You are having your menstrual period, and the bleeding is heavier than usual, causing stains on your underclothes. As you place the stained undergarments into the washing basket, you notice that your dog begins licking the period blood that is on the fabric.
This makes you wonder what is causing your dog to act in this manner?
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A Natural Instinct to Investigate His Findings
Due to their ancestry as scavengers, dogs are always drawn to the smell of blood as it signifies that their prey is somewhere nearby.
This is particularly true of dogs of hunting breeds, such as the Labrador Retriever, Beagle, and American Foxhound, who have a deep desire to hunt for their prey.
In reality, they are excited by the scent of your menstrual blood as they have associated it with the blood of their prey. This triggers their instinctual desire to hunt and investigate.
This hunting instinct is still ingrained within them, though they no longer need to exercise their hunting skills in this modern world.
So, when your dog smells blood on your clothing, he will be very interested in investigating further.
His heightened olfactory sense makes it easy for him to pick up any scent, be it a faint odor that is left on the clothing, floor or air.
Thus, he can effortlessly find the stained garment and will start licking on the blood stained clothing to get a better idea of what is going on.
There is nothing inherently dangerous about this reflex.
Just be sure to keep your dog away from your undergarments when you are experiencing your menstrual cycle.
His Curiosity Is Aroused by the Pheromones Present in Your Menstrual Blood
There is no doubt that if you are menstruating, you will have an odor that your dog will be interested in.
There are likely to be high concentrations of pheromones emanating from you, making your period blood irresistible to your dog.
He is not just licking the period blood because he finds it fun (although that could also be the reason), but because he is genuinely drawn to its smell.
His tail would probably be wagging, his head would be up, and he would be sniffing around your crotch area when he smelt your menstrual blood.
A Learned Behavior From Other Dogs
There is a very simple explanation for why your dog licks your period blood.
Dogs are just like humans in that they can learn bad habits from each other. Therefore, it’s possible that your dog had picked up this habit from another dog.
You may have left your dog at your friend’s house while you went on a business trip, and he had acquired this undesirable habit from your friend’s pet.
As dogs are very observant, they will pick up on any habits that they feel are rewarding.
To help correct this bad behavior, you will need to train your dog to believe that this act will not be rewarded. This is where the idea of positive reinforcement comes in.
He will only be rewarded for performing good behaviors (that is, no licking of the period blood) with a treat, toy or your praise.
He Is Trying To Help You Clean Up The Mess
It may be that your dog is licking the blood stain on your undergarment in an attempt to help you clean it up. By licking on the stain, he hopes to get rid of it.
You can train your dog to stop doing this if this is the case.
Consistent reinforcement of the appropriate behavior is the most effective way to train your dog.
In other words, if he licks your menstrual blood, you can teach him that this is a bad habit, which he should not engage in.
When he stops doing it, give him a small treat as a form of reward to make him associate a positive experience with not performing the licking act.
Alternatively, you can set up a baby gate to prevent your dog from entering the laundry area.
This Behavior Has Been Reinforced By You
By giving your dog any form of attention, he may inadvertently perceive this as a form of reward when he exhibits certain behavior, such as licking up your period blood.
This can happen in the case that you are yelling at your dog when you find him licking your blood stained underwear or eating your tampon that is stained with your menstrual blood.
Your dog will perceive your reaction (no matter whether it is positive or negative) as the attention that he is receiving in response to his behavior.
You can probably expect your dog to continue behaving in this way if he is craving for your attention.
Because of this, you need to understand that no matter how negative your reaction to his behavior is, he will take it as an attention that he is seeking, even if you don’t intend for it to be so.
Separation Anxiety Makes Him Lick Things That Contain Your Scent
If you have been away for the whole day, your dog will naturally start to miss you and will be looking for things that come with your scent to ease his separation anxiety.
That is when he is going to lick your clothes, shoes, handbags or even your used pads or tampons if he can get hold of them.
So, it is not at all surprising to see your dog chewing on your tampons that are stained with your period blood as this action makes him feel that you are with him.
And the act of chewing and licking releases a chemical known as endorphins in his body and that helps to calm him down.