Dog Smegma & How To Handle It With Your Dog

Dog Smegma isn’t something that’s commonly talked about, and it often instals a sense of embarrassment in dog owners who aren’t familiar with the symptoms. The good news is you don’t need to feel shy about this topic of conversation, as it’s actually a very common condition in canines. 

Smegma is a yellow or greenish pus that can sometimes be found oozing out of a dog’s penis. While this discharge is natural and very rarely cause for concern, you may want to get your pet checked out by a vet if he’s constantly licking his genital area. But first, in order to recognise when something’s wrong, it’s important to know what’s normal when it comes to your dog’s penis.

The basic anatomy of a dog’s penis

On the outside of your dog’s penis you’ll find the prepuce (or sheath as it’s commonly known) — the skin and other tissues that surround the penis when non-erect. You’ll find that a healthy penis is usually bright pink or red. This is caused by the mucous membrane which covers it. Sometimes, at the end of your dog’s penis at the opening to the prepuce, a small amount of yellowish or green-tinged discharge can collect. This is smegma, and it’s perfectly normal in healthy dogs.

But what exactly is dog smegma?

Smegma is a mixture of dead skin cells, oils and moisture. Combined, they make a useful lubricant during sexual intercourse. The colour of the discharge will completely depend on your dog’s biological make-up, but the shades can vary greatly from pooch to pooch. If you want to double check your dog’s smegma, take a look while he’s sleeping and take a note of how much discharge has collected and the colour — you might need to tell a vet later on.

When can smegma be a problem?

Dog Smegma could be the sign of something more serious; look out for foul smelling discharge, swelling of the sheath, excessive licking or dripping. Any of these symptoms could indicate the following:

  • Urinary tract infections or inflammation of the bladder.
  • Bacterial infections.
  • Tumors, trauma or stones in the urethra. 
  • Allergies that are affecting the skin.
  • Reproductive health issues.
  • Inflamed penis.
  • External injuries.
  • Infection or inflammation of the prostate.
  • Prostate disorders.

If you are noticing any abnormal symptoms that you’re worried about, contact your vet straight away. 

Treatment of smegma

Smegma often needs no treatment, but if there are enough worrying symptoms to warrant a trip to the vets, the following treatment will be offered:

  • The vet will undertake a thorough check of your dog’s genitals, as well as a complete health check.
  • A blood test will probably be taken to check for inflammation or infection. 
  • A sample of the discharge will be taken to check for bacterial culture. 
  • Your dog’s abdomen may be X-rayed to check for prostate abnormalities.
  • An ultrasound could be ordered for a more thorough examination of your dog’s abdomen. 

How to clean dog smegma yourself

If a trip to the vets is off the cards and you’re happy that your dog’s smegma leaves no cause for concern, you may wish to clean off the excess discharge. In most cases your dog will take care of it themselves, so only do this if they need a helping hand. 

  • Wet a plain cloth with water. 
  • Use non-perfumed puppy wipes. Make sure they contain no harsh chemicals or other nasties that may sting.
  • If a little dry and crusty, use warm salty water on a clean cloth. 
  • Using one of the above methods, push the sheath backwards to expose the penis, gently wiping to remove the smegma. If you have a female dog, pull back the vaginal folds and wipe clean.
  • Rinse the genitals in the bath, making sure no chemicals are left that may cause discomfort. 
  • Use a new clean cloth and tap the area dry. 

How to prevent Smegma in dogs?

One of the best ways to prevent smegma is to neuter your dog, as this will decrease the amount of discharge produced. You could also try looking for a supplement containing green tea, which has antibacterial properties that can stave off infection. However if you need any further advice, contact your vet to talk through your options. 

Final words

Now that you know more about what smegma is and what it means for your dog, the best thing to do is to keep an eye on your pet for any significant changes — either in the amount of discharge produced or a change in colour that concerns you. If your pet seems like they’re in pain or the sheath looks inflamed and sore, it’s time to take your dog to the vet for a second opinion. But don’t worry — smegma is totally normal and usually no cause to panic, so while not the most pleasant of topics, it’s great to know more.