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Dog Smegma: Causes and Information

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If you own an intact (unneutered) male dog, you are probably familiar with smegma. Even if you hadn’t yet heard the medical term for this fluid, most owners of intact male dogs have noticed the small drops of yellow/green pus-like discharge that may be seen around their dog’s penis. In some cases, this fluid may even drip onto your floor or furniture.

While smegma may seem a bit disgusting to us humans – leading us to wonder how to stop dog smegma production – this fluid is actually completely normal and natural. Read on to learn more about smegma in dogs, including when it should be ignored and when it’s a cause for concern.

A Brief Intro to Dog Penis Anatomy

When you look at the outside of a dog’s penis, what you are typically seeing is the prepuce (also known as the sheath or foreskin). The prepuce is a fold of skin that surrounds and protects the penis.

A dog’s penis lies inside the prepuce. The penis is bright red or pink in color, because it is covered in a mucous membrane (like your gums or the inside of your eyelids). A mucous membrane is more susceptible to drying out and becoming injured than normal skin, so the prepuce serves to protect this delicate mucous membrane.

A dog’s penis may extend from the prepuce under a variety of circumstances. Most obviously, the penis will protrude during sexual activity. In some dogs, however, the pink/red tissue of the penis will protrude anytime they are excited (even in a non-sexual way) or even when they are calm and relaxed. All of these variations can be normal for dogs.

What is Dog Smegma?

Smegma is a white, yellow, or green fluid found in the space between the penis and the prepuce. It contains a combination of dead skin cells and proteins. Smegma serves to lubricate and protect the penis, and it is completely normal.

In many dogs, smegma may be nearly invisible. It remains in the pocket of tissue between the penis and prepuce in very small quantities, where it cannot be seen.

In some dogs, however, larger quantities of smegma are produced. In these dogs, you may see drops of smegma leaking from the tip of your dog’s prepuce. Smegma may also coat the hair around the opening of your dog’s prepuce and small drops of smegma may be found on your floor and furniture. 

In many cases, visible smegma production is normal and doesn’t indicate a problem.

Dog Smegma and Signs of Infection

While occasional smegma in dogs is typically a normal occurrence, a sudden or dramatic increase in smegma can indicate an underlying medical issue. 

If you notice that your dog is producing more smegma than usual, this could indicate an infection or other medical problem. Dramatic changes in the color, odor, or other characteristics of your dog’s smegma can also suggest an issue. Finally, most male dogs attempt to clean away excess smegma through licking, so increased licking of the genitals could suggest increased smegma production associated with an infection or other medical issue.

A variety of medical conditions can cause changes in your dog’s smegma. Infections impacting the penis, prepuce, urinary tract, prostate gland, or other structures of your dog’s reproductive tract can lead to changes in your dog’s smegma. An increase in smegma could also suggest other urinary tract disorders, such as urethral stones, bladder stones, or urinary tract tumors. Even seemingly-unrelated issues, such as skin allergies, can lead to changes in your dog’s smegma.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of a dog smegma infection, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. 

Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam, paying special attention to your dog’s genitals. Additional testing, such as bloodwork, urinalysis, or X-rays, may also be recommended. Based on your veterinarian’s findings, they can determine whether there may be an underlying health issue involved in your dog’s smegma changes.

Investing in a reliable pet insurance plan, such as a policy from MetLife, helps pet parents be more prepared. Pet insurance plans typically cover necessary tests and treatments associated with underlying smegma issues. Should your dog require the services of a specialist, you’ll have peace of mind without breaking the bank.

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    Does Smegma Require Treatment?

    Most male dog smegma is completely normal. While it may be icky to us, it doesn’t present a problem for our dogs. Therefore, no treatment is required.

    If your veterinarian determines that your dog’s smegma is associated with an infection or underlying medical issue, they will recommend appropriate treatment for your dog. Treatments may include cleaning or flushing of the prepuce, oral antibiotics, or other medications.

    How to Clean Dog Smegma

    Most dogs clean their own smegma by licking away excess discharge from the prepuce. If your dog is not cleaning their smegma and your vet has determined there is no underlying medical problem, you can use a warm, moist washcloth or tissue to wipe excess smegma away from your dog’s prepuce. If your dog has long hair, keeping the hair around their prepuce trimmed can reduce the accumulation of smegma.

    Less commonly, your veterinarian may recommend more thorough cleaning of your dog’s smegma. Your veterinarian may provide an antiseptic solution and syringe, which you can use to flush excess smegma from your dog’s prepuce. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully.

    Do not attempt to put cleaner inside your dog’s prepuce unless you have been advised to do so by your veterinarian.

    If your dog leaves small quantities of smegma on your floors or furniture, these can be cleaned with any cleaner that is approved for use on that surface. For example, you can use carpet cleaner on carpeted floors and upholstery cleaner on upholstered furniture.  

    How to Stop Dog Smegma

    Neutering your dog is the best way to reduce smegma production. Intact (unneutered) dogs produce larger amounts of smegma, increasing the likelihood that this smegma will drip onto your floors and furniture. In most cases, you will see a reduction in dog smegma after neutering.

    Even neutered dogs, however, produce a small amount of smegma. In most cases, this is not apparent to owners, but you may occasionally notice a small drip of fluid. This is biologically normal and cannot be completely prevented.