Have you noticed that your dog is attracted to your period blood?
Do they lick and sniff at your crotch or panties after you wear them?
Why do they do this?
Let’s find out…
Why Does Your Dog Lick Your Period Blood?
Your dog licks your period blood because they are attracted to the smell of it. They find it attractive either as a potential food source or as something interesting that they want to investigate out of natural curiosity.
Now, let’s look in more detail at why your dog likes to lick the blood from your periods.
- They are attracted to the smell of your period.
- The dog’s scavenging instincts are at play.
- They are investigating.
- They are stressed or sick.
- You have accidentally encouraged this behavior.
- They are making sure you are OK.
- Your dog is grooming you.
- Canine behavior – It’s complicated!
1. They are Attracted to the Smell of Your Period
Your dog has an incredibly powerful sense of smell, especially compared to a human’s.
Dogs use their sense of smell much more than humans when exploring and understanding the world around them.
Canine noses can pick up many scents that humans can’t. They can also smell scents at much lower levels than humans.
When you are on your period, even if you can’t smell anything different, your dog very likely can, which could explain the licking.
A note about pheromones – There is a suggestion that women release pheromones from their skin during their periods, and the dogs are attracted to them.
However, as this study shows, that claim is very much disputed by scientists, so you should probably take any such idea with a pinch of salt.
2. The Dog’s Scavenging Instincts are at Play
Dogs have evolved from an ancient wolf species (more on this later).
Those canid ancestors would have hunted and scavenged for meat. If there were a dead animal or a trail of blood, the wolves would have been strongly driven by the scent.
So the smell of blood is still attractive to your dog even though they get well-fed without the need for hunting or scavenging.
While it may seem gross to us humans, to a dog, the smell of period blood could smell like a nice tasty snack.
3. They are Investigating
Dogs explore the world using their mouths.
So your dog may just be licking some of your period blood out of natural curiosity. It might just be that simple.
While it is fun to try and understand what dogs do, sometimes it is important to ensure they are OK and not putting themselves at risk.
Sometimes the right thing to do is just let dogs be dogs and let them do what dogs do, even if that includes licking the blood from your periods!
4. They are Stressed or Sick
Sadly our pet dogs can’t talk to us, but they can communicate in other ways, including licking, nuzzling, and nibbling.
Also, dogs can lick people, other dogs, or random household items when sick or stressed as a way of self-soothing.
If you think about it in the same way that some people bite their nails when they are nervous, it should make sense that your dog might do something similar.
If your pooch shows any signs of emotional or physical issues, or if the way they lick you is frantic or obsessive, you should get them checked out with your vet.
If you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this site lists helpful resources for charities to help you pay your bills.
(If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country, there is a lot of support online for dog owners who are in difficulty).
5. You Have Accidentally Encouraged this Behavior
While this might sound surprising, it is easy to accidentally train your dog into a behavior pattern.
For example, let’s say your dog randomly sniffed or licked your period blood one day, and without thinking, you laughed and stroked them.
The dog felt good because you reacted warmly and gave them some attention.
They repeated the behavior, and you gave them a nice cuddle this time.
They have learned that if they lick you when you are on your period, you will be nice to them.
So the next time it is your period, they lick your bloody period and see if it works again.
You could, of course, look at this the other way around.
That your dog has trained you to pet them when they lick you.
Perhaps our dogs are a lot smarter than we realize!
6. They are Making Sure You are OK
Dogs can read the mood of humans, especially people with whom they spend a lot of time.
A recent scientific study has recently shown that dogs can tell if their owners are stressed just by smelling their breath or sweat.
Dogs have also been shown to care about their owner’s emotional well-being and will try to soothe them if they are sad or stressed.
If your dog sees or smells your period blood, they might lick it as a way of trying to help you feel better, just like they might lick another dog’s wound to enable it to heal.
7. Your Dog is Grooming You
In the same way, dogs engage in mutual grooming with other dogs. Of course, they also do so with humans.
This is done to bond, but social grooming also performs a hygienic function.
Dogs help keep each other clean. For example, a dog can’t lick their own ears, but another dog can.
By licking each others ear’s two dogs can be cleaner and more hygienic than they could on their own.
If your dog is licking your legs or crotch during your period, they could be trying to clean up the blood and mess.
8. Canine Behavior – It’s Complicated!
When examining the behavior traits of domestic dogs, we must remember that a combination of complicated factors drives them.
To keep it simple, the following principles can sum up these factors:
- Domestic dogs evolved from an ancient species of wolf.
- Humans have selectively bred dogs for thousands of years.
- Every dog is different.
- A dog’s upbringing has an impact on its behavior.
So as you try to understand why your dog does what it does, you can see many things to consider.
Let’s look at that list in more detail.
Domestic Dogs Evolved From an Ancient Species of Wolf
We know that dogs evolved from a species of wolf.
The most likely candidate is the Late Pleistocene wolf, although there is still some debate about this point.
When analyzing your pet dog’s behavior, it’s close enough to say that your dog evolved from a wolf species, which can explain some of your pup’s actions.
Humans Have Selectively Bred Dogs for Thousands of Years
Thousands of years ago, your dog’s ancestors gradually became domesticated.
They probably started hanging around close to human encampments, scavenging, and then begging for scraps.
Over time, the wolves became closer to the humans, who started breeding them to recreate and enhance certain traits such as intelligence or strength.
Over thousands of years, this selective breeding continued until today, and now we can see a wide range of domestic dog breeds.
All this history of selective breeding comes into play when analyzing your dog and why they do the things they do.
Every Dog is Different
Just as every human is different, every dog is also different.
They all have a unique DNA profile, impacting not just their physical characteristics but also their behavior.
Your dog will have behavior quirks that are unique to them, just like the people in your life do.
A Dog’s Upbringing Has an Impact on its Behavior
From how skilled a puppy’s mother is to how early they are separated from each other.
From how well trained the dog is to if they suffer from any trauma such as being attacked by another dog or hit by a car.
Your dog’s life affects its later behavior and must be considered when understanding why they act in the ways they do.
Is There Any Risk From Your Dog Licking Your Period Blood?
There is no risk to your dog from them licking the blood from your periods.
Canine saliva has some nasty bugs. As a result, diseases and parasites can be transmitted from pet dogs to their owners.
However, there is minimal risk of infection unless your skin is damaged or broken.
If you have a rash or a cut close to where they want to lick, you should not let them do so, but otherwise, it’s safe and totally up to you if you want them to carry on.
How to Stop Your Dog From Licking Your Period Blood?
The most obvious and easiest way to stop this canine blood-licking behavior is to prevent them from being able to get close to it.
For example, wear clothing that covers your skin if they lick and sniff at your crotch.
Or, if they tend to do it when you are in bed, stop letting them sleep in your bed during your time of the month.
If that isn’t ideal for you, another option is to train them to understand the “No” command.
Training and Using the “No” Command
If you have not already trained your dog to obey the no command, you should prioritize it.
Select a behavior you want them to stop doing – in this case, licking period blood – you need to catch them in the act of doing it, say “No” in a firm voice, and physically stop them from doing it.
For example, if your dog was licking your hand, you would pull your hand away and say the “No” command clearly and firmly.
Once they understand the “No” command for hand licking, it will be much easier to train them to understand it in a different context, such as barking, jumping up at people, or licking.
You should work through a few different behaviors until they understand that “No” means stop what they are doing, whatever it is.
Using Distraction and Praise to Encourage A Different Behavior
After successfully using the “No” command to stop the dog from licking, you should reward and distract them.
Give them a treat, pet them, or give verbal praise so they associate stopping with feeling good.
Then play with them, let them go outside, move them around the house, or do something similar to distract them from returning to the licking.
If you keep up with this simple two-step process, you should notice a reduction in this blood-licking behavior.
Not only that, but if they do carry on with the licking, you will be able to stop them much more quickly.
Final Notes On Why Your Dog Licks Your Period Blood
If your dog licks your period blood, it is most likely due to one of the following reasons:
- They are attracted to the smell.
- The blood smells tasty to your dog.
- They are curious.
- They are sick, in pain, or stressed.
- Unknowingly you have encouraged this behavior.
- They are checking up on you.
- They are grooming you.
- It’s complicated! A complex combination of factors could be at play.
There is no risk to the dog from doing it.
The main risk to you is if you have damaged skin, in which case you shouldn’t let them do it.
The best way to stop them from being able to lick your period blood is to prevent them from getting access to it using distance or wearing more clothes.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!