As a dog owner, I am concerned when things happen out of the blue to my dog. This usually means that something is out of sync with its body.
If you have a female dog, there might be times when you notice that your dog is leaking clear fluid. This mysterious discharge might be smelly as well and can leave you feeling worried.
What could be causing your female dog to be leaking clear fluid?
The clear fluid from your female dog could be caused by a few factors like urinary tract infection, urinary incontinence, vaginitis, etc. The leakage could also be coming from your dog’s anal glands. Hence it is important to ascertain the source of the discharge.
In this article, we’ll examine potential causes for your female dog’s clear fluid leakage along with prevention strategies and care tips.
What Can Cause Leakage in Female Dogs?
When we think about leakages from a female dog, the first thing that comes to mind would be an abnormal vaginal discharge.
That is true in some cases.
But there are actually 3 orifices that the leakage can come from.
It can be difficult to ascertain the source of the discharge if the only evidence is wet patches on your dog’s bed. There are times when discharge can be easily seen coming out from the orifice.
We will cover the 3 types of discharges so that you will be in a better position to figure out what is wrong with your dog.
A vaginal discharge is any liquid that is coming from your dog’s vulva. The discharge may appear clear, bloody, filled with mucus, or even contain pus.
It can be odorless or have a bad smell.
The color of the discharge can also be yellowish or greenish in color depending on the cause.
Your Dog Is In Heat
If you notice a clear odorless fluid coming from your dog’s vagina, that could be a sign that your dog is in its heat cycle which happens about twice a year.
A female dog that isn’t spayed can reach sexual maturity at 6 months of age. Large or giant dog breeds can take longer to be in heat, usually 18 to 24 months.
The first phase of your dog’s heat cycle is called protesters which can last from 4-17 days.
This is when you will notice your dog’s vagina starting to swell along with some discharge.
The next stage is called the estrus cycle which lasts from 3-21 days. It is during this stage that the bleeding stops and the discharge starts to get clear.
It is during this time that your dog is the most fertile and will be ready to mate with male dogs.
If this is your first female dog and she isn’t spayed, this clear fluid that you are seeing could just be normal vaginal discharge from her estrus cycle.
It can be easy to not notice that your dog has started her heat cycle if there is very minimal spotting.
And I’m pretty sure we don’t spend a good portion of the day staring at our dog’s private bits to notice any swelling too.
Vaginitis is basically a condition whereby the dog’s vagina is inflamed which can cause swelling and discharge which can range from clear to cloudy in color.
There are two forms of vaginitis that you should be aware of which are juvenile vaginitis and adult vaginitis.
Juvenile vaginitis affects puppies or dogs that have yet to reach sexual maturity.
These young dogs don’t exhibit any clinical signs except for having some clear to cloudy discharge at the opening of the vagina.
There can be a high volume of discharge which can cause some concern to the owner.
Adult vaginitis affects adult dogs. It is more commonly seen in spayed dogs than in unspayed or intact dogs.
These dogs can also show signs of a clear to cloudy discharge from the vagina.
Other symptoms can also include:
- Urinary incontinence
- Excessive licking of the vulva
- Pus in the discharge
Causes Of Vaginitis
A vaginal area that is moist and warm is usually more prone to be at risk of vaginitis.
Bacterial infection is a common cause of vaginitis as it thrives in such an environment.
There are a number of possible causes that can cause vaginitis in your female dog:
- Having a recessed vulva
- Bacterial infection
- Dirt or dust in the vagina
- Imbalanced sex hormones
Treatment For Vaginitis
The vet will have to perform a physical examination of your dog’s vagina to diagnose the underlying cause.
A sample of the discharge might also be examined under a microscope to check for the presence of bacteria.
In mild cases, just keeping the vulva area clean and dry is enough to clear up the problem. Antibiotics might be required for more severe cases.
Pyometra happens when there is a change in the dog’s hormonal level within its reproductive tract.
The lining of the uterus continues to thicken due to the hormone called progesterone.
The thickening of your dog’s uterus can get out of hand causing the formation of cysts that secret fluid and make the uterus a conducive environment for bacterial growth.
All female dogs that aren’t spayed can get pyometra but it is more commonly seen in intact older dogs.
Some of the common symptoms of pyometra include:
- Vaginal discharge
- Weight loss
- Kidney failure
Treatment For Pyometra
Pyometra can be life-threatening and should be treated by a vet as soon as possible. The most common form of treatment is surgery to remove the infected womb.
It’s not uncommon for a dog to not eat much after its pyometra surgery. But it is important for you to try and whip up its appetite.
The earlier that the infected womb or uterus is removed from your dog, the better the chances of survival and making a full recovery.
You definitely do not want to sit on this issue as the more infected your dog’s womb is, the more complications can arise.
For most dogs, a urinal discharge is usually the most common form of leakage as the discharge can be clear and odorless.
Here are some known health problems that can cause it.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Many dogs would have gotten a UTI at least once in their lifetime.
It is more common in female dogs but male dogs can get it too.
My dog had UTI twice and it happened out of the blue which was a really frustrating experience for both of us.
Urinary tract infections happen when your dog’s urinary tract becomes inflamed.
It is caused when bacteria move up your dog’s urethra or pee hole and causes an infection.
This can happen when your dog sits on contaminated feces or soil.
A weakened immune system can also cause your dog’s own gastrointestinal tract bacteria to wreak havoc with its urinary system.
Symptoms Of UTI
There are a number of signs to look out for when your dog is having a UTI:
- Straining to urinate
- Excessive thirst
- Cry or whine when peeing
- Dripping urine
- Blood in urine
The biggest telltale sign that made me realize that my dog had UTI was the frequent need to urinate. He will be whining to go out to pee even after we just went half an hour ago.
Not only did he have to pee frequently but there also wasn’t much urine most times. He also looked like he was in a lot of pain.
There were days when I would also find his leaving small clear puddles of fluid where he slept.
Treatment For UTI
Urinary tract infections need to be medically treated with antibiotics. The vet will do a urine analysis of your dog to look for the bacteria that is causing the problem.
Feeding your dog a good diet and also ensuring that it drinks enough water are some effective ways of preventing UTIs in your dog.
If your dog is on dry food, you can try soaking its kibbles in chicken broth to encourage more fluid intake.
Urinary incontinence is when your dog is unable to hold it in due to a medical condition or having a weak bladder.
This condition can happen to dogs of all ages but we usually tend to see it in older dogs and female dogs who have been spayed.
Other causes of urinary incontinence are:
- Birth defects
- Spinal cord injury
- Hormonal imbalance
- Urinary stones
If your dog leaks urine onto itself, skin irritation may occur due to urine’s caustic nature.
Identifying the issue can be challenging at times, especially if your dog drinks a lot of water and has diluted urine.
Treatment Of Urinary Incontinence
Using adult diapers or taking your dog out for more frequent toilet breaks will help prevent it from leaking urine all over itself.
Proin is a common form of medication that is used to treat dogs with urinary incontinence.
Some dog owners have claimed that the problem comes back once they start to wean their dogs off proin.
This is something that you should discuss with your vet before proceeding.
The last form of discharge can come from your dog’s anal sacs which are situated at the opening of its anus.
These anal sacs contain a dark-colored and oily fluid that contains your dog’s pheromones.
This is why dogs tend to smell each other’s butt when they meet to find out more about the other dog.
When these anal glands get infected, they can start to leak out of your dog’s anus.
The discharge might be clear but I’m sure it will smell pretty strong like ‘butt death’.
Treatment For Impacted Anal Sacs
The most effective way is to get your dog’s anal glands emptied or expressed. You can do it yourself or at the vet.
Let me just say that this task isn’t for the faint of heart due to the smell and sight. I have tried expressing my dog’s anal glands before and it almost took my lunch.
If the infection is caused by bacteria, the vet will prescribe a course of antibiotics for your dog which you need to complete.
Why Is My Female Dog Leaking Clear Fluid From Its Anus?
The clear fluid from your dog’s anus could be a mucoid discharge that is produced in the dog’s colon.
Heavy mucus secretion from your dog’s anus could indicate an underlying health issue such as:
- Irritable bowel disorder
- Intestinal parasites
- Food allergy
You might also notice that your dog is passing out a clear liquid with this condition.
Why Is My Female Dog Leaking Smelly Fluid?
If the discharge from your female dog is smelly, that should be a cause for concern. A smelly discharge is usually a strong indication of an infection in your dog’s body.
Infections can occur when bacteria or other pathogens enter the dog’s body and begin to multiply.
It can also be due to inverted nipples in dogs which are prone to infection. This health issue occurs more frequently in female dogs and dogs that are pregnant.
When this happens, the pathogens can produce unpleasant odors and cause inflammation and discomfort for the dog.
Allowing such infections to go untreated can lead to more serious health problems for your dog.
It is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.