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Should You Wipe Your Dog’s Bum? Vet-Approved Considerations

Written by: Annaliese Morgan

Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

butt of a sniffing puppy

Should You Wipe Your Dog’s Bum? Vet-Approved Considerations

VET APPROVED

Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

You need to wipe a baby’s bum, but do you need to wipe your dog’s bum?

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your dog’s rear and ensure this area is kept clean and free of feces and matted hair. This helps to prevent any potential health issues and irritation to your dog. A dog that is in discomfort due to an itchy or sore bottom can begin to show behavioral issues or become distressed. It can even affect their eating habits. Some dogs may need assistance in keeping their bottoms clean, especially if they have long fur, are elderly, or have had (or are having) a difficult time with their bowels.

While wiping your dog’s bum is not usually necessary, sometimes you will need to, which may not be a problem for you to do. However, if you’re uncomfortable or unsure about how to go about this delicate topic, you are in the right place!

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Should I Wipe My Dog’s Bum?

In general, no. Dogs are well equipped to look after their hygiene and do not need a human to wipe their bottoms like a young baby or child might.

While it’s not a common or necessary practice to wipe a dog’s bum, there might be situations where it becomes needed not only from a hygienic point of view but also for your dog’s health and well-being. A dirty bottom, particularly a consistent one, can bring about many health problems for your dog and potentially for you. It can make your home unhealthy and unhygienic and invite further complications into the equation, such as infections and passing on parasites.

Some examples where your dog may require your help in wiping their bum include:

  • Long-haired dogs. Fecal matter often and easily becomes entangled in the fur. This needs removing and will require your intervention as your dog cannot rectify this themselves.
  • Dogs with a corkscrew tail. Certain breeds, particularly English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers, can have an ingrown, inverted tail (referred to as a corkscrew or screw tail). This leads to a tail fold (pocket) which can trap feces if not kept clean, leading to infections.
  • Senior dogs. Older dogs may have trouble keeping themselves clean and may struggle to push all the contents out of the bowel due to underlying conditions such as osteoarthritis.
  • Dogs with constipation. Dogs with a slow digestive system and passing a movement after suffering from constipation may need assistance with wiping bits or clumps of feces away; otherwise, the material can become stuck to their fur, the skin, or around the anus.
  • Dogs with upset stomachs. If they have diarrhea, it is very common for the bottom area to become messy, especially if they have longer hair. You may need to wipe, clean, and dry the area each time an episode occurs until your dog is better.
  • Chronic gastrointestinal problems. Many dogs have occasional constipation or diarrhea, but some, unfortunately, have ongoing issues with these two troublesome bowel habits. This can be due to issues such as food allergies or illnesses like inflammatory bowel disease. It is unlikely you will need to wipe their bum every time they go to the toilet, but you need to keep yourself aware of their hygiene to prevent further issues. In any case, frequent or even daily checking of the rear end is advised.
butt of a Jack Russell Terrier dog
Image Credit: lightman_pic, Shutterstock

What Happens if I Leave Poop on My Dog’s Bum?

The problems from leaving feces on your dog’s rear area can start small until they become a much bigger issue requiring veterinary attention. Any poop that is left on your dog’s skin and fur and is allowed to accumulate has the potential to make the skin sore, red, and inflamed, this will encourage your dog to lick at it, and also, they will try to rub the area, exacerbating the problem.

The fur can also become knotted and painful, pulling on the skin, which is painful! Further complications, such as fly eggs (leading to maggot infestations), may occur, particularly if you live in warm or humid climates. A range of dermatological problems may surface, and skin infections are also prone to setting in. Bad smells will happen, fecal stains can be left around your home, and parasites can be passed on to other pets or you through uncleanness.

Therefore, if you see feces stuck on their bums, the fur or back end clean it off!

How to Wipe Your Dog’s Bum

Follow this simple guide if you need to wipe or clean your dog’s bottom, whether one-off or regularly.

  • Place on latex gloves and possibly a protective apron, depending on the scenario.
  • Ideally, place your dog in a tub or shower area if they are particularly messy.
  • Lift the tail up and use a second person to help if you need assistance in keeping them steady.
  • Locate the anus.
  • If they have long hair, clip away the fur using animal clippers or blunt-nosed scissors. Be very careful not to cut the skin, and stop cutting fur if you are unconfident or cannot see the skin.
  • Have a separate cloth or non-irritant pet wipes dedicated to your dog and this job in particular.
  • Rinse the cloth in warm but not hot water.
  • Wipe over the affected area.
  • Soap is not always necessary, but if needed, use dog-friendly soap or shampoo (Do not use soap or shampoos for people. Due to the differences in skin pH, human products can irritate dog’s skin). Rinse all soap or pet shampoo with warm water.
  • Thoroughly dry the area with a paper towel or a material towel to prevent the skin from becoming sore or infected.
  • If advised by your vet, apply a layer of protective barrier cream.
person wiping off yorkie's butt
Image Credit: Robert Petrovic, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Most of the time, wiping your dog’s bottom will not be needed. However, it is a task you may be blessed with having the responsibility of doing from time to time, and hopefully, this guide has been useful to you.

Alternatively, you can always consult your veterinarian or a professional groomer for guidance on properly maintaining your dog’s hygiene and looking after their bottoms, as they will be more than happy to help and provide information and reassurance.


Featured Image Credit: kkkomgri, Shutterstock

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