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Have you noticed your pooch dragging his bottoms across the pavement, suddenly turning back to lick his anal area, and generally over-licking the area around his anus?
These are glaring signs of a pup dealing with bum soreness.
Pain in another area of the dog’s body is a little easier to deal with. But the bum…. Not so much.
Nevertheless, as a responsible pet parent, you have to do all you can to make sure your pooch is happy and healthy.
When your pet is in pain, for instance, you need to step in and offer something to soothe the pain and hopefully deal with the root cause once and for all.
So, what can you use on your doggie’s sore bums?
We have listed a few effective strategies but first things first…
Why Do Dogs Get Sore Bums?
There are plenty of reasons that cause a dog’s bum to be sore. But here’s a quick overview of the most common causes:
A. Anal Gland Dysfunctions
The number one reason for sore bums in dogs is impaction and infection of the anal glands.
Also referred to as exocrine glands, anal glands are two oval-shaped organs located on both sides of a dog’s anus. They are essentially special ducts with fluid in them.
When your doggie defecates, the glands empty the fluid to help stool pass along the rectum smoothly.
The fluid has a strong pungent smell and is used to mark the territory as well.
Each time your doggie defecates, the sacs should empty their fluid.
However, when they don’t for one reason or another, soreness in the bum is bound to happen. This phenomenon is called impaction.
The glands will inflate and appear as red, swollen bulbs. They may abscess or rupture causing an open bloody wound on the anal region.
If nothing is done, infection will soon follow.
A physical injury can also cause pain in the dog’s back area.
Injuries can come from anywhere:
- Wild playing and tossing near sharp objects
- Grooming accidents
- Fights with other dogs
- Sitting on rough surfaces
- And excessive licking among others
Thirdly, food, flea, and environmental allergies can also cause rectal soreness in your dog.
Allergies don’t always manifest in the form of anal irritations, but they can occur in this manner.
Allergies can lead to itchiness, hair loss, red skin, and discomfort around the perineal regions as well as any other part of a dog’s body. Learn more about dog allergies here.
D. Worms Infestation
At the sight of their dogs scooting their bums on the floor, most parents assume they have worms. That’s because worms and other parasites can also irritate the rectal area.
Irritation leads to excessive licking and biting ultimately causing soreness.
E. Bacterial Or Yeast Infections
An overgrowth of yeast or the presence of harmful bacteria can overwhelm your dog to the point of making her bums uncomfortable.
Yeast particularly makes the infected area incredibly itchy.
Similarly, bacteria can be introduced through an open wound or by ingestion.
When the anal region is itchy, the dog will lick it—sometimes until it becomes raw.
Related Post: 10 Best Dog Ear Cleaners for Yeast
Diarrhea can also lead to sore bums in dogs due to the increased frequency and urgency of bowel movements.
The constant passing of loose or watery stools can cause irritation and inflammation of the sensitive skin around the anus.
This discomfort can result in a sore bum, making the dog’s rear end painful and sensitive to touch.
Diarrhea also contains caustic elements such as gastric acid, bile, and digestive enzymes, which can cause inflammation and ulcerations on the perineal skin, resulting in redness and irritation of the anus.
Another potential cause of sore bum in dogs is Proctitis, which refers to a condition that causes inflammation of the rectum and anus in dogs.
Common signs of Proctitis include licking the anus, distressing bowel movements, heightened scooting, and bloody stools.
The main trigger of Proctitis is colitis (or inflammation of the colon), which often spreads to a dog’s rectum and anus.
Common causes of Proctitis include food allergies, pica, rectal trauma, inflammatory conditions, and colon tumors.
H. Perineal Fistulas
Also referred to as anal furunculosis, Perineal fistulas are abnormal tunnels or passages that develop around the anus and perineal area.
These openings can lead to inflammation, pain, discomfort, and infection.
The condition is often associated with autoimmune factors and can result in difficulty defecating and persistent anal discomfort.
Breeds like German Shepherds are more prone to the condition though it also affects purebred and mixed breed dogs.
If your dog is diagnosed with the condition, check out this post for remedies you can give him: 10 Home Remedies for Perianal Fistula in Dogs
I. Rectal prolapse
Another potential cause of sore bum in dogs is rectal prolapse, which occurs when the rectal tissue protrudes from the anus.
This can be caused by straining during defecation, constipation, or other underlying issues like parasites or inflammation.
It’s characterized by a pink or red mass visible around the anal area.
Rectal prolapse can be painful and lead to further complications like infection or tissue damage.
Anal sac tumors affect the cells in and around the anus.
They may not be as painful at first but they can rupture and bleed, causing soreness.
The most common type of anal sac tumor in dogs is apocrine gland anal sac adenocarcinoma (AGASACA) or simply anal sac adenocarcinoma, which often affects the local tissues and metastasizes.
Remedies for A Dog’s Sore Bum
Let’s now have a look at the things you can use to ease symptoms of aching bottoms in your pet…
1. Express the Anal Glands
If your doggie is among the many that have impacted anal glands, your first order of business should be to empty them.
This is a job best performed by a qualified vet or vet nurse because doing it wrong may cause severe inflammation.
But if you think you can handle it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try.
Typically, you need to insert a gloved finger into your pet’s rectum, locate the anal gland and gently squeeze it.
As long as you are gentle, you can empty the sacs without much drama.
However, this is not always the case. Many dogs bolt and snap, so be prepared for that. You may want to get an extra set of hands.
2. Apply A Warm Compress
Heat treatment is nothing new when it comes to managing pain and discomfort.
According to Medical News Today, heat dilates blood vessels thereby promoting blood flow and relaxing muscles.
When your doggie is experiencing pain in his bottoms, applying a warm compress can help him greatly.
Besides encouraging blood flow, it can also drain the anal sacs if they are full.
To do it, mix warm water and about 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt. The latter is effective at relieving pain and reducing inflammation.
- Soak a soft washcloth in the water mixture and place it under your dog’s tail.
- Hold it in place for 5-10 minutes then let go.
- You can also have the dog sit on the washcloth.
- Apply gentle pressure to keep her in place.
- Repeat the same twice a day until the soreness is gone.
Ensure that you use a clean cloth every time. After the warm compress, the dog may find it easy to empty her sacs if they need emptying.
3. Castor Oil Cream
Castor oil is a viscous, scentless oil derived from the beans of the infamous castor plant.
In ancient Egypt, it was used as lamp fuel and later for its medicinal and beauty benefits.
The oil consists of Vitamin E, Omega-6 fatty acids, and Omega-9 fatty acids.
Studies show that ricinoleic acid (which makes up over95% of it) in the oil has anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties.
When applied to your dog’s bums, it can significantly bring down any pain and inflammation.
The oil is also a natural moisturizer and will add moisture to your dog’s skin.
Any safe castor cream is okay. Just make sure it doesn’t have the nasty stuff – preservatives, additives, toxic chemicals, and more.
Apply a generous amount on the dog’s bum and gently rub it in.
Do it twice a day, every day for the best results.
4. Zinc Cream
Besides castor, zinc oxide creams have also been shown to help with soreness.
Zinc is essentially a naturally-occurring compound found in plastics, rubbers, cement, paints, adhesives, and plenty of materials.
Zinc oxide, on the other hand, is synthetically produced from zinc materials.
It is one of the main ingredients in diaper creams, anti-dandruff shampoos, calamine creams, and antiseptic ointments. This is all because it contains soothing, stringent, and protective properties.
Zinc creates a barrier in your doggie’s skin to prevent irritation. It can also help to heal damaged skin.
Apply the zinc cream as you would castor cream.
Make sure that the dog doesn’t lick it as it is meant for topical use.
5. Aloe-Based Ointments
Aloe vera has potent soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
As such, when applied topically, aloe-based ointments can help reduce redness, irritation, and discomfort around the anal area.
Applying Aloe ointments after giving baths can offer added protection against lingering irritation, ensuring enhanced comfort during your dog’s recovery process.
But before using any aloe-based ointment, ensure that it is specifically formulated for dogs and does not contain any harmful additives that could be ingested or cause further irritation.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains Lauric acid, which has potent antibacterial and antifungal effects.
It also contains Vitamin E, which supports healthy skin and fur.
Applying coconut oil on your dog’s sore bum can soothe skin irritation, lessen swelling, and speed up the healing process.
Before applying coconut oil to your dog’s sore butt, clean the area with mild soap and warm water.
7. Anal Gland Supplements
If your dog has impacted anal glands, you need supplements that boost their function.
These should have ingredients such as flaxseed, beet pulp, and psyllium seed husk. The ingredients increase the size of the stool so it can put considerable pressure on the anal glands so they can empty their fluids.
There are not many supplements specifically for anal gland health but if you know where to look, you will come across them. Check online, your local pet store, and ask around.
As usual, ensure it is devoid of toxic chemicals and anything that is not friendly to dogs.
8. Fiber Intake
Fiber-rich foods such as pumpkin and boiled carrots can also help form firm stools.
They increase the rate of defecation and may trigger the sacs to empty more often as well.
Increase your dog’s fiber gradually to avoid tummy upsets or constipation.
Related Post: 10 Best High Fiber Dog Foods for Small Breeds
9. Increase Your Dog’s Water Intake
Besides increasing the amount of fiber in your pup’s food, it’s important to provide your dog with additional water daily.
Dehydration can result in constipation and hinder your dog’s ability to defecate comfortably while also affecting the proper expression of his anal glands.
One quick and easy way to increase your pup’s water intake is to add water to his food. This is particularly useful if you feed him a lot of dry foods.
Add little water at first and increase the amount gradually until he is used to having water with every meal.
10. Address Diarrhea issues
If your dog’s sore bum is due to diarrhea, it’s important to address the issue.
You can try troubleshooting the condition using various home remedies.
One of the simplest yet most effective approaches is to provide your dog with a bland diet.
Easily digestible bland diets can often help alleviate mild cases of diarrhea in dogs within 1-2 days.
For more information about bland diets and diarrhea in dogs, check out these posts:
This may sound crazy but exercise can also relieve pain in your dog’s bum.
For one, it fastens the digestive system so it works faster. This ensures more defecation and thus more emptying of the anal glands.
Exercise also tightens the muscles so they can assert more pressure on the anal sac to empty its contents.
12. Maintain Proper Hygiene for Your Dog’s Rear End
As we have mentioned, diarrhea and dried poop lingering on your dog’s butt contain caustic elements such as gastric acid, bile, and digestive enzymes, which can cause inflammation and ulcers on the dog’s perineal skin.
As such, one seamless way to ease your dog’s sore bums is to keep his rear end clean by removing any residual fecal matter.
Consider wiping or bathing your pup’s butt, especially when he experiences severe diarrhea.
13. Make Sure Your Dog Always Poops Comfortably
Ensure your dog experiences comfortable bowel movements at all times.
When you take your dog for a walk, prioritize allowing him to defecate without rushing or causing stress.
Consider choosing a quieter area in the park where your dog feels safe, secure, and at ease while attending to his needs.
14. Use an E-collar to Stop Licking
Finally, dogs experiencing anal irritation often have the urge to lick and chew the area around their rear ends.
However, these actions can make the discomfort and inflammation worse.
To prevent your dog from making his sore bum worse, you can use an Elizabethan collar.
The collar can go along way in preventing your dog from further hurting his bum.
You can also use a recovery suit instead of an E-collar. Here are the best options: 8 Best Dog Recovery Suits (Alternatives to E-collars)
Also read: How Long Should Dog Wear Cone After Surgery?
The soreness of bums in dogs is not something to be ignored. No one enjoys seeing their dog in pain anyway.
Most importantly, pain can graduate into infections and more problems in the future.
Try the aforementioned strategies to ease the pain and treat the issue once and for all.
Dr. Samuel Frost (DVM) is an accomplished veterinarian with over 10 years of experience in the field. A graduate of Massey University, he specializes in animal behavior, nutrition, and preventative care. Dr. Frost has worked in private practice, animal shelters, and research institutions, and is a recognized expert in veterinary medicine. He is also an advocate for animal welfare and education. He is committed to staying current with the latest advancements in veterinary medicine and continuously strives to improve the lives of the animals under his care.