You can expect plenty of changes to take place as your pet dog matures. If this is the first time you’re caring for a dog, some of the changes may catch you off guard. Female dogs, in particular, may develop in ways you didn’t expect.
It’s your job as the pet owner to be fully aware of what’s happening to your dog’s body. In this article, we will highlight changes that take place when female dogs reach a certain point of maturity. We’re talking specifically about the changes that emerge when they are in heat.
Use the information you learn here to understand how your pet dog is maturing. You’ll be better equipped to deal with those changes after reading through the rest of this article.
Do Dog’s Nipples Get Bigger in Heat?
The first time your dog enters their heat cycle is a significant point in their development. They will experience changes during that time that will permanently affect their body.
Three common signs emerge when a female dog is in heat.
First off, you have the most common sign and that is the appearance of bloody discharge. The color of the blood expelled will change throughout the heat cycle. It can go from red to an almost flesh color before turning back to red again.
A female dog will also have a swollen vulva while in heat. The vulva will increase in size noticeably during the dog’s heat period. Notably, the vulva will decrease in size once the heat period has passed, but it will still be bigger than what it was before the first heat.
Lastly, you may also observe that your dog’s nipples have swollen. The increase in the size of the nipples is not always that obvious. You may not notice it until you look closely.
This is also a good time to point certain quirks in how the dog’s nipples may swell.
For example, your dog’s nipples may not swell to the same size and that is normal. Her two bottom nipples are most likely going to appear bigger than the others.
Why Are My Dog’s Nipples Getting Bigger?
Your dog’s nipples may get noticeably bigger for different reasons. In this section, we detail the common explanations for that change. Check them out so you can better understand what is going on with your beloved pet.
Your Dog Is in Heat
We already touched on the matter above, but a female dog’s nipples may get larger when she is in heat. This is a normal occurrence and nothing that should cause you alarm.
Your Dog Is Pregnant
Your pet dog’s nipples may also grow larger because she is pregnant. In that case, the swelling may be caused by milk accumulating in your dog’s nipples. Her nipples may also start to grow reddish in color due to the milk.
Your Dog Is Experiencing a False Pregnancy
The explanation for your dog’s swollen nipples could be a false pregnancy. In addition to the swollen nipples, dogs experiencing a false pregnancy may also produce liquid from their nipples. The liquid in question is not milk, but it does bear a resemblance to that substance.
You should know that false pregnancies are remarkably common among unspayed female dogs. Don’t dismiss the possibility of your dog experiencing a false pregnancy because it could very well be the case.
Your Dog Has Mastitis
Another potential explanation for your dog’s enlarged nipples is an infection known as mastitis. Mastitis occurs when certain bacteria are able to infect your dog’s body. This is also a type of infection that usually affects pregnant dogs.
You must take action immediately if your dog has mastitis. Left untreated, mastitis can have a devastating effect on your pet’s health.
Pet owners will be able to tell that their dog has mastitis by observing her nipples. A dog with mastitis will expel pus from her nipples. The nipples themselves may also be more sensitive to pain.
Your Dog Is Affected by Allergies
The enlarged nipples on your dog’s body may also be side effects of an allergic reaction. They may have come into contact with an allergen while you were walking them. A bug may have also crawled on their body and bit them near the nipple to cause the swelling.
Swollen nipples caused by allergies are different from the rest because they are itchy. Your dog may scratch or even try to bite her nipples as a response to the itchiness.
Your Dog Is Injured
Try as you might to keep your pet protected, they may still get injured from time to time. If the injury occurs near their chest, their nipples may swell as a result. Swollen nipples caused by injuries are easy to detect because they are accompanied by bruising.
Your Dog Has Masses under Her Skin
A dog may also have enlarged nipples due to masses that have formed under her skin. You can feel around that part of your dog’s body to check for the masses.
The emergence of the masses is not a welcome development. There’s a chance that those masses have appeared because your dog has cancer. Take your dog to the veterinarian right away to get a proper diagnosis if you feel those masses.
Will My Dog’s Nipples Get Smaller after Heat?
The enlarged nipples that appear when your dog is in heat are not permanent. They will eventually revert to their normal size.
Usually, the swelling will persist for about two weeks. After those two weeks have passed, you will start to notice her nipples getting smaller.
Don’t be surprised if it takes longer for your dog’s nipples to shrink again. Because a dog’s heat cycle often lasts for three weeks, her nipples may also stay swollen throughout that stretch.
If your dog still has enlarged nipples after her heat period, take that as a sign that the swelling is caused by a separate issue.
What to Do if My Dog’s Nipples Are Getting Bigger?
The first thing you need to do if your dog has swollen nipples is to check for masses. You want to be certain that the swelling is not caused by cancer.
Assuming your dog passes that check, you can now observe them for a while. Observe how they react to the swelling.
If your dog is scratching or biting her nipples, you should take her to the vet. She may be having an allergic reaction and you must get that treated. In the meantime, you should put an Elizabethan collar around your pet’s head so she doesn’t bite her nipples.
You should still take your dog to the veterinarian even if the swollen nipples are side effects of her being pregnant or in heat. The veterinarian can tell you how to make your dog more comfortable during that time so follow their instructions.