There are a few reasons why your male dog may act differently when you are on your period:
Changes in Scent
Dogs have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell, much more so than humans. They can detect very subtle changes in body chemistry and scent. When a woman is menstruating, there are changes in the levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone. This can lead to slight changes in odor that your dog may be able to pick up on.
Your dog may show interest in the scent of your used pads, tampons, or menstrual blood. Don’t be alarmed, they are just gathering information about you through their nose. The changed scent gives them extra information about your physical state.
Some dogs may react to the hormonal shifts associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle. The changes in estrogen and progesterone can affect your mood and behavior. Your dog is very tuned into your emotions and signals. So if you are feeling more irritable, tired, or moody while on your period, your dog may pick up on this change in your normal behavior.
You may notice your male dog being more cautious, submissive, or protective of you when you are menstruating. The hormonal changes may make your behavior slightly less predictable to your dog, so he acts differently in response.
Attraction and Mating Behaviors
Some male dogs exhibit mating behaviors towards women during menstruation. This includes attempts to mount or increased sniffing and licking of genital areas. This is because the blood and discharge give off scents that mimic certain sexual pheromones.
Your dog may pick up on the fact that you are in a reproductive stage of your cycle. For intact male dogs especially, the change in scent can trigger mating instincts. Neutered males may still detect the scent change, though they are less likely to be motivated to mate.
Some male dogs become more protective of female owners during menstruation. This may be due to your dog picking up on the scent changes that signal vulnerability. Your dog may stay closer, follow you more, or act more alert and watchful while you are on your period.
This protectiveness comes from an instinctual place. In the wild, female dogs would be prime targets for predators while in heat or pregnant. Your domesticated dog still feels the need to guard you when you are menstruating.
Here are some tips for dealing with your male dog when you are on your period:
- Keep used menstrual products tucked away and disposed of properly. This removes temptation for your dog.
- Maintain your normal routine as much as possible. Stability and predictability will help your dog relax.
- Give your dog plenty of exercise and playtime. A tired dog is better behaved.
- Reward and praise calm, settled behaviors.
- Correct excessive mounting or crotch-sniffing behaviors firmly.
- Consider confining your dog when you can’t supervise directly.
- Use baby gates, leashes, or crates to manage your dog’s access if needed.
- Be patient! Your dog should adjust to the changes as your cycle progresses.
When to See the Vet
Most male dogs have harmless behavioral responses to a female owner’s period. As long as your dog remains friendly and obedient, it is not a cause for concern.
However, you should consult your vet if your dog shows aggressive possessiveness, excessive mounting, or other problematic behavior changes. Some recommend spaying female dogs and neutering male dogs to reduce these hormonal effects.
Rule out any medical causes if your male dog experiences significant distress or acts intensely different solely during your menstrual cycle. Some conditions like anxiety or neurological issues may show worse symptoms at those times.
It is normal for intact and neutered male dogs to detect and react to the scent changes a woman experiences during her menstrual cycle. They are gathering information and responding instinctually to the shifts in hormones, smell, and behavior that occur during this time.
With patience and proper training, a male dog can learn when responses like mounting or sniffing are unacceptable. Maintaining routines and providing adequate exercise also helps minimize problematic behavior. Overall, try not to take it personally if your loyal pooch acts a little “weird” while you are on your period!