Why Does My Dog’s Vagina Smell Like Metal?
You may be concerned to find a weird smell emanating from your dog’s genitals. This article explains why your dog’s crotch may be smelling metallic and what you can do about it.
What Is The Metallic Smell? Iron Smell, Blood Smell?
The smell could be iron. Blood contains hemoglobin proteins. Hemoglobin contains heme groups, which contain iron. Conditions like UTIs can disrupt the heme groups, which increases the circulation of iron in your dog’s urine.
Is It Period Blood?
If it smells coppery, it could be blood. Bloody discharge from the vagina can result from a variety of factors including:
- Anatomic abnormalities
- Blood clotting disorders
Dogs don’t have period the way that humans do, so it isn’t that.
Female Dog Smells Like Iron (Is This Unusual)?
It can be disturbing when your dog is exhibiting unfamiliar symptoms. It isn’t necessarily unusual because the metallic smell has been linked to a number of infections and conditions that dogs can experience. However, it is probable that you will need to take your dog to the vet.
Why Does My Dog’s Vagina Smell Like Metal?
There are a variety of reasons your dog’s vagina could smell like metal, including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Anal gland secretion
- Anal gland blockage
When To Worry?
If it’s just your dog’s way of indicating that they’re going into heat, then you don’t need to worry. However, if your dog is incapable of going into heat or is showing other symptoms, it may be time to worry.
If your dog’s symptoms don’t align with any of the conditions in this article, you should consult your vet.
What Is A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
The metallic smell could also be a UTI. In that case, you could be smelling iron, an essential component of hemoglobin. A UTI could result in more iron in your dog’s urine, which is why you are smelling metal.
A UTI is an infection that occurs when bacteria enter the urethra. It can affect the bladder, the urinary tract, or the kidneys. UTIs have a variety of causes including:
- Weakened immune system
- Tumors in the bladder or urinary tract
- Abnormalities in the urinary tract
- Illnesses such as diabetes
How Do I Know My Dog Has A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
The smell probably won’t be the only symptom if your dog has a UTI. Other symptoms include:
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Frequent urination and thirst
- Genital licking
- Peeing in the house
- Whimpering during urination
It is also worth noting that a metallic smell may not be the only smell that is indicative of a UTI. Some describe the smell as rancid, while others compare it to that of a rotten fish.
Can Male Dogs Get A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
Any dog can get a UTI, though female dogs develop UTIs more commonly than male dogs. This is because male dogs have longer urethras, which means bacteria have to travel farther to invade the bladder.
Can Females Dogs Get A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
Yes, though as this article explains, there are other possible causes for your dog’s vagina to smell like metal.
Can Spayed Dogs Get A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
Yes. The difference between a spayed dog and an unspayed dog has nothing to do with the causes of a UTI. A spayed dog still has a urinary tract and bladder, so they can still get a UTI.
Can I Treat My Dog At Home For A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
UTIs are treated with medications: antibiotics, painkillers, and probiotics. You’ll need a vet’s help to confirm the diagnosis and get the appropriate prescriptions.
Should I Take My Dog To The Vet For A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
If untreated, the infection could spread to your dog’s kidneys, causing more health problems. Your vet will be able to confirm the UTI with a urine test and prescribe an antibiotic to treat your dog.
How Should I Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
Most of the causes of a UTI are underlying conditions that need to be treated on their own. The few that aren’t are caused by bacteria going up into the urethra and infecting the bladder. Thus, the best way to prevent a UTI is maintain a sanitary environment for your dog.
What Is Vaginainitis?
As the name implies, vaginainitis is the inflammation of the vagina. It is usually a harmless condition that goes away on its own, but older dogs may need to get it treated.
How Do I Know My Dog Has Vaginainitis?
Just because your dog has vaginainitis doesn’t mean that they’ll act sick. Look out for symptoms like:
- Attraction of male dogs
- Discharge from the vulva (typically cloudy and white to yellow in color)
- Frequent urination or frequent attempted urination
- Irritation of the skin around the genital area (from excessive licking)
Can Females Dogs Get Vaginainitis?
As owners of vaginas, female dogs can get vaginaitis. It can be caused by anything that causes inflammation or irritation. Other causes include:
- A structural abnormality in the crotch area that facilitates bacterial infection
- Certain conditions that cause sex hormones to be imbalanced
- Foreign material in the vagina (e.g., dust or dirt)
- Medications like hormone-producing steroids or creams
- Viral infection, like canine herpesvirus
Can Spayed Dogs Get Vaginainitis?
Spaying your dog doesn’t change the fact that they have a vagina, so they can still get vaginainitis. Common causes of vaginainitis have nothing to do with whether or not a dog has a uterus.
Can I Treat My Dog At Home For Vaginainitis?
It depends on how serious the case is. In mild cases, the condition can go away on its own. You can help things along by keeping your dog’s genital area clean and dry by using wet, unscented baby wipes. This is mostly the case if it’s your puppy that has vaginainitis.
If you have a cone lying around, you may want to use that so your dog isn’t tempted to lick themselves and exacerbate the irritation.
Should I Take My Dog To The Vet For Vaginainitis?
In more serious cases, however, you should take them to the vet. This would be the case if you are noticing particularly worrying symptoms like swelling, irritation, or signs of discomfort.
Your vet will test the discharge to see if there are any other issues that need to be addressed. They will also look for signs of infection. They may also do some blood work to make sure your dog doesn’t have something more serious, or do an X-ray or ultrasound to examine your dog’s urinary tract.
Depending of the severity of the case, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or even schedule your dog for surgery.
How Should I Prevent Vaginainitis?
How to prevent it depends on the cause. If its due to a viral infection, you can write it off as a one-off event. If it’s cancer, then you’ll obviously need to treat the cancer. If the problem was your dog’s medication, you’ll need to consult with your vet about changing medications.
If your dog is particularly vulnerable to vaginainitis, perhaps because of a structural abnormality, you can prevent vaginainitis by keeping their genital area clean and dry. Wipe them down after they play outside or pee.
What Is Metritis?
Metritis is the inflammation of a dog’s uterus lining due to a bacterial infection. It often occurs a week after a dog has given birth, but it can also manifest after an abortion, miscarriage, or non-sterile artificial insemination.
How Do I Know My Dog Has Metritis?
One of the symptoms is metallic-smelling discharge, so metritis could be the cause of the smell of your dog’s vagina. However, this is only a possibility if your dog has just given birth or miscarried.
Other symptoms include:
- Abdominal swelling
- Dark red gums
- Decreased milk production
- Discharge that smells bad, discharge with pus, or dark-green discharge
- Increased heart rate (if the bacterial infection becomes systemic)
- Loss of appetite
- Neglect of the newborn puppies
- Swollen, dough-like abdomen
Can Male Dogs Get Metritis?
Given that it happens after a reproductive-related event, only female dogs contract metritis.
Can Females Dogs Get Metritis?
Unspayed female dogs who have gone through a reproductive-related event (such as birth, miscarriage, or abortion) can get metritis. It is particularly common in dogs that went through a difficult birthing process or may have retained the placenta.
If your dog hasn’t given birth or had a miscarriage or abortion recently, you can rule out metritis.
Can Spayed Dogs Get Metritis?
No. Metritis is the inflammation of the dog’s uterine lining. A spayed dog doesn’t have a uterine lining because a spayed dog doesn’t have a uterus.
Can I Treat My Dog At Home For Metritis?
No. Even in the most mild cases, the treatment is to remove the dog’s uterus, which you can’t do at home. They may also need fluid therapy to stabilize their internal imbalances.
You can’t ignore the symptoms of metritis because the infection can reach the point of sepsis.
Should I Take My Dog To The Vet For Metritis?
You should take your dog to the vet if you think she has metritis.
The vet will confirm if your dog has metritis by testing their discharge for bacteria. They might also use an X-ray or ultrasound to see the inside of your dog’s uterus.
Your vet will then prescribe antibiotics or therapy for your dog.
How Should I Prevent Metritis?
The easiest way to prevent metritis is to get your dog spayed. You can’t get a uterine infection if you don’t have a uterus.
What Is Pyometra?
Pyometra is a serious uterine infection. It literally translates to “pus uterus,” meaning that your dog is releasing pus from their uterus. This pus would be the cause of the smell.
How Do I Know My Dog Has Pyometra?
Here are some of the signs to look out for to confirm whether your dog has pyometra:
- Excessive pus emanating from the vagina
- Increased urination and thirst
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Unpleasant smell from the vagina
Can Male Dogs Get Pyometra?
No. The condition is linked to a dog’s female genitalia.
Can Females Dogs Get Pyometra?
Yes, since the cause is directly related to a dog’s uterus. It is more commonly found in older female dogs, especially a month or two after a heat cycle.
Can Spayed Dogs Get Pyometra?
No. Spaying your dog is the best way to prevent pyometra since the condition is linked to a dog’s uterus. If a dog doesn’t have a uterus, they can’t get pyometra.
Can I Treat My Dog At Home For Pyometra?
No. If your dog has pyometra, they will need surgery.
Should I Take My Dog To The Vet For Pyometra?
You should take your dog to the vet right away because pyometra can be fatal.
The surgery to treat pyometra is an ovariohysterectomy, a surgery that removes the uterus and the ovaries. This is more complicated that spaying your dog. If the case is advanced, the surgical procedure is even more complex.
Your dog will need to be hospitalized and will need IV fluids before and after the surgery in order to stabilize.
How Should I Prevent Pyometra?
You should spay your dog as soon as possible. It is preferable to do so while the dog is still young, but if you want your dog to breed, you can wait until after they have passed their breeding age.
Your Dog Is In Heat
If your dog is secreting bloody vaginal discharge, they’re probably in heat. Obviously, this isn’t a possibility if you had your dog spayed.
If you dog is in heat, then this is normal and you don’t need to take them to the vet. You can try reducing the smell by dosing them with liquid chlorophyll or having your dog wear diapers.
Anal Glands Secretion
It may have nothing to do with your dog’s vagina and everything to do with their anal glands. In this case, the dog’s anal glands could be leaking anal sac fluid or the anal glands could be blocked.
A dog’s anal glands often produce smelly secretions, this is how dogs identify each other and mark their territory. It is natural for a dog’s body to release anal fluid after pooping.
The glands can be blocked due to problems related to digestive problems, obesity, or even allergies. Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Abnormal tail position
- Area where the dog was sitting is wet
- Dragging or scooting the rear end
- Licking of the rectum
- Painful bowel movements
- Swelling or redness on dog’s rear end
If the glands are blocked, the dog must be treated right away since this can lead to infections. It can be treated at home, but it is better to take your dog to the vet since it’s risky for you to try it yourself. The vet will gently squeeze the anal glands to release the fluid from the duct, repeating until all the pressure has been removed from the gland and the fluid is fully emptied. Your dog may continue to scoot on their butt for some time afterward, but they’ll be okay.