A dog looks confused.

Dogs have private parts just like people. Most of the time they work just fine and we don’t have to worry about them too much. Sometimes, though, things go wrong. 

If you have a male dog, chances are you have caught a glimpse of the elusive red rocket before. These views are few and far between, especially if your dog has been neutered. Sometimes, though, the glans of the penis can become stuck in the outward position, called paraphimosis. Paraphimosis in dogs can be a real pet emergency, so it is important to know when to intervene. 

The Birds and the Bees

Before you can really understand paraphimosis in dogs, you do need to understand a little bit about how dog anatomy functions. 

Most of the time the actual penis, called the glans, resides inside of a little foreskin like sheath called the prepuce. This is the external part of the male anatomy that you can see all of the time. 

When it comes time to get down to business, though, a dog must extrude the glans of the penis. It remains out while in use, and if the dog ejaculates the bulbus glandis organs at the base of the penis engorge. This engorgement is what keeps a breeding pair tied together for about 15 minutes after copulation. 

It is in the realm of normal for the glans to be in an outward position for up to 20 minutes or so, especially if ejaculation has occurred. When the glans is stuck in an outward position for much longer than this, though, problems can occur. 

Paraphimosis in Dogs

Failure of the glans / penis to return to its storage position within the sheath is called paraphimosis. Paraphimosis in dogs can have very simple or very complex causes, but it is always uncomfortable, and if untreated can have serious complications. 

When paraphimosis occurs, often the dog will appear distressed, licking and paying a lot of attention to the penis. If the penis is stuck out for a prolonged period, the surface may begin to appear dry or irritated and may even begin to take on a purplish hue.

Causes of paraphimosis in dogs may include:

  • A congenital deformity of the prepuce or glans penis itself
  • Trauma
  • Neurological problems
  • Hair wrapped at the base of the glans
  • Tumors

Sometimes we are able to decrease swelling and manipulate the lubricated glans back into place, removing any hair or other obstruction. Other times, a surgical correction may be necessary. 

If left alone, paraphimosis can result in infection, necrosis, and affect the ability to urinate. Thankfully, though, when caught early this condition typically has a fair to good prognosis depending on the underlying cause. 
Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital is willing and able to help with all your pet’s health needs, even the more personal ones. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if your pet needs help, early intervention is usually best.