Why Your Pregnant Dog Has a Discharge

A dog's two-month gestation period isn't long, but as an owner, it can seem like an eternity. You want everything to go right with your girl, and it's important to remember that most canine pregnancies are uneventful. While your veterinarian can answer your basic dog pregnancy questions, you want to familiarize yourself with what is happening in your dog's uterus from day one to day 63. That's the magic number of days for the average canine pregnancy.

Golden Retriever bitch with her litter.
credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/GettyImages

A discharge throughout a dog's pregnancy is not unusual, so don't panic if your beloved mother-to-be has some vaginal secretions. What is important is knowing the difference between normal discharge and one indicating trouble.

The mucus plug

A pregnant dog will develop a mucus plug over her cervix, which keeps bacteria out of the uterus, protecting the fetuses. This plug is a whitish fluid, according to Pet Helpful. The discharge may look like egg whites, and there is no odor. In some dogs, the mucus plug causes a discharge throughout the pregnancy.

If the entire plug comes out of the of the vagina, that indicates that puppies will arrive soon, but how soon varies by the animal. For some dogs, it is just a matter of hours, while in others the birth process won't start for a few days. If the mucus plug is green, bloody, or stinks, that's a red alert. It may indicate that the dog is battling a uterine infection or that she has dead fetuses within her.

A bloody discharge

A bloody discharge in a pregnant dog may prove the prelude to a miscarriage. You may or may not find the fetal remains, depending on the size of the fetuses at the time. As PetMD points out, it is critical not only to find out the reason for the miscarriage, but also to have the vet perform an ultrasound to make sure there are no fetal remains in the uterus. Leaving anything behind in the uterus can lead to hemorrhaging or infection.

A green discharge

A green discharge in a pregnant dog means that the placenta, which connects the puppies to the mother and provides nourishment, is separating, as per Whelping Puppies. If a puppy is not born immediately after the appearance of the green discharge, it will likely die in the womb. Take your pet to the emergency vet immediately if she produces a green discharge.

A brown discharge

If a brown discharge appears near the birth date, it's not in the same league as that of the green emanation. Dogs often have such a discharge, which is watery and may contain some mucous, shortly before going into labor. You should notice other signs of imminent delivery in your pet, such as nesting behaviors. If you are taking your dog's temperature twice daily and waiting for it to drop to signify the birth is near, you should notice a correlation between the brown discharge and the lower temperature.

Post-delivery discharge

Shar-Pei Pitbull Puppy Laying on Couch
credit: Lisa Van Dyke/Moment/GettyImages

After your dog delivers, she may continue having a discharge for a few weeks. Right after the birth, the discharge is black, red, or green — the latter is not so dangerous now. The discharge will change color over time, so that as it nears the end, whatever is coming out of the dog is tan or pinkish. However, if this discharge smells very bad, or you notice any pus, call the vet as soon as possible.

Other symptoms may accompany a post-delivery discharge indicating possible infection. These include fever, lethargy, or lack of appetite. You should also take your dog to the vet if the discharge does not lessen over a few weeks.