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It is normal for a female in heat to have bleeding in the first stage of the heat cycle and swelling of the vulva. The heat cycle runs normally about 3 weeks or so, though it can be shorter or longer. The first part of heat lasts about a week and you notice bleeding and the start of swelling. Male dogs will start hanging around, but usually she won't be receptive to breeding. During the second week, bleeding will slow or stop and she will start putting her tail to the side called flagging to indicate she is receptive to breeding. She will allow breeding during this time. Then the last week she may still allow breeding but won't be as fertile. Each of these stages can be shorter or longer and even last for weeks but most dogs are average and it is done in just a few weeks. You can just rinse the area. Bathing too frequently can lead to dry skin and coat issues.
Most dogs do not experience much discomfort though they will sometimes have vomiting or a little decrease in appetite as the hormones shift.
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