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13 Reasons Your Female Dog’s Private Area Is Swollen (2022)

Why Is My Female Dog's Private Area Swollen

Discovering that your female pup’s private area is swollen can be worrying. 

While some would say it’s normal, others think it’s not. 

You’re at your wit’s end.

And these mixed signals don’t help you at all. 

So to get you out of this misery…

Keep reading to discover:

  • If allergies can make your female dog’s vulva swell.
  • 13 reasons why your female dog’s private area is swollen.
  • Illnesses that can cause swelling to your female dog’s private areas.
  • And much, much, more…

Why is my female dog’s private area swollen?

Estrus is the most common reason for the swelling of your female dog’s private area. But this is only true if they’re unspayed. Other causes of swelling are insect bites, infection, irritation, allergies, and many more. 


13 reasons why your female dog’s private area is swollen


#1: Estrus

Estrus is the term used when your dog is in heat. 

And one of its symptoms is the swelling of your pooch’s private area. 

You don’t have to worry about anything since this is completely normal for female dogs. 

Their heat can last for 3-4 weeks and happens twice a year. 

Aside from swelling, bloody discharge is another sign of estrus. 

But what causes your pup’s private area to swell when they’re in heat?

Estrogen is the one to blame. 

It’s a hormone involved in the reproductive health of your female pooch.

The high production of estrogen during estrus causes the tissues to swell. 

Everything will then go back to normal after your pup’s heat. 

One way to prevent all these from happening is through spaying. 

Spaying your pooch would mean that your female doggo won’t be in heat anymore.

They won’t also be capable of getting pregnant. 

Editor’s pick: 17 Tips On What To Do When Your Dog Is In Heat (& Bleeding)

#2: Allergies

Your Female Dog's Private Area Is Swollen Because Of Allegies

Another reason why your female pup has a swollen private area is an allergic reaction. 

Your female doggo has a very sensitive vulva

So exposure to an allergen can easily cause swelling and irritation. 

They might be allergic to the shampoo or soap you’re using on them.  

Use a hypoallergenic dog shampoo instead. 

Also, to ensure that it’s indeed an allergy, take your fur baby to the vet.

This way, your vet can give them proper treatment like antibiotics or anti-inflammatories. 

#3: Signs of labor

During the first stage of labor, your pup’s vulva will swell. 

This is in preparation for the delivery of the litter. 

Aside from that, restlessness, panting, and shivering are also normal signs of labor. 

But call your vet if these signs are accompanied by the following:

  • Extreme lethargy.
  • Excessive vomiting.
  • Prolonged resting phase.
  • Foul-smelling or bloody vaginal discharge.
  • Steady and strong contractions for over half an hour without producing a pup.

Warning: The signs mentioned above can indicate that your pooch is having labor complications

#4: Forced separation during breeding

When your female doggo is in heat, unneutered male pups will sense it.

And they’ll want to mate with your pooch. 

But sometimes, you’re not yet ready to have a pregnant pup. 

And there are also instances when a male dog unexpectedly mates your pooch. 

When that happens, your first instinct is to pull them apart. Some people even pour cold water on the two dogs to do so.

However, I advise against that. 

Because it can cause trauma to your female pooch’s private area. 

You see, the male doggo’s bulbis gland swells during mating. 

By doing so, it prevents any of their semen from leaking out. 

It’s only after the male’s semen is released that the two dogs separate safely. 

Warning: Don’t try to separate your female pup and a male dog when they’re already tied and in the middle of mating. Doing it can cause bleeding and injury to your female pooch. 

Reading tip: Do Male Dogs Go In Heat? 13 “Mating Signs” Of Male Dogs

#5: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Vaginitis is the term used for the inflammation of your pup’s vaginal canal. 

There are 2 types:

  • Adult-onset vaginitis. 
  • Juvenile or puppy vaginitis.

What causes it?

Urinary Tract Infection is a common cause of vaginitis.

In fact, female pups are more prone to UTIs. 

If your pooch has a urinary tract infection, take them to the vet. 

Your veterinarian will then prescribe antibiotics as treatment. 

Sometimes they’ll also include pain meds since it’s uncomfortable for your pup.  

Your pooch will need to take the antibiotics for 7-14 days. 

Note: Be sure to give your dog the complete medication. Even if it seems that they’re already well. This ensures that the infection is already gone and that it won’t come back. 

Probiotics can also help remove the infection. As it can crowd out the bad bacteria causing the infection.

Plus, it also helps bring back the good bacteria population in your pup’s guts after they take antibiotics.

#6: Insect bites

Insect Bites

Here’s a well-known fact we rarely think about:

Your pup’s private area touches the ground when they sit. 

And the ground can have a lot of irritants that can cause rashes and inflammation. 

Among them are insects that can bite your female doggo’s privates. 

Experts listed down these common clinical signs of an insect bite:

  • Swollen face or muzzle.
  • Hives or multiple red spots.
  • Skin around the bitten area is hot to touch.
  • Swelling and redness at the site of the bite.

So what do you do if this happens?

First, you can give your pooch a cold compress to stop the swelling.

You should also wash the bitten area with cold water and soap.

Note: Use only a mild soap for the bath.

VCA also recommends the application of antihistamines and anti-inflammatory agents such as corticosteroids.

You can use Benadryl, an over-the-counter antihistamine. 

This can relieve the swelling and itching in the area. 

Apply the Benadryl ointment directly to the stung area.

Or, if you don’t have an ointment, give one milligram of Benadryl for every pound of your pooch’s weight.  

#7: Ovarian Remnant Syndrome

When your female pooch is spayed, their whole reproductive tract is removed. 

But, there are cases when ovarian tissues are still left inside of your doggo. 

And they’ll continue producing hormones like estrogen. 

As a result, it’ll trigger your pooch to go into heat even when they’re already spayed. 

You call this Ovarian Remnant Syndrome. 

Bear in mind that this condition doesn’t appear immediately after spaying. 

It can take weeks, months, or even years. 

So you should watch out for signs of estrus in your spayed pup.

Of course, the most common tell that your female pup’s in heat is a swollen vulva. 

If you see this plus the other signs of estrus, call your vet. 

They’ll perform either of the following diagnostic tests to be sure:

  • Ultrasound.
  • Vaginal Cytology.
  • Baseline Hormone Levels.
  • Hormone Stimulation Test.

When it’s confirmed that your pooch has it, they’ll then undergo surgery. 

It’s the only treatment for Ovarian Remnant Syndrome. 

Moreover, the surgery must be done when your pup’s in heat. 

In doing so, the remaining ovarian tissues are visualized at their maximum. 

#8: Infection from bacteria and viruses

Microorganisms like bacteria and viruses can cause vaginal infections.

A perfect example is Canine Brucellosis. 

This is a bacterial infection that affects the reproductive system of your pooch. 

Symptoms in female pups are swelling of their private parts and vaginal discharge. 

Warning: Canine Brucellosis can cause the abortion of a pregnant dog’s litter. Or they can have a stillbirth delivery. 

Aside from Canine Brucellosis, there are other infections.  

There’s Canine Herpesvirus, a disease that isn’t passed on to humans. 

Yet it can be passed from the mother to its puppies. 

It can also spread to other dogs through vaginal secretions. 

CHV symptoms include respiratory infection, inflammation of external genitalia, etc.

Plus, there’s also Yeast infection which causes skin irritation. 

A yeast infection in your doggo’s private area will definitely cause inflammation. 

But did you know?

According to PetMD, these breeds are more prone to yeast infection:

  • Boxers.
  • Poodles.
  • Shih Tzus.
  • Dachshunds.
  • Basset Hounds.
  • English Setters.
  • Australian Silky Terriers.
  • American Cocker Spaniels.
  • West Highland White Terriers.

#9: Irritation from poop or pee

Swelling of your female pup’s privates can be a sign of irritation or infection. 

Your pup’s vulva is near where poop or pee exits. 

Of course, since these are dirty, it can cause irritation. 

This is where proper grooming comes in handy. 

Grooming will prevent overgrown fur in your pup’s rare areas. 

And it’s in the fur where some of the poop residues would cling on. 

So if you groom your pup regularly, you can stop this from happening. 

#10: Ectopic Ureters

An ectopic ureter occurs when the ureters aren’t correctly attached to the bladders. 

This will result in the ureters draining into the vagina instead of into the bladder. 

It’ll then affect the bladder’s ability to retain your pup’s pee. 

It’s caused by abnormal development in the womb. 

So it’s present at birth.

And it can affect both male and female Fidos. 

However, it’s usually female doggos that have this disease. 

So what are its symptoms?

The most common sign of ectopic ureter in young female pooches is urine dribbling. 

This means that their pees leak uncontrollably. 

As a result, they have swollen vaginas. 

They may also lick their genitalia because of the leaking urine. 

Now for the treatment…

There are 2 options to treat an ectopic ureter. 

One is through open abdominal surgery. 

In this process, your pup’s ureter is transferred from its abnormal location to a normal location. 

Another option is through laser. 

This process will be done during cystoscopy.

It sounds dangerous, but it’s just a test used to determine whether your pup has an ectopic ureter or not. 

Both the surgery and the laser procedure have good feedback. 

In the end, it’s your vet who’ll decide which treatment is best for your fur baby. 

#11: Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is your pooch’s inability to urinate voluntarily.  

And it usually happens when they’re sleeping or in a relaxed state. 

Fur parents who experienced this say that urine would leak from their pooches while on a walk. 

Some would even find a wet spot of pee under their Fido’s bed.

Because a lot of factors cause it, this condition can happen to any doggos. 

That’s also the reason why its treatment will depend on your vet’s diagnosis. 

To help you, here are the causes of urinary incontinence in your pups:

  • Urine retention.
  • Urethral disorders.
  • Neurological causes.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Anatomic abnormalities.
  • Mixed urinary incontinence.
  • Bladder storage dysfunction.

Although any dog can have this illness, it’s mostly female pooches that have it.

In fact, over 20% of all spayed female pups have this condition. 

Large breed dogs, in particular, are affected the most. 

Read Next: Why Is My Dog Suddenly Peeing A Lot (In The House)? 27 Tips

#12: Vaginal Neoplasia

Vaginal Neoplasia or vaginal tumors are the second most common tumors in pooches. 

And it can happen outside or inside the vagina. 

These tumors aren’t as obvious as others.

As a result, it can remain undiagnosed. 

In particular, unspayed pups who haven’t given birth yet are more prone to the disease. 

That’s why it’s advised to spay your pups.

This way, they can avoid having vaginal tumors. 

Research on 99 dogs with vaginal tumors supports this claim. 

It was found that you can effectively remove benign tumors through surgery. 

But afterward, the pooches must also be spayed to prevent tumor reoccurrence.

#13: Migration of foreign bodies

Experts conducted a study on a bulldog with vaginal inflammation. 

And they found that a long-retained foreign body in the pup’s private area caused the vaginitis. 

That’s why it’s good to be cautious with your pooch and foreign bodies that can cause a serious infection.

Warning: Although they’re uncommon, foreign bodies can be fatal. 

A perfect example of this is the weed, foxtail. Foxtail has a barbed seed head that can go anywhere in your Fido’s body.  This makes it very hard to remove. 

What’s even worse is that they don’t break down inside the body or come out on their own. 

Rather it moves deeper into your Fido and then eventually causes an infection. 

So once it’s in your pup, you must get it out quickly. 

To do that, here’s a helpful video you can watch:

Of course, prevention is always better than cure. 

Thus, you should always examine your pooch’s coat when they return from a walk. 

Make sure that they got no seeds or other things attached to them.

Why is my female dog’s private area swollen after heat?

Your female dog’s private area is swollen after heat because it would take some time for it to shrink back down. 

In fact, vets say that it would take at least 2-3 weeks for it to return to its normal size.

That’s if your female pooch wasn’t bred or is going through a false pregnancy. 

Bear in mind that it’s the hormone estrogen that caused your pup’s private area to enlarge. 

And it’s during the heat cycle when your pooch’s estrogen levels are at their highest. 

So after being in heat,  it would take some time for your pup’s estrogen to go back to its normal level. 

But if your female dog’s private area hasn’t shrunk down after a month or so from estrus. 

Then you may need to call your veterinarian. 

A vet must examine your pooch to know whether they’re pregnant.

Or if there’s something wrong with them.

Also, take note of any abnormal behavior from your pup. 

Tell your vet about what you observed to have a more accurate diagnosis.