Female dogs will normally bleed out from their vaginas when in heat. However, there are some cases when bleeding can become excessive or triggered by serious health problems. With this, many dog owners wonder: why is my dog bleeding from her private area? In this post, I will discuss the potential reasons behind this occurrence and what you need to do.
It can be really appalling to see blood coming out of your dog’s body. But before you panic, you should read on and consult the vet.
Why is my dog bleeding from her private area?
Before you consider the following possibilities, it’s important to check whether your dog is indeed bleeding from its private area. In some cases, pet owners mistake blood in urine to be coming from the canine’s vagina.
If you confirmed that the bleeding is coming from the reproductive area, the following could be the reasons why:
The most common reason female dogs will bleed from their private area is the estrus or heat cycle. This is a normal occurrence once the dog reaches sexual maturity.
Take note that heat cycles will start at the age of 6 to 8 months, though some dogs may experience it later at 12 months. Generally, heat cycles will start earlier for smaller breeds than larger ones.
Once your dog reaches sexual maturity, expect it to experience heat cycles once or twice a year. This will pass naturally after a few weeks. The only thing you need to do is keep your dog clean and make sure it doesn’t mate with another dog if you’re not ready for more puppies.
But my dog is already spayed! In this case, you might be dealing with ovarian remnants, which means that ovarian tissues remain in the dog’s body, which triggered the menstruation. It’s best to get your dog diagnosed for this, to be sure.
However, there is also the so-called ‘silent heat’ among dogs. This is an estrus cycle wherein bleeding, and other symptoms aren’t observable. However, the dog remains viable for pregnancy.
If your dog is pregnant, the possible reason for heavy bleeding is miscarriage. Take note that dogs suffering from a miscarriage can have other vaginal discharge colors, including black, green, brown, and pus-colored.
During a miscarriage, some dogs will be in labor and deliver stillborn puppies. However, if the puppies didn’t come out, you have to bring your dog to the vet right away. This condition becomes deadly for your pet by the hour.
If you’re unsure whether your dog is miscarrying or not, the vet will perform an ultrasound to check the puppies. Also, an abnormal progesterone level will indicate a failing pregnancy or looming miscarriage. Blood tests and microscopic examination will also be done to confirm a miscarriage.
Vaginal inflammation or vaginitis can also lead to a bloody discharge on your dog’s private area. This is usually accompanied by difficulty or frequent urination. You’ll also notice your dog licking its private areas often or scooting it all over the floor.
Moreover, vaginitis is a very common condition among dogs. It can be due to infection, anatomical abnormalities, sexual immaturity, and so on.
Treatment for this will always depend on your dog’s condition. Most of the time, the vet will prescribe vaginal douches made specifically for dogs. Nevertheless, some cases of vaginitis will resolve on their own once the dog reaches its first heat cycle.
The good thing is that most dogs will respond well to medications for vaginitis. But if the bleeding persists, you should call the vet right away.
Pyometra is another cause of vaginal bleeding among dogs. It’s an infection secondary to hormonal changes in the canine’s reproductive system.
This occurs when the dog’s progesterone levels remain high for two months after the heat cycle. When this happens, the lining of the dog’s uterus thickens. This is the body’s response as a preparation for pregnancy.
However, if the dog doesn’t get pregnant, pyometra causes the uterus lining to continue thickening. Over time, cysts will form inside the uterus. And as the cysts grow, they will emit fluids that make the uterus a perfect breeding ground for infections.
Over time, your dog’s uterus will become swollen and infected. This will be followed by pus discharge and bleeding.
Moreover, pyometra can occur to any intact dog. It’s most common to older dogs, but young ones are no exception. It also occurs mostly two to eight weeks after the dog’s last heat cycle.
Signs that your dog has pyometra:
- Refusal to eat
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
Another important thing to know is that pyometra can either be open or close. With an open pyometra, the dog’s cervix remains exposed, which allows the infection to drain on its own. This case is much easier to treat, and the dog will suffer from fewer symptoms.
On the other hand, closed pyometra happens when the cervix isn’t open, which blocks the drainage of the infection. This is harder to diagnose and treat, not to mention that the infection can become toxic to dogs. In the long run, this may lead to heavier bleeding and life-threatening consequences.
As for the treatment, it will depend on whether the vet is dealing with open or closed pyometra. With the open type, antibiotics and conservative treatments could be enough. Still, your dog will have to stay in the animal hospital for a night or two.
In the case of closed pyometra, surgery is the best solution. However, it’s a risky procedure, and the vet would have to be careful not to spill the infection. This will be accompanied by the administration of strong antibiotics. Aside from that, your canine will have to stay in the hospital for a few days.
Aside from pyometra, vaginal tumors are also a potential cause of bleeding. It can be benign or malignant, so it’s best to get your dog checked by a licensed veterinarian.
Take note that vaginal tumors are the second most common form of abnormal growth in a female dog’s reproductive system. It’s also more likely to occur on unspayed canines.
As with any tumor, the ones located in the vagina can be of different types. It could be fibroleiomyomas that are benign or carcinomas that could spread aggressively if not treated right away.
The following are some of the signs that your dog has a vaginal tumor:
- Mass on the vagina, either palpable or visible
- Vulvar bleeding
- Vaginal odor
- Difficulty urinating
- Bloody urine
- Licking of the genital area
A vaginal tumor can be caused by infections and genetic problems. Old age and exposure to chemicals will also increase a canine’s risk of developing this health problem. Take note that aside from bleeding, vaginal tumors can also trigger life-threatening consequences.
Being hit by a car, falling from elevated space, or being abused by humans can also lead to vaginal bleeding among dogs. This is an emergency since there’s a high chance that the dog is suffering from serious internal injuries.
Treatment and prognosis will largely depend on the extent of your dog’s injury. It’s also important to seek veterinary care as soon as you discover the bleeding.
🐶Dislodged foreign matter
In rare cases, there could be dislodged foreign matter inside your dog’s vagina, which can cause bleeding. It can be a sharp blade of grass, a small toy, and whatnot. It has to be removed right away, or the foreign matter will cause a massive infection. And if it blocks menstrual flow, the situation will be life-threatening for canines.
Nevertheless, this situation is quite rare, but it can still happen to some dogs. Again, the veterinarian is the person to call.
What should I do when my dog has vaginal bleeding?
If you discover that your pet is bleeding from its private area, you should remain calm. Never attempt to self-medicate, as it will surely make things worse. Instead, you should do the following:
- Limit the dog’s physical activity. While you’re yet to know the cause of bleeding, it’s best to put your dog in a crate. This is crucial, especially in the case of trauma, where excessive movement can make things worse. Also, you should keep your dog indoors and away from other pets.
- Call the vet. Once your dog is secure, you should phone the vet immediately. Describe the condition of your dog, the amount of blood you’re seeing, and other symptoms. This will help the veterinarian assist you in providing first aid. But in most cases, the vet will ask you to bring the dog to the clinic as soon as possible.
Preventing vaginal bleeding in dogs
If the cause of bleeding is heat cycles, there’s no reason for you to stop it. You just have to let the bleeding run its course while providing care to your dog.
Moreover, bleeding due to heat cycles can be stopped by spaying the dog. This involves removing the reproductive organs responsible for hormonal changes that trigger menstruation and conception.
You should also know that vaginal infections can start in the urinary tract. It’s important to keep your dog hydrated to flush out bacteria and wastes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can spayed dogs still bleed?
A: Spayed dogs will no longer experience vaginal bleeding that’s related to heat cycles. This is because the canine’s reproductive organs have already been removed. If your spayed dog starts bleeding from its private area, you must bring it to the vet immediately. This is likely due to a serious health problem.
Q: Is blood in dog urine considered an emergency?
A: Blood in urine indicates that the canine is suffering from a urinary tract infection or inflammation. It should always be considered serious, which requires immediate veterinary care. You should have your dog checked immediately to have the condition diagnosed and treated properly.
Q: Can you stop female dogs from bleeding?
A: If you want your female dog to stop bleeding, the best way is to have it spayed. Spaying will remove the reproductive organs of the canine, which will stop heat cycles and vaginal bleeding. Some say that hormonal drugs help, but this is extremely risky and pointless to use.
Q: At what age do female dogs stop getting their period?
A: Dogs don’t undergo menopause as humans do. Unspayed canines will continue to bleed during heat cycles, which is around twice a year. This will occur for the rest of your dog’s life unless you have it fixed. However, you should know that unspayed dogs will have a higher risk of developing pyometra, an infection in the reproductive tract.
Q: How do you help a dog in heat and bleeding?
A: You should never scold or punish your dog for making a bloody mess at home. Instead, you can place her in a doggy diaper. This will also prevent mating with other dogs, especially if you cannot care for more cats. Aside from that, you should keep the dog hydrated and well-rested.
Why is my dog bleeding from her private area? Vaginal bleeding is normal for dogs during heat cycles. However, it can also be a sign of serious health problems like pyometra, tumors, vaginitis, and so on. Therefore, it’s always best to bring your dog to the vet’s clinic for proper examination and treatment. In the long run, early diagnosis will save your pet from intense suffering and life-threatening consequences.