It can be very concerning when you notice something wrong with your female pet dog, but even more so when it is something as delicate as swelling of their private parts
The embarrassment and concern you feel are normal, but it can be difficult to work out what is going on.
You, as your dog’s owner and who sees her every day, are the best judge of what is ‘normal’ for your dog, whether it be concerning vulv@l colour, size, discharge, or related behaviour.
This means that you are the expert on your dog if anything looks out of the ordinary, and it is important to always seek advice from your veterinarian if you do notice any differences that you are concerned about.
Your veterinarian will try to notice any symptoms to distinguish the cause of her vulv@l swelling from the list below.
1) Oestrous/Estrus Cycles
Much like humans’ menstrual cycles, dogs have reproductive cycles too! If your pet hasn’t been spayed, then these cycles will happen around twice a year but may vary in frequency depending on your individual pooch!
Cycling usually starts from around 5 months old, so if you have an intact dog with a swollen vulv@ then it possible cause.
The cycles themselves have different stages caused by different hormone levels, as listed below, with the swelling first being seen in the proestrus stage and continuing for up to 21 days.
This symptom can be accompanied by blood-tinged vulv@l discharge, although this often isn’t seen as your female dog is very good at licking herself clean.
These symptoms corresponding with oestrous cycles are nothing to be worried about as they are completely normal. However, if you have any concerns then do speak to your vet.
|Cycle stage||Length||Vulval swelling||Discharge||Interest in mating|
|Proestrus||9-10 days||Increasing||Blood-tinged or brown||None|
|Oestrus||9-10 days||Yes||Less or none||High|
2) Infections (vaginitis and UTIs)
Any imbalance in the bacteria found in your dog’s vagIna can cause an infection, called vaginitis. Vaginitis usually spreads by bacteria, although can also transmit by viruses, such as Herpes.
As well as vulv@l swelling, you might see your dog licking or rubbing the area, as well as experiencing increased urination and vagInal discharge.
Most cases are resolved with antibiotics, but to know which drug to use, a swab may have to be taken. Some cases also link to cycling, so spaying may reduce the reoccurrence of these.
As most women know, urinary tract infections (UTIs) cause a nasty burning sensation upon urination. Dogs get the same thing and try to relieve this burning by licking the affected area.
This in turn can cause swelling of your female dog’s private parts. Other symptoms which come hand-in-hand with a UTI are more frequent urination, blood in the urine, fever, and sometimes vomiting.
We can also treat UTIs with antibiotics, which usually clear up the symptoms in a few days,
but it is important to complete the full prescribed course of drugs so that the UTI doesn’t come back or resistance develops within the bacteria.
3) Allergies or Trauma
Any trauma can cause discomfort to your dog’s private parts, which can in turn make your dog lick them more, meaning further damage to their delicate tissues, hence swelling occurs.
Always Workout on trauma causes with your vet, so the most appropriate treatment plans are viable for administration.
Allergies can be one such cause, for example, such things as dog shampoo, which can be treated with antihistamines in the first instance and by changing product in the longer term.
Or the damage could result from physical trauma, such as caused by forced separation during a mating tie. When dogs mate, the male’s organ swells to prevent any fluid from leaking hence creating a tie in between.
This tie lasts for half an hour and any attempt to break it, can result in trauma to the female.
In this instance, the female dog will need painkillers, anti-inflammatories, and sometimes even minor surgery if there are any cuts to her reproductive tract.
4) Tumors or Hyperplasia
This is one diagnosis nobody wants to hear, but tumors are one of the reasons behind your dog’s swollen private parts.
Tumors of the reproductive tract can be cancerous or benign, and so, as with any cancer, a veterinary diagnosis of the tumor is important to determine the best treatment plan.
Tumors may arise by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), an overload of hormones in the absence of spaying, or caused by no known cause. Therefore, the best way to prevent these is to spay your female dog, so that she will not mate or have an overload of hormones.
Without treatment, tumors can cause a uterine infection called pyometra, which can be life-threatening. Therefore, it is best to get any potential tumors, wherever they are, checked out by your vet as soon as possible.
Hyperplasia is just a fancy word for the over-growth of tissue. This can happen in the vagIna of any breed of dog without spaying and can cause tissue to protrude out of the vulv@, which is mistaken for vulv@l swelling.
If this is the case, it is important to call the vet and keep the protrusion clean so that there is a lower chance of infection while putting back in by a vet.
This is sadly often a recurrent problem in dogs and so it is worth talking to your vet about any preventative measures they can recommend.
5) Foreign Body
Being much closer to the ground than us humans, dogs are much more prone to foreign bodies. These can cause pain, irritation, and swelling to the vulv@, and can lead to infections if they are left untreated.
Vaginal foreign bodies can be objects such as dust, lint, pollen, or specific plants such as grass seeds or foxtail. These may be visible externally, or they may have been deeper in your dog’s private parts.
In particular, grass seeds can be very difficult to remove due to barb in nature, so avoid trying to pull these out as you may cause more damage.
It is always best to make an appointment at the vet in these cases, as they can use special instruments to remove foreign bodies and provide pain relief to your dog.
What will happen at the vets?
The vet may take A thorough medical history of the symptoms your dog has been showing, including spaying history.
A full-body physical examination is a must to spot or rule out any other problems that your four-legged friend might have.
After a successful diagnosis, A Valid line of treatment plan requires discussion. This may be as simple as waiting for your dog to come out of the heat or a course of antibiotics, or it might involve more serious treatment such as surgery.
12 more Reasons for Swollen Female Dogs Private Areas
- An overactive bladder
- A prolapse or Weak Uterus
- Urine Irritation and fecal matter Stuck Around rare parts
- Hematoma (a blood clot)
- Uterine infection
- Infestations and Insect Bites
- Your Dog is Pregnant (Conceived)
- Ovary Remnant Syndrome
- Ectopic Ureters (dogs born with improper ureters)
- Foreign body Migration
- Forced Separation from Mating
- Fungal, Bacterial Pathogenic Infections
- Canine Herpesvirus ( Viral infections)
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Whatever you think is the cause of your female dog’s private parts swelling up, it is best to seek professional medical help just in case it is something you should be particularly concerned about.
Your vet is very used to dealing with such cases and so there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
If you are at all concerned about your dog’s health in any way, make sure to take it seriously and book an appointment at your vet.