Jump to section

What is Swelling in the Vaginal Area?

You may notice your dog has a vaginal discharge or that the vaginal area is swelling. It could be that your dog is entering the estrus (heat) cycle, whereby swelling is often seen. This phase lasts approximately for three weeks and you must be aware your dog can get pregnant during this phase and that male dogs will be attracted to her. Care should be taken during the estrus cycle in unspayed females as pregnancy is always a risk. The estrus cycle is just one of the  reasons why the vaginal area may be swelling.

  • Allergic reaction  
  • Estrus cycle 
  • Labor complications 
  • Forced separation during tie
  • Infection

Compare Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans

Save up to $273 per year

Compare plans
advertisement image

Why Swelling in the Vaginal Area Occurs in Dogs

Allergic Reaction

Your dog may be allergic to the shampoo or other products you are using when grooming. It could also be that you dog has come into contact something that is causing an allergic reaction, such as a plant or bug. The vaginal area is a sensitive area and can react to insect or poison in plants. Because the cause is unknown, it is best to take your dog to your veterinarian clinic so they can diagnose the condition and prescribe treatment. 

Estrus Cycle

Your female dog will go into the heat or estrus phase for approximately three weeks once or twice a year. This is completely normal for your dog. The production of estrogen in this period causes the vaginal tissue to expand and face outwards from the vulva. Spaying of your dog will prevent this, it also means that your dog will no longer be able to breed.

Labor Complications 

If your dog is pregnant, then the process of preparing for labor will be signalled by changes in the vagina often construed as swelling. This is normal for the birth process. 

Forced Separation During Tie

 

Pulling dogs apart during mating can injure the female – the male dog must ejaculate to break the bond or tie, which will then allow them to separate. 

Infection

 

Urinary tract infections are a common occurrence among female dogs.  Antibiotics or probiotics can help cure infection and prevent further swelling. Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina and there are two types: juvenile (puppy) vaginitis, and adult onset vaginitis. Your veterinarian will prescribe the correct medication to clear the infection up. It is best to catch it in its initial stages, otherwise it may need surgical cleaning and draining to correct.

arrow-up-icon

Top

What to do if your Dog is Swelling in the Vaginal Area

If your dog is a female and she is going into the ‘heat’ phase, you must take extra care of her needs. Her behavior may change and she may become a bit moody or snappy as her body is flooded with hormones. Be aware that male dogs will be attracted to her now, so it may be better to keep her at home. During this stage, she can and will get pregnant if a male dog can get to her, so you must be extra protective if you don’t want a litter of cute puppies arriving in your home. If you are wanting to breed her, now is the time to consider it. 

If the swelling is an allergic reaction, it can be hard to find the cause. It is advisable to take your dog to the veterinarian so they can help to soothe the itching or inflammation with medication. Usually, with medication the swelling will go down quickly and your dog will be fine. 

During labor preparation for your pregnant dog, you will notice changes to the vaginal area. This is quite normal and is best left to nature to perform its miracle. But if your dog becomes uneasy, is in pain, or is struggling with the birth then get immediate veterinary assistance to help her through it without injury. 

Forcing dogs apart due to poor planning when your dog is in heat is never a good idea. If you don’t want your dog to get pregnant then keep her away from male dogs and safely locked up at home. Forcing dogs apart during the mating process can cause the female a lot of pain and injury. As the male inserts his penis, the bulbous head expands, literally ‘holding’ him to the female. Wrenching them apart can cause ripping and tearing of the vaginal area, internal injury, and blood loss. The male dog must ejaculate and only then does the bulbous head return to normal to allow him to withdraw easily. 

Bacterial and yeast infections can become a major concern if they are not treated immediately. A quick trip to the veterinarian will save you a lot of concern and for your dog, a lot of irritation. A course of medication will be prescribed, and possibly medicated creams. The infections are easier to treat during the initial stages; don’t wait to see if it gets better, it will only get worse.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Prevention of Swelling in the Vaginal Area

If your dog is in heat, there is nothing you can do to prevent it other than having your dog spayed. Once your dog is spayed they will never have the heat cycle again but bear in mind they will be unable to breed and produce puppies. For other conditions, it comes down to observation of your dog and acting fast when you know something is not right. Allergies can come from all sorts of things - from food to chemicals, to plants and bugs. A good maintenance procedure is to check your dog regularly for cuts, infections, or lumps and swellings. Doing this during grooming is a quick and effortless way to care for your pet.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cost of Swelling in the Vaginal Area

The costs of treatments can vary every between veterinarians within a town, let alone across the country. But to provide a baseline, here are some cost averages. Spaying a female dog is more complicated than neutering a male dog, so you can expect to pay on average $300 or more. External allergy treatments are $150 for simple cases and the price can climb for more advanced conditions. Treatment for infections can cost $950 while treatment for delivery problems in a female dog can cost on average $1800. Damage caused by separating mating dogs can have an expense of $1000 to repair rips and tears to the vaginal area.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Swelling in the Vaginal Area Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

Two Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

Swollen and red vagina

Oct. 25, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Gina U. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello Thank you for the pictures. If your dog is not spayed, then typically a swollen red vulva means that she is in heat or going in to heat very soon.

Oct. 25, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pug

dog-age-icon

7 months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Vulva

My dog has a very swollen vulva and is licking it a lot. Her behavior has not changed. I am very concerned - is this an infection?

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm sorry for the delay in answering, this platform is not set up for urgent responses. If she is not spayed, she is about the right age to come into heat. If the problem persists for more than a few days, or she is spayed, then it may be an infection, and having her seen by your veterinarian would be a good idea.

Oct. 8, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pomeranian

dog-age-icon

Six Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling Vagina, Maybe Slight Fever

What do I do? I can’t afford a vet bill, but my poms vagina is swollen and itchy I think and maybe painful! She also might have a slight fever!

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in answering, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. If she is not spayed, she may be in heat, or she may have a uterine infection. If she is spayed, she may have a bladder or skin infection. If this does not resolve over a few days, then she does need to see a veterinarian, as they will be able to examine her and see what medications she may need.

Oct. 9, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Mix Maltese & Jack Russel

dog-age-icon

Seven Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding And Swollen By Private Area

My puppy is bleeding a bit and her private part is a bit swollen

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in answering, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. She is about the age when she would normally come into heat, if she isn't spayed. If this is still happening, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 17, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Great Dane

dog-age-icon

Eight Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling

Hi, my eight-year-old Dane who is not spayed is not in heat but she looks to me swollen and I don’t think that’s the normal color. I just need to know if I am overreacting or if it’s something that needs to be checked out. She’s not acting any different but I’m not sure if this is what she normally looks like.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. To me, that looks like a fairly standard vulva for a dog in heat. If you are concerned, or she is having any discharge, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 20, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

TeTe

dog-breed-icon

pitbull

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Private Area

Hello, I have a Pitbull who is a little over 1.5 years old and about six days ago I noticed she was just a little bit swollen in her private area and over the last few days I have noticed that it has become more swollen. I believe she may be in her first heat as my neutered male dog is chasing her around, humping her and sniffing her in the private area. My male dog has never done that with her before which makes me believe she is going into her first heat, however 1 day my male will be chasing her around and the next day he will be leaving her alone. So, I'm not sure if she's in heat or not. She has no discharge at all and no odor. Can you tell me what you think please? I plan on taking her to the vet to get spayed ASAP. I would take her now but unfortunately, I just had a very unexpected costly situation happen. She also doesn't seemed to be bothered by it. Thank You TeTes Mom

dog-name-icon

Elsie

dog-breed-icon

Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling

My dog is about to have puppies and in the last week the back side of her vulva has swollen to about three times its normal size. It’s like there is a sac between her Vulva and her anus. Is this normal?

dog-name-icon

Big Baby

dog-breed-icon

Rednosed pittbull

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Between The Vagina & Anus

Hi my dog big baby is a 10 year-old red nose pitbull and she has swelling that is the size softball between her anus and her vagina. There's no smell no leakage but the other two dogs in our home are on their menstruation. She look like she was about to go into menstration as well but it just swelled up and didn't bleed. The past year she developed a small little bump that would come around the time of menstruation but then it would go away afterwards but be a tiny quarter-sized lump there I don't know what to do I'm so upset if I lose her she's my everything all my animals are.

dog-name-icon

Lay

dog-breed-icon

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Some kind of skin infection started in the area of where.her nipples where removed 1 year ago. Spread down into her vulva an aand legs .now one of her legs are swollen up. Just put her on cephilexin today . any thought? It seems to be out side omly effection the skin . its slight red and doesnt seem to be any internal infection for now . it looks like her vulva is in heat and the skin around it is firm and swollen .

Compare Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans

Save up to $273 per year

Compare plans
advertisement image
How can we help your pet?