Blues captain Bri Davey and newcomer Maddy Prespakis starred and Brooke Walker kicked three goals, while Monique Conti and Ellie Blackburn were outstanding for the Bulldogs.
Carlton looked home at three-quarter time in the AFLW’s annual Pride game with a 28-point lead after keeping the Bulldogs goalless.
The Blues kicked three goals in the first term and another two in the second, while the Bulldogs sprayed seven behinds.
There was no goal in the third term as the Blues had repeat inside 50s and the Bulldogs defended desperately.
But the game was turned on its head in the first five minutes of the last quarter.
Bulldogs co-captain Katie Brennan kicked their first goals at two minutes and Aisling McCarthy followed with the second a couple of minutes later.
When Libby Birch was awarded two 50m penalties and kicked an easy goal, the Dogs remarkably closed to within nine points.
Chloe Dalton kicked her second goal at 15 minutes to give the Blues the breathing space they needed.
3.2 5.2 5.5 6.5 (41)
0.2 0.7 0.7 5.8 (38)
GOALS: Carlton – Walker 3, Dalton 2, Harris.
Western Bulldogs – McCarthy, Blackburn, Huntington, Brennan, Birch.
CROWD: 6541 at Whitten Oval.