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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19590
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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dog: heat and her vulva is swollen..trouble walking..tail between

Customer Question

My dog is in heat and her vulva is swollen. It seems that she is having trouble walking and she is keeping her tail between her legs. Is this normal for when a dog is in heat? Is she in any pain?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 years ago.
Hi Rcaldwell,

A dog's vulva does become swollen during the heat cycle and this is entirely normal. It should last for about 3 weeks. If this is her first heat, it may be uncomfortable for her. You will want to check and be sure that there is no inner tissue coming out of the vulva. If there isn't, then she is pretty normal. When she reaches the second stage of heat (usually the second week), then her tail should come up. She may hold it back down during the third and final week of the heat cycle.

She shouldn't be in pain, just a bit uncomfortable. There is no medication that you can give your dog as the only safe medication would increase the bleeding. You can let your female curl up with a warm water bottle or warm towel on her belly. Many dogs in heat exhibit behavioral changes and cry but the crying is due to the urge to mate and not being able to.

To eliminate these symptoms, it is best to spay your female if you have no intentions on mating her in the future.

Hope this helps.