Common Female Dog Problems

Learn about the five most common female dog problems. Discover the breeds more prone to these health issues and the signs and symptoms you need to know. Catching these diseases and conditions early generally leads to a quicker recovery.

Health Issues from Uterine Dog Problems

Pet owners who bypass having their dog spayed due to financial or personal beliefs risk their dog's health. Pyometra is a uterine issue occurring when a female dog is unspayed and never bred. During a heat cycle, a female dog's body produces ample amounts of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones cause cysts to form on the lining of the uterus. Without intercourse, those cysts continue to grow and eventually become infected causing the uterus to fill with pus. Surgical removal of the uterus is the only cure.

Understanding Canine Mammary Cancer Dog Problems

Mammary cancer is a common female dog problem affecting dogs allowed to go into heat before she is spayed. While dogs fixed before their first heat can develop mammary cancer, the risk is minimal at 0.05 percent. If a dog is spayed after her first heat, the odds for developing this form of breast cancer increases to 8 percent. Dogs spayed any point after a second heat face the biggest risk of 26 percent.

Cancerous canine mammary tumors develop in the mammary glands, usually showing up between the ages of 5 and 10 years. You'll feel hard lumps under the skin, usually the size of a pea to start. In just a month's time, the lumps will double in size. Left untreated, the tumors spread to the lymph nodes making the cancer harder to treat. Surgical removal of tumors is the best treatment.

Is Your Dog at Risk for Vaginitis

Among the leading female dog problems is vaginitis. Experts think most cases occur when an animal licks its genitals and transfers bacteria from the tongue into the vaginal cavity.

Puppies often develop a form of vaginitis that has no known cause. Some cases of vaginitis clear up by themselves in a day or two. Antibiotics will treat severe cases of vaginitis. If your veterinarian examines your dog and finds a problem in the structure of the vagina is causing the infection, surgical repair may be necessary.

Female Dog Problems Related to False Pregnancy

Some female dogs experience all the symptoms of pregnancy, but are, in fact, not pregnant. Unfixed female dogs go through their heat cycle twice a year. Hormone changes occur whether the female dog is pregnant or not. If the dog is pregnant, additional hormones kick in, if not, the hormone levels slowly wear off.

With a dog, it can take over two months for the hormones to wear off. During this time period, the body feels as though it is pregnant and the dog will do everything a pregnant dog would do, including:

  • Abdominal growth

  • Lactation

  • Nesting

Some dogs even appear to go into labor towards the end of the hormonal surge. Having your pet spayed eliminates the chances of a phantom pregnancy. Otherwise, during the fake pregnancy, avoid any contact with the mammary gland region or you'll deal with milk leaking and staining your carpeting and furniture.