Paraphimosis in dogs.

While most people know the exact location and function of a dog’s penis, many dog owners are unfamiliar with the medical term “paraphimosis.” Occurring when the glans, or the actual penis, gets caught in the outward position, paraphimosis ranges from quite unpleasant to downright dangerous. As it is with all matters concerning your dog’s health and wellbeing, we recommend taking a close look at their anatomy and behavior to know when things aren’t right.

The Nitty and the Gritty

Most of the time, a dog’s penis resides comfortably inside a sheath called the prepuce (think of it like a foreskin). This external part of their privates is on full display all the time, most notably when they go to the bathroom.

Its primary function, of course, is during intercourse. During mating, the glans leaves the sheath, or prepuce. Ejaculation makes the base of the penis, the bulbus glandis, engorge which helps keep a mating pair connected for 15-20 minutes following the act. 

Neutered dogs have fewer opportunities to call the glans to action, so it’s equally normal to never see the bright, shiny, red part of the glans outside of the prepuce. 

Perfectly Normal, Until It’s Not

Following ejaculation, the glans may be temporarily held in its outward position for numerous minutes. However, if it’s been longer than 20 minutes (give or take), the glans could get stuck. 

The inability to re-sheath the glans is a condition called paraphimosis. It can be directly related to fairly simple or complex causes, including:

  • Inordinate attention to the area (licking, scratching, etc.)
  • A congenital deformity of the glans or prepuce
  • Tumor
  • Neurological issues
  • Hair wrapped around the glans
  • Trauma

Left alone, the glans may take on a different coloration, and/or appear dry and irritated. It may start out as sort of uncomfortable, but can result in serious complications, including infection, necrosis, and can lead to urination difficulty.

The Critical Assist

Experienced, confident dog owners may know exactly when and how to intervene. It’s critical to decrease any swelling and slowly push the glans back into the prepuce. Lubrication is essential for this process. The removal of hair or other obstruction may be necessary. 

Continued problems affecting a dog’s penis may eventually lead to corrective surgery, especially if the condition is related to a congenital deformity or abnormality. 

Part of the Whole

A dog’s penis may be easy to ignore, but if there are ever any problems affecting function, comfort, or health, you want to pay loads of attention to it.

Please call us at (207) 729-4678 with any questions or concerns about your dog’s health. Our veterinarians and support staff are always happy to help at Androscoggin Animal Hospital.