Keeping our pets healthy and happy will always be a priority. However, they can experience health complications just like we do, which worries us a lot.
For example, there are instances when a female dog’s private area is swollen, leaving you wondering about the probable causes, prevention measures, and appropriate medications.
Could it be that she’s in heat, is it an infection, or an allergic reaction? Below we highlight six reasons that could make a female dog’s private area swell.
Why is my female dog’s private area swollen?
If you notice your female dog’s private area is swollen, it could be that your fluffy friend is entering her heat cycle, has an allergic reaction, has an infection, or could be a labor sign. Below are the six reasons why a female dog’s private area could be swollen.
1. Estrus cycle
If your female dog is still intact, she will go into the heat twice a year for approximately 3-4 weeks. During this period, the dog’s body will release more estrogen hormones, which causes the tissues around the vulva to expand and face outwards.
Apart from swelling in the private area, other common signs a dog is in heat include:
- Blood-tinged vaginal discharge
- Excessive licking of the genital area
- Excessive wagging of the tail
- Increased mountain behavior
- Receptive to male dogs sniffing and licking her vulva
- Frequent urination often in the presence of male dogs
- Agitated, nervous, or nesting behavior
If your female dog’s private area is swollen (swollen vulva) and you notice most of the signs highlighted above, your dog is in heat. She will get pregnant if successful mating occurs. The vulva should, however, return to its normal size after the heat is over (within 2-21 days).
Female dogs often suffer from urinary tract infections. Vaginitis, for example, is an inflammation of the vaginal area that affects puppies and older dogs. The condition can be caused by bacterial infections, anatomical anomalies, and even cancer.
There are two types of vaginal inflammation: juvenile vaginitis (which affects prepubescent dogs) and adult-onset vaginitis (which affects older dogs and is more common in spayed female dogs).
Signs of vaginal inflammation in dogs include:
- Whitish/yellowish vaginal discharge
- Blood-tinged vaginal discharge
- Excessive licking of the vulva area
- Frequent urination
- Signs of pain when urinating
- Swollen vulva reddish in color
- Dog scooting her bottom along the floor
If you suspect your female dog has vaginal inflammation, be sure to take her to a veterinarian for examination and treatment. If the condition is left untreated for too long, procedures such as surgical cleaning and draining will have to be used to correct the issue.
3. Vaginal hyperplasia
A condition called vaginal hyperplasia can also happen when your dog is in heat. You will notice a dark pink or red tissue protruding from her vulva which is the result of tissue swelling in the vaginal area. This condition should resolve once the heat cycle ends. You can choose to spay your dog if you do not want her to get pregnant, which will also prevent vaginal hyperplasia.
Some spayed female dogs still experience swelling in the private area accompanied by a bloody vaginal discharge. This occurs when some ovarian tissue remains within the abdomen after her spay surgery. Be sure to take your dog to a veterinarian if her private area is swollen and there’s a blood-tinged vaginal discharge.
4. Labor sign
Preparation for labor could also be the explanation for why your female dog’s private area is swollen. If your pregnant dog is nearing labor, some of the changes you will observe include changes in the vulva, often described as “swelling”. Other signs that indicate a dog is in labor include:
- Restlessness and anxiety
- Pacing and panting
- Refusal of food and may vomit
- Nesting behavior e.g. dragging clothes and fabric to make a comfortable bed
- Abdomen tenses and the bitch starts straining
By the time a female dog is going into labor, her mammary glands will be full and nipples enlarged in preparation for breastfeeding.
5. Forced separation during mating
Dogs get stuck during mating, a process called a copulatory tie. After the male dog inserts his penis, the bulbous head expands, which “holds” him to the female. The tie will only be broken once the male dog ejaculates and the bulbous head return to normal size allowing him to withdraw.
Forcefully separating dogs stuck during the mating process can injure the female dog, which includes tearing of the vaginal area, causing internal injuries, blood loss, and excruciating pain. These injuries cause the vulvar area to swell and a visit to the veterinarian is the best thing to do.
6. Allergic reaction
An allergic reaction can also be the reason your female dog’s private area is swollen. Your dog could be allergic to hygiene products such as shampoos or came into contact with plants she is allergic to. Keep in mind that the vulva is a sensitive area and can react to insect bites or poison in plants.
What to do if your female dog’s private area is swollen
Since we have highlighted the causes of vulvar swelling in dogs, what to do depends on the cause of the swelling. If your dog is in heat and you do not want her to get pregnant, the best would be to prevent her from coming in contact with male dogs.
Female dogs release pheromones when in heat, which attracts male dogs by sending signals that they’re ready to mate. You should put her in a harness or keep her indoors until her heat cycle is over. In case you’re ready for a litter of puppies then you should let her loose and allow her to mate.
In case the cause of vulva swelling is an allergic reaction, finding the actual cause could be tricky. Did you use a new hygiene product such as shampoo? Did your dog come in contact with new plants or products? Trying to find a possible cause could help to prevent future occurrences. You should, however, take her to the veterinarian to help soothe the swelling and itching with medication.
Swelling of the female dog’s private area in preparation for labor is something beyond your control. There’s nothing you can do other than give her everything she needs. However, if you notice she is in too much pain or is experiencing labor complications then get immediate veterinary assistance. Your vet will help her deliver safely.
If the cause of the swelling is a bacterial infection, taking your dog to the veterinarian will help a great deal. The vet will do an examination and prescribe the appropriate medication. It’s nice to keep in mind that bacterial and yeast infections are easier to treat during the initial stages.
If the cause is a forced separation during the copulatory tie, the best you can do is take her to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will do a checkup to identify the injuries your dog suffered and prescribe appropriate medication.
How to prevent a female dog’s private area from swelling
Some of the things you can do to prevent your female dogs from suffering from swollen vulva complications include:
- Spaying to prevent her from going into heat
- Prevent the dog’s contact with things or foods she’s allergic to
- Prevent forced separation of dogs in a copulatory tie
- Regularly check your dog for cuts, infections, or swellings
There are a few reasons why your female dog’s private area is swollen. Be sure to check for other notable signs and if need be take her a veterinary check because it could be a serious issue.
Watch these videos to learn more: Credit Serve Dogs.