You went on looking for that strong metallic smell…
It’s coming from somewhere until you realize it’s your pooch…
And it’s coming from their vag.
Now, you’re concerned because a metallic smell means blood is involved…
Oh, what could be the reason behind it?
Continue reading to discover:
- 7 reasons why your dog’s vag smells like metal.
- If you should be worried when your dog’s vag has a metallic odor.
- 3 types of infections that are behind the metallic smell on your dog’s vag.
- And much, much more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog’s vag smell like metal?
Your dog’s vag smells like metal because she’s in heat and releasing bloody discharge. If she’s not in her season, it could be from an underlying medical issue. Those are UTI, vaginitis, pyometra, or metritis. Sometimes, it can also be from the secretion or impaction of her anal glands.
7 reasons why your dog’s vag smells like metal
#1: Anal glands secretion
Sometimes, it’s not really your dog’s vag that smells like metal…
Instead, it’s a nearby body part…
I’m talking about how it might be your dog’s anus that smells and not her vag.
You see, what you could be smelling is the secretion of her anal glands.
Dogs’ anal glands
On either side of your dog’s anus lies 2 small sacs.
Those are what I’ve been referring to as her anal glands.
Now, these produce and secrete a fluid that has a terrible smell.
AKC describes the odor as strong and pungent. For others, they also describe the odor as fishy.
However, there’s more that you should know…
Dog parents will recognize the smell of that fluid.
And that’s what you’ve been worrying about…
That fluid is the reason why your dog smells like metal.
Now, humans have a standard description of the smell. And as I said, it’s recognizable.
But for dogs, this smelly substance is vital in their lives.
The function of anal glands in dogs
When your dog poops, the fluid from the glands is released. So, the smell and solution stick to the poop.
That’s because the scent from the fluid works like a calling card in the dog community.
You see, for you, the smell is just the same strong and sour scent. But for dogs, each smell is unique from every bum.
In just one sniff, your pooch can analyze the following on the other dog:
- Estimated age.
- Whether they’re friendly or aggressive.
Now, that’s why dogs greet each other by smelling the butts of every canine they come across.
This is also the reason why I referred to it as a dog’s calling card.
Warning: Some dogs won’t be up for such interaction. That’s why there’s something called dog sniffing aggression.
So, make sure you keep a close watch on your pooch as she gets to know her new friends.
Continue reading: 15 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Smells Like Fish + 17 Tips
#2: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common condition that dogs can have.
And it might be the reason why your dog’s vag smells like metal.
Moreover, the odor can be similar to the smell of blood.
Wanna confirm if this is the case?
Then, you can refer to this list from VCA Hospitals. It’s the UTI symptoms in dogs:
- Dripping urine.
- Excessive thirst.
- Straining to urinate.
- Peeing more frequently.
- Presence of blood in their pee.
- Constantly licking their genitals.
- Whining while peeing due to pain.
Moreover, your pupper might bug you by one more sign…
It’s when she starts to pee inside the house again. And you know that she’s housetrained…
So why does she still pee inside the house?
Well, the answer might lie on this condition.
“Oh, how did my dog get UTI?”
There’s this body part called the urethra.
In dogs, the purpose of such is to carry urine from their bladder to the outside world.
And as it’s an exit, it can also be an entrance to harmful bacteria.
So, dirt and germs can hang on your pooch’s genitals.
Then, the bacteria present in those can travel to your pup’s urethra and onto their bladder.
Now, did you know? Urine is actually sterile. That’s because the bladder is also a sanitary part.
So when bacteria gets in there, issues will definitely arise.
Now, the harmful microorganisms grow and reproduce on the bladder. And that’s what causes the UTIs.
“What kind of bacteria?”
Actually, there isn’t just one culprit for this.
Take it from this research. They studied 1,028 bacterial isolates from dogs who have UTIs:
#1: The leading bacteria that cause UTIs in dogs is E. coli.
Based on their data, 52.5% of the infection is due to this particular bacteria.
#2: The second bacteria that can cause this condition is Staphylococcus spp. It’s present in 13.6% of the subject isolates.
#3: There’s a concern as these bacteria are known to evolve…
With that, they increase their resistance to certain antibiotics. Thus making the condition hard to cure.
What to do
Bring a sample of your dog’s urine to the vet.
Doing so will help them confirm if your dog indeed has UTI.
And if they do, the doctor will suggest a treatment.
They’ll pick the most-suited one for your pup’s specific needs.
You might also want to check out: My dog smells like period blood
#3: She’s in heat
Worried that it’s blood you’re smelling?
Well, what if it is?
But in this case, there’s nothing to worry about…
That’s because your pooch can just be in heat.
And it’s their blood-tinged discharge that causes that metallic smell…
To understand further, here’s how their estrous cycle works according to the MSDVM:
The beginning of the heat cycle takes 7 to 10 days.
During this stage, her vulva is swelling.
Moreover, she’ll be releasing bloody discharge. That’s what you’ve been smelling.
Lastly, she doesn’t allow mating in this period yet. And if any male dog smells her and tries, she might become aggressive in pushing him off.
This is the so-called mating period. It can last up to 10 days.
In this stage, blood flow comes to a stop. That’s why your pup will start accepting mates.
The resting period takes 10 to 140 days.
During this, your pup might be pregnant. If she isn’t, then this is her resting period.
This is considered the real resting period.
It happens between diestrus and the next cycle.
#4: She has vaginitis
Any condition ending with an -itis refers to an inflammation…
So, vaginitis is a rare condition in dogs where the vagina is swollen.
And this can be the cause for your dog’s vag smelling like metal.
Moreover, vaginitis can affect female dogs of all kinds.
They can be intact or spayed, and it won’t matter…
VCA Hospitals state these causes of vaginitis in dogs:
- Foreign bodies.
- Vaginal trauma.
- Urinary incontinence.
- Tumors in the vagina.
- Bacterial or viral infections.
- Contamination in the vulva.
Now, when your dog has this condition, her vagina will secrete discharge.
That can be made of mucus or pus.
And in rare cases, the discharge can have blood.
Moreover, that discharge can attract male canines. They might mistake it as an invitation to mate…
That aside, here are the other signs of this condition:
- Red and swollen vagina.
- Increased need to urinate.
- Constant licking of the vaginal area and the base of the tail.
Warning: Research reminds us that learning about this condition is vital.
Although rare, the condition can progress. With that, your pooch will face 2 conditions…
The first one is the main condition, which is vaginitis.
Then, a secondary anomaly might show. This can cause further infections.
With that, the worst-case scenario will be infertility.
Just when you think that your dog’s heat cycle is done…
You expect that the metallic smell will go away…
However, your fur baby still smells like metal.
What could it be this time?
Well, it might be connected to their past heat cycle.
You see, during the estrus, your pooch produces a hormone called progesterone.
And they’ll continue doing so for 2 months. Thus causing an elevation of the hormone in her body.
This release aims to create a thicker lining in the uterus. Such makes her body ready to bear puppies.
Now, something can happen if your pooch doesn’t get pregnant after many cycles…
And that’s the occurrence of pyometra.
It’s caused by the continuous increase in the thickness of the uterine lining.
With that, the thickened wall becomes an ideal habitat for bacteria. Which got there through the cervix.
They’ll grow there and reproduce. Therefore causing an infection on your doggo’s uterus.
Following the statement of VCA Hospitals, these are the clinical signs of pyometra:
- Abnormal discharge.
And if vomiting and diarrhea are present, that means their case is severe.
With that, your dog needs immediate medical attention.
The third and last infection that might be causing the metallic smell…
Metritis is another condition that involves inflammation. This time, the affected part is the lining of the uterus.
Moreover, this seems similar to pyometra…
But there’s a difference…
And it’s the fact that this infection can occur after a dog brings puppies into the world.
According to PetMD, here’s when a dog can get metritis:
- Birthing a large litter.
- Having a difficult birth.
- Abortion (natural or medical).
- Within a week of giving birth.
- Prolonged labor and delivery.
- Non-sterile artificial insemination.
- Leftover fetuses or placentas inside the uterus.
That’s why you should take great care of your pooch after she’s given birth. Things like knowing when to walk her again are crucial to know.
And as for the condition’s symptoms, those are:
- Lack of appetite.
- Swollen abdomen.
- Neglect of puppies.
- Dark and red gums.
- Increased heart rate.
Moreover, they’ll be releasing a discharge from their vulva. It’s usually dark green in color.
Plus, that’s the fluid behind the metallic smell.
That’s because it contains pus that’s mixed with blood.
Treatment of metritis
The discharge won’t just smell like metal…
In other cases, its scent will be so foul-smelling.
However, a sample of that smelly fluid is needed to diagnose this condition.
Once a sample is taken, the vet will grow it into a culture. Doing so will let them see what kind of bacteria is behind the infection.
With that, they can proceed with the specific treatment based on your dog’s needs.
That can be any of the following:
- Fluid therapy.
- Spaying, if needed.
- Surgical cleansing of the uterus.
Warning: The number one bacteria that causes this is E. coli.
But no matter which bacteria, such can spread into her blood. With that, it leads to a blood infection as well.
When that happens, there’s a risk of sterility.
And if neglected, it can escalate to septic shock.
#7: Anal glands disease
You might be thinking…
Well, this one’s different from the first one…
In reason #1, the cause is the natural secretion of fluids in their anal glands…
This time, the reason still involves those glands. However, there’s a common condition involved.
And it’s the widely-known anal glands disease.
According to VCA Hospitals, this is the result of something called impaction.
It’s due to the inflammation of ducts present in the sacs.
Then, that causes the impacted sacs to release a thicker fluid.
With that, the thickened substance and sacs become an ideal environment for bacteria. That’s when they begin growing and reproducing.
And all in all, it leads to the swelling of the anal glands.
Normally, your pooch can get rid of those bacteria.
It happens during a bowel movement.
The poop passes by the sacs and catches the bacteria. And as the poop exits the body, so do those microorganisms.
But with impacted sacs, that’s impossible…
With that, the infection becomes worse…
Until the thickened fluid becomes bloody.
Now, that’s what you must be identifying as the metallic smell. And it’s not from your dog’s vag, but it’s coming from her anus.
Moreover, that bloody fluid causes an…
Anal sac abscess
This will be more painful for your pooch.
Here, both sides of her anus will be red and swelling.
And when the abscess pops…
You’re gonna deal with the burst of bloody or greenish pus.
Moreover, this calls for a vet emergency.
So, bring your dog to the doctor immediately.
Because if this is overlooked, the infection will spread. Then, it can completely damage your dog’s anus and rectum.
Signs of anal sac disease in dogs
The most recognizable sign of this condition is dragging…
Some see such behavior as funny…
Just look at these dogs that scoot their butt:
However, as entertaining as it looks, this is a sign that your pooch is in discomfort.
Other signs include:
- Blood or pus draining from their rectum.
- Excessive licking of their rear end and base of tail.
- Growling when you touch their anus or nearby parts.
Should you be worried when your dog’s vag smells like metal?
You shouldn’t be worried when your dog’s vag smells like metal if she’s in heat. If not, it can be her anal glands secreting a natural fluid. But if it’s still not any of those, that’s where you should start worrying as it can be a medical issue.
When a dog is in heat, she’ll release a blood-tinged discharge. That can be the culprit behind the metallic smell.
Another natural reason is the fluid from their anal sacs.
However, concerning medical conditions can bring a metallic smell, too. Those are:
- Anal sac disease.
With that, you must bring your dog to the vet for a checkup and diagnosis.