Thursday, September 3, 2009
We've received an interesting, but potentially embarrassing question from a friend of a cute little white dog. We've changed the names of those involved to protect the pooch--we don't want to hurt the little guy's chances with the gals at the dog park. So let's just call him "Dog Doe."
"Puppysitter" writes: "I was recently babysitting the most adorable 1 year old dog for a couple of weeks and we encountered a small problem. This neutered pup became aroused after humping a teddy bear and his little pecker peeped out. Unfortunately, the hair down there was longer that it should have been, and got caught in the shaft, which prevented his lil' lipstick from going all the way back in. It was out for a day before we realized it, and he kept licking it. It was obvious he was irritated. When we took him into the vet's office- she gave him a shot for inflammation and lubricated him to remove the hair. After trimming the area, she gently tucked the unmentionable away in its place and put him on UTI medication in case he developed an infection. We were relieved when it was all over. "Dog Doe" is happy and carefree once again.
Is there a way to prevent this beyond simply puppy-scaping?"
Dear Puppysitter, thanks for asking a delicate question and thanks for taking Dog Doe to the vet right away! If you had waited, the poor guy could have developed a severe and painful infection.
Keeping the genital area clean and tidy on male and female dogs is extremely important. This true for all dogs, although dogs with coats that require trimming need some extra attention "down there." I mean, beyond the pooch's self-cleaning ability.
The coat on Hair dogs (such as Poodles, Doodles, Porties, Shih-Tzus, Yorkies, Beardies, Maltese, and mixes) keeps growing. That means, unless the hair is cut, it will get longer and bushier and then you risk retraction problems. If the hair is left uncut, it can wrap around the penis, which makes it too big (or wide) to retract. Left out, it will dry up and have no lubrication to help the retraction process. Occasionally, you'll see a dog with a coat that sheds when it reaches a genetically pre-determined length have a problem, but it's rare. Moreover, unkept genitals can cause a host of other unpleasant issues, such as mats, crusty debris--we could go on, but this is a family blog.
Regardless of your dog's coat type, you must keep his genitals neat and tidy. Whether Fido has a penis or a vagina, discharge is normal unless it becomes excessive. Moreover, if a male dog isn't neutered, you'll have lots of discharge, which contributes to the retraction danger. (Yes, another reason to neuter!) Keeping the genitals clean and tidy also prevents mats from developing and debris from hiding and exposes the area to air, which as we all know is a freeing feeling.
I recommend that the genital area be trimmed short or shaved on all dogs that have a lot of hair or fur there. Please, don’t attempt to cut or shave this area yourself. This is an extremely delicate area that requires the expert hand of a professional groomer--a good groomer with a gentle and steady touch and one without a caffeine addiction. If your dog has Hair that grows, he'll need to go in for a genital touch up about every 4-6 weeks. Otherwise, see the groomer when the fur gets long or thick.
And one more thing, Puppysitter: I recommend that you keep all your teddy bears on high shelves, especially those under age 16.