More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Your Dog’s Penis
Most pet owners don’t know much about their pet’s reproductive organs beyond basic anatomy. While you don’t need to be an expert on the topic to be a good pet owner, having a little more in-depth knowledge is definitely helpful.
Male dogs house most of their reproductive organs externally. The testicles, which are removed at the time of neuter, reside outside of the body in the scrotum. They also have an externally visible pouch called a prepuce that protects their penis. The infamous red rocket is the actual glans penis that typically shows itself only when its owner is excited or aroused. Male dogs also have an actual bone in their penis called the os penis.
Male dogs have some internal sexual organs as well. They have a prostate gland like humans. They also have a paired gland called the bulbourethral gland that pet owner will sometimes notice swelling at the base of the penis. This gland is sometimes mistaken for testicles.
When a dog becomes very excited and/or ejaculates, this gland becomes swollen, keeping the glans penis extruded out of the sheath. During mating this is what causes the two dogs to “tie,” or be stuck together for a period of time, increasing the chances of successful breeding. This usually goes on for about 20 minutes or so.
Is Paraphimosis in Dogs an Emergency?
Paraphimosis is the medical term used to describe when the glans penis remains extruded outside of its protective sheath.
Paraphimosis in dogs is normal…to an extent. Even in neutered dogs, if excitement occurs, the normal reflexive swelling of the bulbourethral glands will result in the penis remaining extruded for up to 30 minutes.
Paraphimosis in dogs can be an emergency, though, if:
- The glans penis remains out for more than 30 minutes
- The penis appears to be swollen, discolored, dry, or irritated
- Your pet seems bothered by the glans being out
- Your pet is unable to urinate
If your pet is exhibiting any of these criteria, you can use a little lubrication such as KY Jelly to help gently place the penis back into the prepuce. If you are unsuccessful please contact us right away so that we can help. Prolonged paraphimosis is an emergency requiring intervention.
Sometimes surgical correction is needed, and underlying causes such as an obstruction due to hair or other objects, a neurological problem, or a congenital issue will need to be addressed.
While the extrusion of the penis is a somewhat normal function of being a boy, you can help prevent paraphimosis in dogs by keeping the hair on the prepuce neatly trimmed so that hair cannot mat around the penis. Keeping intact males who are not breeding away from females can also help to prevent arousal.
Understanding a little bit about your dog’s biological function and anatomy can help you to keep them healthy and safe. It is no different when it comes to their reproductive function. Don’t be shy. When in doubt, ask us! Our team is happy to help.