Smegma in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Imagine, it’s a sunny afternoon, and you are basking in the joy of watching your beloved furry companion rolling around playfully in the yard. As your gaze hovers around their underbelly, suddenly, you spot something unusual— a thick, whitish substance with an unpleasant smell. You are now faced with an unfamiliar canine condition: smegma. Smegma isn’t discussed as much as fleas or ticks, but it is just as crucial to be informed about as a responsible dog owner. Armed with knowledge about its causes, symptoms, and treatment options, you can achieve early detection and effective care for your four-legged friend against this underrated yet troublesome issue.

Smegma is a normal secretion found in the space between the penis and prepuce of male dogs. It contains dead skin cells and proteins that help protect and lubricate the penis. While larger quantities of smegma may indicate an underlying medical issue, visible production of smegma is normal and does not harm your dog’s health. However, any sudden or significant increase in smegma production should be evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out any potential underlying medical concerns.

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Understanding Smegma in Dogs

Smegma is a normal substance that accumulates around the opening of the prepuce, or foreskin-like covering of the penis, in male dogs. It’s composed of dead skin cells, proteins, and other substances that help lubricate and protect the penis.

Think of it as similar to the sebum produced by human skin. Smegma is essential to a male dog’s reproductive health, preventing dryness and irritation. While some dogs may produce more than others, visible production is typically not a sign of any underlying health issues.

However, excessive growth or changes in color/odor may indicate a concern. Keep an eye on your dog’s reproductive health and seek veterinary care if necessary.

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Purpose and Normal Production

As previously mentioned, there’s no need to panic if you notice some smegma around your dog’s prepuce. However, it’s essential to know what is considered normal and when to seek veterinary guidance.

Male dogs of all ages produce smegma, but they start producing larger quantities after puberty begins. Specifically, once testosterone production reaches its peak at around six months of age, puppies will begin to produce more and thicker smegma.

The purpose of this increase in smegma is to facilitate the maturation of the male reproductive system. As a dog grows older, the smegma production rate will slow down to maintain healthy levels.

It’s worth noting that larger breeds tend to have a higher risk of developing smegma-related issues due to their size and anatomy. For example, Great Danes are known to experience frequent penile prolapse —a condition where the penis becomes stuck outside the prepuce—due to inadequate grooming and hygiene practices.

That being said, there has been some debate surrounding whether intact or neutered male dogs produce more smegma. While some studies suggest that neutering reduces excessive smegma production by lowering testosterone levels, other anecdotal evidence suggests that neutered male dogs may actually be prone to producing more smegma due to decreased grooming behavior.

Overall, there is limited research available on how neutering affects male dogs’ smegma production rates. Still, it’s essential for pet owners across the board to maintain proper hygiene and grooming practices regardless of their dog’s reproductive status.

Think of it this way: just as humans must shower regularly and wash areas like our armpits and genitalia, so too must dog owners take care of their pets’ hygiene needs. Failing to do so can lead to an accumulation of dirt, bacteria buildup, and, ultimately, an infection.

To sum up, paying attention to what is typical for your dog and knowing when to seek veterinary guidance is crucial for maintaining their reproductive health. Ensuring that you are keeping up with essential grooming practices can help to prevent potential issues.

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5 Unusual Characteristics to Watch For

While smegma is a normal and healthy bodily secretion in dogs, there are some unusual characteristics to watch out for that could indicate an underlying medical issue. The following symptoms may accompany or be associated with abnormal smegma production:

1. Changes in the color or odor of smegma

If you notice that your dog’s smegma has turned an unusual color or has a foul odor, this could be a sign of infection or another medical condition.

2. Increase in smegma production

If your dog suddenly begins producing more smegma than usual or if it seems to be accumulating abnormally quickly, this could be a sign of an underlying medical issue.

3. Inflammation or redness around the penis

If you notice that your dog’s penis is swollen, inflamed, or surrounded by red or irritated skin, this could be a sign of infection or another medical condition.

4. Painful urination

While pain during urination might not necessarily be directly linked to smegma production, it can often accompany other conditions related to the urinary tract or reproductive system. Pay attention to changes in your dog’s urination habits, as they could indicate an underlying issue.

5. Blood in the urine

Blood in your dog’s urine can sometimes indicate an infection or even a more serious illness such as cancer. While blood in the urine isn’t necessarily always linked to smegma production, it can sometimes be indicative of other underlying health issues that affect the urinary tract.

Think about it like this – just like discharge from our own bodies can sometimes indicate an underlying medical issue, so too can change in a dog’s smegma. Keep an eye out for any unusual signs or discomfort associated with your pup’s genital area.

Now that we’ve explored some of the unusual characteristics to watch out for let’s take a closer look at some of the symptoms that might indicate your dog is experiencing abnormal smegma production.

While normal and healthy smegma production doesn’t typically cause any obvious symptoms in dogs, there are a few signs to look out for that could indicate an underlying issue:

Excessive licking or grooming around the genitals: If you notice that your dog is spending more time than usual licking his genitals, it could be a sign that something is bothering him in that area. While this isn’t necessarily always linked to smegma production, it can sometimes be indicative of an infection or other health issue.

Loss of appetite or lethargy: If you notice that your dog seems uninterested in food or is less active than usual, it could be a sign of an underlying medical issue. While these symptoms aren’t necessarily directly related to smegma production, they can sometimes accompany other conditions affecting the urinary tract or reproductive system.

Discharge from the penis: While some level of discharge is normal with healthy smegma production, excessive discharge or discharge with a foul odor can indicate an underlying medical issue.

Straining to urinate: If your dog seems to be having difficulty urinating, it could be a sign of an infection or obstruction in the urinary tract. This symptom isn’t necessarily always directly related to smegma production, but it can sometimes accompany other conditions affecting the urinary or reproductive system.

Think about it like this – just as changes in a person’s genital area might manifest as discomfort, pain, or altered habits like frequent urination, so too might a dog’s abnormal smegma production show up as unusual symptoms around the genital region. Keep a close eye on your pet’s habits and watch for any signs that might suggest an underlying medical issue.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the symptoms associated with abnormal smegma production let’s explore prevention and remedies for buildup.

Excessive Licking and Discomfort

Excessive licking of the genital area is a common symptom of smegma buildup in male dogs. It’s essential to monitor your dog’s behavior and observe any changes to their usual grooming habits.

If you notice your dog is frequently licking their genital area or displaying abnormal behaviors like lethargy, pain, or increased drainage, they may have an underlying health issue.

One possible health problem that can cause excessive licking is a bacterial infection. Another possible reason for discomfort and constant grooming is allergies. If left untreated, smegma buildup can lead to severe irritation and larger-scale injuries over time.

It’s important to keep track of how much your dog is grooming because excessive grooming can lead to other issues. If you notice any abnormalities, contact your veterinarian to address the situation before more severe issues arise.

Prevention and Remedies for Build-Up

To prevent excessive smegma build-up in dogs, grooming is key. Use warm water to clean the penis area and avoid harsh chemicals or soaps. Natural oil-based products can also help keep moisture levels balanced.

Neutering/spaying can reduce hormone production in males, leading to less smegma production. If excessive smegma has already developed, antibiotics or topical treatments may help. Surgery is a last resort.

Early detection is important, so observe your dog for unusual behaviors and seek veterinary advice promptly. Regular checkups are also crucial for your pet’s overall health.

Effective Grooming Techniques

Grooming your dog can help prevent smegma buildup, infection, and other related issues. Regular grooming will keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny while also allowing you to keep an eye on potential health problems.

The following techniques are effective in reducing smegma buildup:

Bathing: Frequent bathing using dog shampoo can help clean the penis and surrounding area. It is important to use dog-specific products, as human shampoos can cause skin irritation in dogs. Too much bathing can strip the natural oils from your dog’s skin, leading to dryness and other complications.

Trimming: You can use a pair of scissors or clippers to trim the hair around the penis area, making it easier to keep clean. This will reduce the chance of bacteria buildup, which leads to unpleasant odors and infections.

Wipe downs: Just like humans, dogs need regular wiping down with a damp cloth. A simple wipe-down removes dirt, debris, and excess smegma before they build up. Use a moistened cloth to clean around the penis and prepuce the area daily.

Brushing: Brushing regularly with a soft-bristled brush helps remove dead skin cells that mix with smegma leading to buildup. However, brushing vigorously or using a hard-bristled brush can lead to injury or skin irritation in sensitive areas such as the prepuce region.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

While smegma is a normal part of male canine anatomy, the excessive buildup could be indicative of underlying medical issues. There are several signs that indicate when it is time to consult a veterinarian, including:

Excessive licking: If your male dog constantly licks his genitals or exhibits any discomfort while doing so, there could be a medical issue.

Bleeding: Blood coming from the penis can have several causes, such as wounds to the penis or prepuce, diseases of the prostate gland or blood clotting disorders.

Swollen genitals: If your male dog’s genitals are swollen, red, or accompanied by other symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, or discharge, make sure to seek veterinary attention immediately.

Changes in appearance: If you notice any changes to the color, consistency, or odor of your dog’s smegma, it is important to speak with your veterinarian quickly. This could be a sign of infection, injury, or disease.

General Behavior: Keep an eye out for signs that your dog might be sick. Dogs that are eating less food than normal or showing signs of lethargy may be experiencing some form of discomfort.

It is important to seek professional help if you are not able to handle the situation on your own. Your veterinarian might recommend treatments like cleaning or flushing the prepuce area, oral antibiotics, and other medications depending on the underlying cause.

  • Smegma, which can be white, yellow, or green in color, is a normal discharge found in male dogs, serving as a lubricant and protective substance for the penis.
  • A study published in Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice found that visible smegma production does not always indicate a problem but could be related to underlying medical issues when there’s a sudden or dramatic increase in its production.
  • Another study in the Journal of Small Animal Practice indicated that changes in smegma’s color or odor might suggest infections, urinary tract disorders, or skin allergies in male dogs, requiring consultation with a veterinarian for appropriate treatment.

Steps To Clean Smegma in Dogs

Things you need:

  • Clean cloth
  • Clean water
  • Warm, tap or saline water
  • Puppy wipes


Step 1. Check your dog’s genitalia

Before you perform any cleaning steps, you should conduct a quick visual check of your dog’s genitalia area.

This will give you an idea if there are injuries, swelling, or anything unusual.

If there’s a crusty buildup on the sheath, wipe it with a cloth soaked in warm, salty water. This will soften up the crusts and disinfect your dog’s genitals.

Take note that you should only use salt and not any soaps or alcohol that will sting.

Step 2. Clean the genitals

After that, pull your dog’s sheath gently to expose the penis. You need to wipe this with a cloth soaked in clean water.

You can also use non-scented puppy wipes if you don’t want the mess of wringing a cloth. Keep wiping until you’ve removed all the smegma deposits.

For sure, your dog will try to escape as you do this. I suggest asking someone to assist you in restraining the pooch.

Also, be gentle because your dog’s genitals are very sensitive and prone to injuries.

Step 3. Rinse it well

If wiping isn’t enough to remove the smegma deposits, you can take your dog to the bathroom. Give its genitals a quick rinse using running water.

There’s no need to use soaps or shampoo, just warm water should be enough. While dog shampoos are safe, it will sting if it gets into your dog’s penis.

Step 4. Pat it dry

Once you’re done cleaning, it’s important to wipe your dog’s genital area dry. This will prevent the accumulation of bacteria and odor.

I recommend making smegma cleaning a part of your dog’s grooming session. You can easily do this during your dog’s baths.

How to prevent smegma in dogs

Smegma is typical to dogs, but there’s a way to reduce its production. This will save you from the task of cleaning it all the time.

Neutering your dog will help a lot in reducing this discharge. Nevertheless, erection can still occur on neutered dogs so there will still be smegma production at some point.

Please read here When Is It Too Late To Neuter A Dog? What You Need to Know

While you can’t get rid of smegma forever, there’s a way to manage it. You can ask the vet for a solution that will prevent infections and odor buildup on your dog’s genital area.

Aside from that, proper and regular grooming will help manage this discharge.

Responses to Frequently Asked Questions with Explanations

How often should dog owners clean their pet’s genital area to prevent smegma buildup?

As a responsible dog owner, it is crucial to maintain your pet’s overall hygiene, which includes cleaning their genital area. The frequency of cleaning depends on the breed and size of the dog. In general, cleaning once a week should suffice for most breeds.

However, some dogs with skin folds or long hair around the genitals may require more frequent cleaning to prevent smegma buildup. According to a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, it was found that about 20% of dogs suffer from smegma buildup due to poor genital hygiene.

If left untreated, smegma can cause infections and other health problems in dogs. Therefore, pet owners must clean their dog’s genital area regularly using mild soap and warm water. It is important to avoid using harsh chemicals as they can damage your dog’s skin.

In conclusion, regular cleaning of your furry friend’s genital area is an essential part of their grooming routine. It helps prevent smegma buildup and other associated health risks. Consult with your veterinarian if you detect any unusual foul odor or discharge from your dog’s genitals.

What is the difference between normal and excessive amounts of smegma in dogs?

When it comes to smegma in dogs, there is a fine line between normal and excessive amounts. While smegma is a natural substance produced by the body as a lubricant and protective measure, an excessive amount of smegma buildup can lead to various health problems.

According to recent studies, normal levels of smegma are typically found around the prepuce area, with concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 2 mg/g of tissue (1). Excessive smegma buildup, on the other hand, may result in bacterial infections, inflammation, and foul odors.

One way to determine whether your dog has an abnormal amount of smegma buildup is by observing their behavior. Dogs with excessive smegma may exhibit signs of discomfort or itchiness around the genital area. Moreover, if you notice discolored or malodorous discharge, it could be an indication that your dog’s smegma levels have gotten out of hand.

In conclusion, while some level of smegma production is normal in dogs, too much can cause various problems for your furry friend. Be sure to monitor your dog’s behavior and hygiene regularly to maintain their well-being.

Can smegma buildup lead to health issues or infections in dogs?

Yes, smegma buildup can lead to health issues or infections in dogs if not properly managed. Smegma is a mixture of skin cells, oil, and other fluids that accumulate in the genital area of both male and female dogs. While it is a natural substance that helps keep the genitals moist and lubricated, excessive buildup can cause problems.

One common issue associated with smegma buildup is balanoposthitis, an inflammation of the penis and prepuce in male dogs. This condition can be painful and potentially lead to secondary infections if left untreated. In addition, smegma buildup can create a favorable environment for bacteria and fungi, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections, pyoderma, and other skin infections.

According to a study published in Veterinary Dermatology, bacterial overgrowth was found to be significantly higher in dog breeds that are prone to smegma accumulation compared to breeds without this characteristic (Sakiyama et al. Preputial bacterial flora of healthy adult dogs with reference to breeds having predisposing anatomical factors. Vet Dermatol. 2015 Jun;26(3):165-e34.). Therefore, proper hygiene practices are crucial to prevent and manage smegma buildup in dogs.

In summary, while smegma is a normal aspect of genital anatomy in dogs, the excessive buildup can lead to health issues and infections. Pet owners should regularly clean their dog’s genitals and monitor for any signs of inflammation or infection.

What causes smegma buildup in dogs?

Smegma buildup in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors. One of the most common causes is poor grooming habits or hygiene practices. According to a survey conducted by the American Kennel Club, 42% of dog owners admitted to not regularly cleaning their pet’s genital area, which can lead to smegma accumulation. Other contributing factors include obesity, skin allergies, and hormonal imbalances.

In male dogs, smegma can accumulate around the prepuce or sheath, where it may mix with urine and create an unpleasant odor. Female dogs may develop smegma in their vulva or other parts of the reproductive tract, which can cause discomfort and irritation.

It is important for dog owners to establish good hygiene routines and regularly clean their pet’s genital area to prevent smegma buildup. In some cases, veterinary intervention may be necessary to address underlying conditions such as skin allergies or hormonal imbalances that contribute to smegma accumulation.

Overall, understanding the causes of smegma buildup in dogs can help pet owners take proactive steps to ensure their furry companions remain healthy and comfortable.

How can dog owners prevent smegma from building up in their pets?

The best way to prevent smegma build-up in dogs is through regular grooming and hygiene practices. This includes daily cleaning of the genital area with warm water and soap, as well as trimming excess fur around the area to avoid trapping debris. A well-balanced diet and regular exercise routine can also contribute to overall canine health and prevent excessive smegma production.

According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, poor hygiene practices can lead to a higher incidence of smegma in intact male dogs. In addition, breed-specific factors such as skin folds or elongated prepuces may increase the risk of smegma accumulation.

In conclusion, dog owners should prioritize hygiene and grooming practices to prevent smegma build-up in their pets. Regular cleaning, healthy diets, and exercise routines will not only benefit your pet’s genital health but also contribute to their overall well-being.

How do you clean dog smegma from furniture?

If your dog’s smegma production is strong, it could smear into your furniture. It’s important to clean this or your house will stink.

My easy solution here is an enzymatic cleaner. I simply apply a small amount on a cloth and wipe it where my dog wiped his smegma.

If you don’t have this, an equal solution of vinegar and water will do, but make sure that you perform a spot test on a hidden part of the furniture as the vinegar may react harshly on some wood finishes.

Anyway, most cleaners will do here as long as it’s not toxic for dogs and kids.

Why does dog smegma smell so bad?

If your dog’s smegma is foul-smelling than normal, it’s usually a sign of an underlying health issue such as an infection. This could be accompanied by swelling, excessive licking on the sheath, and a dripping discharge.

In this case, cleaning alone at home isn’t enough. You should bring the doggo to the veterinarian immediately to curb the infection.

Aside from that, foul-smelling smegma can also indicate urinary tract infections or inflammation on the dog’s bladder.

The bacteria that cause this infection will mix with the smegma, which will result in a foul smell.

Does dog smegma go away on its own?

Most of the time, normal smegma discharge doesn’t require special intervention. However, the buildup may dry and crust around the dog’s genital area.

You only have to clean this at home and your dog is good to go. Unless the smegma has an infection, you can leave it alone.

Is it normal for a male dog to have discharge?

This depends on the color and type of discharge. Smegma, for one, is typically normal unless it develops an infection.

Excessive licking and a foul odor emanating from the dog’s penis is often a red flag for infection. It’s best to bring your dog to the vet if the symptoms don’t go away for a few days.

Moreover, a bloody discharge from a male dog should always be considered serious. This could point to a condition called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

While non-cancerous, it can cause an enlargement of the dog’s prostate gland, which can lead to other conditions.

Usually, neutering is the most effective treatment for this problem. Please read here why is my dog so hyper all of sudden.

In general, dogs with bloody discharge should be brought to the vet’s clinic as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, a pus-like discharge can be due to a lot of reasons. It can be a sign of erectile disorder in canines as well as prostatic disease, urinary tract stones, blood-clotting disorders, and reproductive tract infection.

It’s also possible that a foreign matter got dislodged in your dog’s prepuce or the skin that covers the canine’s penis.

You should also consider the possibility of traumatic injury near the genital area.

Why is my dog’s sperm green?

A dog with a greenish sperm color could be suffering from a prostate infection. You must bring the dog to the vet for an examination.

This is especially urgent if you’re trying to mate your dog with another canine. You wouldn’t want the infection to transfer to another dog or worsen due to mating.

Take note that infections like these won’t go away on their own. It will just worsen every time as long as your dog isn’t getting the proper veterinary care.

Can dogs get STDs?

Yes, canines can contract sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) when mating with another dog.

Some of the symptoms of STD in a dog are open sores around the hindquarters as well as an abnormal discharge.

Your dog’s genitals may become swollen and inflamed, which will cause pain.

If you notice that your dog is licking its genitals too much after mating, you should observe it closely. Check its genitals and see if inflammation or sores is building up.

If you suspect that your doggo has an STD, you should bring it to the vet immediately.

The vet will conduct blood and sampling tests to identify the exact infection that your dog contracted.

Should you wash your dog’s privates?

Yes, even male dogs need to have their genitals cleaned properly.

You may notice that your pooch is self-cleaning its genitals, but it’s best to wash it from time to time. Water should be enough.

But if there’s a buildup around the genitalia, you can ask the vet for a cleaning agent.

You should never use soap or even dog shampoo to clean your dog’s reproductive organ because it will sting.


Knowing how to clean dog smegma will reduce your pet’s risk of infections. It will also keep unpleasant smells at bay.

When in doubt, you can always ask the advice of a veterinarian. The tips I discussed above will also help in dealing with smegma and possible problems.

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