Paraphimosis in dogs

Our pets are living beings and as adorable as they are, biology applies to them as well. While the birds and the bees as they apply to our four-legged family members may not be everyone’s topic of choice, Long Animal Hospital thinks it is important for pet owners to know the basics. That way, when something goes awry (like a dog erection not going away) you are educated and prepared. 

All About Paraphimosis in Dogs

Under normal circumstances, male dog anatomy and physiology is pretty straightforward. The external reproductive parts consist of two testicles housed in a scrotal sac, an external sheath called the prepuce, and the glans of the penis inside of the prepuce. Sometimes cheeky pet owners refer to the glans as the red rocket. 

Most of the time the glans penis stays neatly and safely tucked away in the prepuce. Here its delicate tissue is shielded from harm and kept moist and lubricated. You may see the glans penis make an appearance from time to time, however. This occurs during sexual arousal, but even neutered males may get an erection when excited or overstimulated.

During normal canine breeding, after ejaculation occurs the bulbus glandis enlarges. This secondary reproductive gland, similar to the prostate, appears as two ball-like structures at the base of the penis. Sometimes owners may mistake these for testicles when they appear.  

Engorgement of the bulbis keeps the penis erect and results in the breeding tie that is seen after mating in dogs. By keeping the male and female dog joined together for about 20 minutes after copulation, it ensures that the ejaculate stays where it should and increases the chances of a successful breeding.

It is normal for the glans penis to stay exposed for 20-30 minutes. Beyond this, though, exposure can result in trauma to the tissues and potential problems. A dog erection not going away is called paraphimosis. 

Paraphimosis in dogs can have multiple underlying causes. These might include:

  • Physical trauma
  • An obstruction such as hair wrapped around the base of the penis
  • A neurological condition
  • A tumor or other growth
  • An abnormality in development or anatomy 

What to Do About a Dog Erection That Is Not Going Away

The occasional appearance of your pet’s penis is not anything to worry about. What should you do, though, about a dog erection that is not going away?

When you notice your pup’s lipstick making an appearance, try to make a mental note of the time. If it retreats within the next half an hour, there is nothing to be concerned about. If not, though, your pet may need your help.

You can try to assist by clearing any matted hair from the opening of the prepuce (use a warm, soft cloth and avoid intervening with scissors lest you miss your target). You can also gently lubricate the surface of the glans with some sterile lubricant and try to gently replace it into the prepuce. 

If your pet’s glans penis remains exposed or seems unable to stay safely tucked inside the prepuce, it is considered a pet emergency. Contact us so that we can assist. 

In order to prevent infection, irritation, and compromise of the penile tissue, replacement is key. Treating any underlying problem that can be corrected is important. Sometimes our veterinarians are able to utilize medical means to decrease swelling and edema and allow replacement of the glans. Other times surgery may be necessary to facilitate replacement. 

Most of the time, Mother Nature works as she is supposed to. Sometimes, though, our pets need our help. Knowing when to intervene is an important part of taking care of your dog, and Long Animal Hospital is always here to help.