Female dogs in heat go through various symptoms and behaviors that can be quite concerning for pet parents. For instance, why does a female dog’s vulva swell when she’s in heat?
Have you noticed your female dog’s vulva swelling when she’s in heat? Are you worried about this symptom? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog has symptoms like this.
We’ve put together some information about what causes a female dog’s vulva to swell and what you can do to help your dog. Let’s get started!
What is Heat?
Female dogs go through heat, which is another term for a dog’s estrus cycle. During heat, a mature, unspayed female dog comes into heat about once every six months. Some dog breeds are mature at six months of age, while others may not have their first heat until they’re about two years old. The heat cycle lasts about three weeks.
The heat cycle is comprised of four stages:
Stage 1: pro-estrus takes place during the first seven to ten days. During this time, the female dog may experience bleeding or spotting. Her vulva also becomes more swollen due to the hormonal changes she’s experiencing at this time.
Stage 2: estrus begins about ten to thirteen days later. During this stage, the dog’s discharge may become pink and watery, and her vulva will continue to swell. She may also have the urge to get out of the house or yard to mate. If she does find a male to mate with, chances are your fur baby will become pregnant at this time.
Stage 3: if a female dog doesn’t become pregnant during her cycle, she will enter into the third stage, which is called dioestrus. During this state, the dog comes out of heat and will not be receptive to mating. This stage can last about two to three months and leads to the fourth stage of estrus.
Stage 4: anoestrus, is when the dog’s heat cycle ends and she is out of heat for four to five months. During this time, her vulva should return to its normal size and appearance.
Is There Anything to Worry About?
If your dog’s estrus cycle is normal and she’s healthy, there’s nothing to worry about. At the end of her cycle, her vulva should return to its normal size and appearance.
However, if you notice any changes in the appearance of your dog’s vulva and she’s showing other symptoms such as constant licking and discharge, it’s time to call the vet.
In most cases, there’s nothing to worry about if your dog’s vulva goes back to normal and she’s not exhibiting any other symptoms or signs of illness!