permeable. Those blood vessels often leak in a process known as diapedesis, which causes the bloody discharge from the dog. With that, the diapedesis is called a passive process, with no spasms or muscle contractions that lead to pain and discomfort.
So if your dog is experiencing discomfort while she is in heat, this could be due to hormonal changes that are not the result of shedding lining like her female human counterparts.
So Why Does My Female Dog Cry?
We associate crying and whimpering with pain, but when your female dog is in heat, those noises could be a “mating call” signal to male dogs. During this time, dogs are more interested in sexual activities to produce offspring. When your dog is in heat, you will hear crying, moaning, and whining. While you might think that is associated with pain, it is part of the mating process. Your female dog is just alerting those potential suitors that she is in her optimal fertility stage and ready to produce puppies.
The Bottom Line
So to answer the question - do dogs get cramps during their periods? While they might experience some cramps, it is not in the traditional sense like those experienced by a female human.
However, since we cannot ask a female dog in heat whether she has cramps, the answer is not always so clear. What you can do during this time, you want to use this stage to help your dog to stay relaxed, calm, and comfortable in her heat cycle.
This is a great time to indulge your dog during her heat cycle so that you can keep her quiet and calm. You might want to buy her a special squeaky toy or let her eat some yummy treats. Don’t forget to spend some one-on-one time to let her know that everything will be okay.
Related: Why Does my Dog Hide Treats
Any female knows that period cramps can be painful and lead to a time of discomfort. While we might want to think that our female dogs are experiencing the same thing, a dog’s reproductive cycle works differently from a human. Her cries of “pain” could be more a mating call than a sign of distress. In any case, during this time, make sure you give plenty of attention to your female dog.
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