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Vaginal Discharge in a Pregnant Dog: When it is OK, When to Worry

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female dog in heat with bloody vulva discharge

This article was updated on May 2nd, 2023

So your dog is expecting!  How exciting!  Hopefully she’ll have an easy pregnancy and a simple delivery with no complications.  To ensure the best chance of a good outcome for mother and pups, preparation is key.

A dog’s gestation period (the time from conception to birth) is nine weeks long.  During these nine weeks discharge may be seen coming from the dog’s vulva (the opening to the female dog’s genitalia).  Sometimes this discharge or fluid referred to as vulvar or vaginal is normal. Sometimes it is a sign that something is wrong. How can we tell the difference?  How do you know when something is wrong?

Types of normal vaginal discharges often seen in pregnant dogs (by week of pregnancy)

A few factors come into play when trying to determine if a vaginal discharge is a sign of a serious problem.  The color and odor of the discharge, as well as the timeline of the pregnancy are all important. 

During the nine weeks of pregnancy some normal discharge will be seen.  Let’s go through the nine weeks of labor:

Weeks 1 and 2

Pregnant dogs should not have discharge during weeks 1 and 2. Typically no outward signs of pregnancy are seen this early on. At this point in time, it is impossible to know if your dog is pregnant.

If your pregnant dog has a vaginal discharge at one or two weeks you should call your veterinarian as it is likely that your dog is having a miscarriage.  Abnormal vaginal discharge is usually brown, black, green or purulent (pus like).  It is possible to lose a pup or two while some embryos remain viable.

WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]

Week 3

There are still no changes in your pregnant dog’s appearance.  You may notice an increase in her appetite, and she may be sleeping a bit more than she normally does. If your dog is small and thin enough a veterinarian may be able to palpate the embryos at this time.  Please do not attempt to do this yourself as it is possible to harm them.  At the end of week three you can confirm the pregnancy with a blood test.

Week 4

During the fourth week of pregnancy you may see clear discharge from your pregnant dog’s vulva.  It should be a small to moderate amount. As long as there is no odor, pus or blood, this is normal and nothing to worry about. 

There is a mucus plug that covers the cervix during pregnancy.  It sometimes leaks a bit causing the discharge.  The clear fluid may be tinged white or yellow. 

Also during the fourth week you will notice your momma dog’s appetite increase even more as well as her need for naps!  She may vomit occasionally.  Her nipples will start to become enlarged.

During the fourth week the pregnancy should be able to be confirmed via ultrasound.

Week 5

Your pregnant dog will continue to have a small to moderate discharge.  It may be clear, clear white, clear yellow or slightly tinged pink.  It will have a mucus like consistency. There is no need for concern unless the discharge has an odor or contains blood or pus. 

Your dog’s abdomen will increase in size and may become rigid as she starts to gain weight.  Her nipples will get even bigger and the veins on her belly will become dark and readily visible. 

Your momma dog will have an increased need for food at this time but will only be able to eat small amounts at one sitting.  She should be offered multiple small meals throughout the day.  She will continue to drink a lot of water and urinate frequently.  She will sleep a lot and experience occasional nausea.

Week 6

Your pregnant dog will continue to gain weight.  You may see small to moderate amounts of clear to white, yellow or pink tinged mucus like discharge. Your girl’s appetite may decrease taking her daily intake back to her pre pregnancy normal.

Week 7

In the seventh week the abdomen will become more distended, a lot of weight will be gained and the hair on the belly around the nipples will start to shed.  Milk may be seen coming from the nipples and the mammary glands will start to swell.  The clear or white or yellow tinged mucus like discharge may be seen.

Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.

Week 8

In the eighth week your dog’s abdomen will be distended.  She will have a decreased appetite and will start nesting behavior.   Her mammary glands will become even larger.  You should set up a whelping box at this time, as she is soon to deliver.  The mucus like discharge previously seen may continue. 

Week 9

During the ninth week your dog will display more nesting behavior.  She will have a decreased appetite and may be nauseous.

The mucus plug covering the cervix will be expelled.  It looks like a clump of stringy mucus similar to raw egg whites.  Your momma dog will most likely lick up the mucus plug before you have a chance to see it.  The plug is expelled hours to days before whelping.    

When a dog’s discharge indicates that labor is about to happen

Prior to whelping a green discharge may be seen coming from your pregnant dog’s vulva.  This is the uteroverdin, the green pigment of the placenta.  When the placenta detaches from the uterine wall uteroverdin is released. 

Once this green to greenish black fluid is seen a pup should be born imminently.  If no pup comes within fifteen minutes after the fluid you should call your veterinarian immediately as there is a good chance that the pup is distressed. 

During labor it is normal to see the green discharge, as long as puppies are also coming out!  A small amount of brown discharge during labor may be seen and is not a cause for concern if the delivery is going well.

Do I need to be worried about my pregnant dog’s discharge?

Below is a description of the types of vaginal discharges that you should not ignore – that warranty a call to your veterinarian asap:

  • Any vaginal discharge that has an odor is reason for concern and a veterinarian should be called right away.  The odor is indicative of either an infection or a dead pup.
  • Black Vaginal Discharge. Black discharge coming from your pregnant dog should cause serious concern.  It is often seen with miscarriages.  If seen, you should call your veterinarian immediately.
  • Red or Bloody Vaginal Discharge. If you see bloody discharge from your pregnant dog’s vulva  call your veterinarian right away, hemorrhage during a pregnancy or immediately prior to whelping is a sign of pregnancy loss.
  • White or Yellow Pus Like Vaginal Discharge. Purulent or pus like discharge from your dog’s vulva is a major concern.  You should call your veterinarian right away as your dog may have a uterine infection called a pyometra.

    This is life threatening to both mother and pups.  Pyometras progress quickly, by the time you see pus like discharge the infection is already severe.  A dog with a pyometra can progress from slightly sick in appearance to deathly ill within hours.
  • Green Vaginal Discharge From a pregnant dog before any pups are born. If you see a green discharge a pup should be born within fifteen minutes.  If no pup follows the fluid this is reason for concern and the veterinarian should be called. The green fluid called uteroverdin is released during birth when the placenta separates from the uterine wall.  It is normal if seen after a pup is born.

Signs of fetal death other than or in addition to vaginal discharge are vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, weakness, foul odor, extreme lethargy, decreased appetite, excessive drinking and urination.

It can be hard to discern illness from normal pregnancy behavior.  The best solution to this is to become familiar with the progression of the normal dog gestation cycle and have close ties to your veterinarian. 

Tips for a successful dog pregnancy

Let your vet know when you are planning to breed your dog. He or she can advise you on any necessary vaccines, nutrition and other preventive measures needed. It is recommended to take an x-ray after day forty five so that you know how many pups to expect.  It is helpful to know this during a birthing emergency.

It’s also a good idea to line up an emergency veterinarian. Things seem to have a tendency to go wrong at three in the morning!

Be prepared for whelping.  It is a good idea to have the whelping box ready weeks before it will be needed so that your dog will be comfortable with it.  It should be in a warm, dry place that is quiet, free from drafts and away from other dogs. 

The first stage of labor lasts for six to twelve hours.  Typically a dog in this stage is restless, panting and pacing.  She may refuse to eat and even vomit.  She may seek out a quiet private place. 

This is the time to put her in her whelping box and keep an unobtrusive eye on her.  Some whelping dogs become needy and want you with them, others want to be left alone.  Cater to their needs but don’t go too far away!  Most likely she will not need your help, but you want to be there if she gets into trouble. Please check out this link for more information on whelping:

Hopefully your pregnant pooch will sail through her pregnancy and give you plenty of healthy puppies!


  1.  Wenche, K. F. and Scient, 2008, ‘Pregnancy loss and abortion in dogs’.  British Small Animal Veterinary Congress
  2. Russo, A., Pellegrino, F.J. and Corrada, Y., 2014, ‘Simultaneous pyometra and viable puppies’ gestation in a bitch’, Open Vet J.2014; 4(2): 82-84, PMCID:PMC 4629608
  3. Brooks, L., ‘Common pregnant dog emergencies to watch out for’, EmergencyvetsUSA


  • Dr Sara Ochoa, Veterinarian

    Dr. Ochoa earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from St. George University in 2015, and completed her program with excellent scores. She has more than 7 years of experience practicing as a veterinarian for Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, TX.

  • Elana Benasutti, Vet Tech

    Elana Benasutti is a Certified Veterinary Technician in the state of Pennsylvania. She earned her degree from Harcum College located in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Elana spent her first ten years as a certified technician working as the ultrasound technician in the Radiology Department at the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary teaching hospital, MJR VHUP. Elana spent the next seventeen years as a critical care nurse in the Intensive Care Unit of MJR VHUP.

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