What Can We Do if Our Dog Has a Very Sore Bottom?

By Mary Lougee

Dogs can have many things that cause a very sore bottom including post-grooming, rectal strictures, impacted anal glands and perianal fistulas. Most cases of a sore bottom need veterinarian attention. Many vets recommend soothing oatmeal or Epsom salt baths after treatment to relieve the pain and discomfort.

Post-Grooming Sore Bottom

A dog may have irritation on his bottom from the clippers getting too hot, dull blades or just because it is a sensitive area. Sometimes after getting a short cut on his rear end, a dog's feces will irritate the sensitive skin that is now visible and cause your dog to lick the area often. Some groomers offer a free medicated bath to soothe the area. Tell your groomer to leave the hair a bit longer on your dog's rear end to prevent his discomfort in the future.

Rectal Strictures

A dog may have rectal strictures, or anal narrowing caused from an injury, such as bite wounds, accidents or foreign objects. Strictures are caused by scar tissue around the anus. A soothing bath can help make your dog more comfortable if you know what caused the stricture and it is mild, and doesn't need veterinary attention. If the injury looks serious, take your pooch to the vet first.

Impacted Anal Glands

Dogs have an anal gland on each side of the anus. They contain a small amount of foul-smelling dark liquid. Normally, the anal glands empty during defecation, though they can become impacted, abscessed, infected or cancerous. This is painful for your dog. You may notice him scooting his buttocks on the ground, biting and licking at his rear and having painful defecation with a lot of straining. Your veterinarian needs to see your dog for an examination to determine what your pooch needs. He likely will express his anal glands, but if the material is too hard and dry, he will need to inject a softening agent into the sacs. Antibiotics will be prescribed in the event of an infection. Hot compresses help to extract fluid from an abscess or infection. Your pooch's diet may need to be changed with supplemental fiber so he can express his glands normally when he defecates.

Perianal Fistulas

When your dog has a foul-smelling wound in the tissues around his anus, he likely has a perianal fistula. The skin around the anus retains some feces and anal sac liquids causing tissue damage and inflammation of the area. Signs of perianal fistulas include painful defecation with straining, loss of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea and attempting to bite at his rear end. Your pet will need to see your vet for medication for his treatment. He likely will receive stool softeners and possible antibiotics for an infection. Cleansing the area often can help perianal fistulas heal.

Soothing Baths for Dogs

Oatmeal shampoo for dogs help to soothe a sore bottom in all cases. Usually, the directions call for lathering the shampoo on your dog's rear end and letting him sit in the tub of water and oatmeal shampoo for at least 10 minutes.

Epsom salt baths help soothe a dog's sore rear end. You can either have his sit in the warm water with Epsom salt mixed in it, or dip a cloth into the solution and hold it on his rear end. When the water becomes cool, remove your pet from the tub.

An easy way to keep your pet in a soothing bath is to offer treats to him for sitting, shaking or speaking. Keep the treats flowing, and he will give you his attention, making 10 minutes pass quickly.