Dogs Can’t Get Hemorrhoids, but There Are Other Problems That Happen

Written by Alan
Published: October 18, 2022
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Dogs are unable to get hemorrhoids as humans do.

Did you feel relieved when you learned that? Not to be a party pooper, but there could be other problems. The goal is to be a responsible dog parent, and part of it is being proactive. Once you know the other genital issues that could affect your dog, you can work towards preventing them.

Hemorrhoids occur in humans when the veins in and around the lower rectum and anus swell, itch, or cause bleeding. They could be internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids are under the skin around the anus. The lower rectum and anus linings, however, host external hemorrhoids.

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Hemorrhoids affect more people than you may think. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), about 1 in 20 Americans have hemorrhoids. 

Why Can’t Get Dogs Hemorrhoids?

dog in a crate
Dogs aren’t susceptible to hemorrhoids; however other maladies that appear similar to hemorrhoids could make a dog feel unwell.

©Stephanie Barnes/

Have you caught your dog shifting his weight or spotted a small amount of blood close to his genitalia? Hemorrhoids are so common in humans that dog parents often assume their pet has them.

However, there are differences in the anatomical structures of human and canine gastrointestinal systems. For example, dogs have a lower GI system that runs horizontally compared to ours, which runs vertically. While this reduces pressure on the blood vessels in their anus and rectum, it makes us more susceptible to hemorrhoid problems.

Problems in Dogs Mistaken for Hemorrhoids

Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse occurs when the inner parts of the rectum protrude through the anus. It can appear in two ways: partial, when a little portion of the rectal tissue shows when a dog strains and then returns to the rectum. It may also be complete if the anal tissue is visible even when the dog does not push and does not return to its natural place.

The tissue may deteriorate and turn a dark shade of blue or black over time if the prolapse is not treated. It may eventually progress into a complete prolapse. 

The most likely causes of this disease in dogs include severe diarrhea, parasite infections, chronic constipation, tumors in the rectum or anus, inflammation, or straining to pee or stool. 

If you discover anything protruding from your dog’s behind, you should take it to the veterinarian. The veterinarian can assess whether there is a partial or total prolapse, treat, and diagnose the underlying cause.

Complete rectal prolapse is a medical emergency that requires urgent veterinary care. However, to ensure the situation does not worsen into a complete prolapse, a partial prolapse, in which the tissue vanishes after feces, still necessitates immediate veterinarian intervention.

Anal Sac Disease

Anal glands in the anus of a dog produce an oily, smelly secretion stored in the anal sacs. The anal sacs are between the internal and external anal sphincters. These muscles allow the dog to retain feces in the rectum until it is time to pass them. The anal sacs escape through two holes on either side of the anus.

Thus, a blockage or infection of the anal sacs causes anal sac disease. This disease is one of the most common disorders affecting the canine anal area. However, they are more common in small, obese dogs. Terrible odor, scooting, pain when pooping, and licking the bum are some symptoms to look out for in your pet.

Anal sacs can become malignant, infected, impacted, or develop an abscess if untreated. Excessive gland production, weak muscles in obese dogs, and an inability to routinely empty the anal sacs are typical causes of clogged anal sacs.

Your veterinarian can manually extract impacted anal sacs and prescribe antibiotics if there is an infection. If the condition persists, there may be surgical removal. However, fecal incontinence is one of the common side effects of the surgery.

You know what they say about prevention being better than cure. Adequate exercise and a healthy, fibrous diet to increase fecal mass should do the trick.


Dogs affected by proctitis experience an inflammation of the anus and the rectum lining. The rectum is the final section of the large intestine in dogs before the anus, so this condition may occasionally indicate severe inflammation in the large intestine. Proctitis can affect any dog breed, but Boxers seem more susceptible than other breeds. It usually manifests in dogs before the age of two.

As with other gastrointestinal conditions, bloody stools, licking of the anus, stomach pain, painful defecation, weight loss, scooting, and straining all define proctitis. However, contrary to what you may know, proctitis isn’t synonymous with colitis. The latter inflames the large intestine from the end of the small intestine to the rectum and is a common cause of proctitis.

Some other factors that can lead to proctitis include rectal injuries, chronic diarrhea, dietary allergies, ingesting foreign objects, immune disorders, and inflammatory disease. 

While proctoscopy, ultrasounds, and X-rays help diagnose proctitis, digital rectal examination and laboratory tests are the primary methods for detecting proctitis.

Surgery may be necessary if there is a tumor or scar tissue in the large intestines. Proctitis is treatable by removing the triggers. You can reduce the occurrence with antibiotics, worm medicine, anti-inflammatory medications, and diet control.

Perianal fistula

This is yet another disorder that affects the anus in dogs. Perianal fistula, also called anal furunculosis, refers to tunnel-like lesions in the deeper tissues around your dog’s anus. These lesions start as little skin-surface holes before growing wide and deep and eventually encircling the entire anus.

German shepherds are at the highest risk of perianal fistula. This could be attributed to their low, heavy tail found between the hip bones, covering the anus. However, other breeds like Retrievers and Setters can also be affected. 

Although the cause of this disease is largely unknown, you can note some of the general symptoms of digestive tract infections, such as constipation, repulsive smell, strenuous bowel movement, and bloody stools.

Book an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as your dog exhibits these symptoms. Your vet will perform a physical examination in addition to requesting information from you regarding the symptoms you have observed in your dog and when you first noticed them. This physical exam includes a rectal examination because an infection or clogging of the anal sacs may cause perianal fistulas.

Perianal fistulas can be managed rather than cured. The areas under the tail and around the anus need to be dry and clean because warmth and moisture make it easy for germs to grow. Food allergies are occasionally linked to perianal fistulas; thus, switching to a hypoallergenic diet can be beneficial. Medications, such as metronidazole antibiotic, immunosuppressant cyclosporine, and ketoconazole, may be prescribed for routine use.

Perineal Hernia

An organ or tissue that protrudes through an abnormal opening is called a hernia. A perineal hernia is a pelvic floor rupture through which an organ bulges into the area between the anus and the scrotum. It develops when the muscles supporting the rectum become weak, thus trapping organs in the hernia. A perineal hernia can be fatal and inhibit a dog’s ability to urinate and defecate if the bladder or gut is affected.

Perineal hernias are common in unneutered, middle-aged male dogs. Compared to other breeds, Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, Welsh Corgis, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Kelpies and Kelpie hybrids, Dachshunds and Dachshund hybrids, and Boxers are more susceptible to this rectum disorder.

There are a variety of factors that potentially cause this illness. The tissues around the rectum stretch, weaken, and rip in geriatric male dogs because their typically larger prostate exerts additional pressure during urination and feces. 

Since hernias are less likely in castrated dogs, some veterinarians assume that hormonal variations in unneutered male dogs increase their risk of getting perineal hernias.

Weak pelvic muscles, prostate disease, and chronic constipation are some other factors that could lead to a perineal hernia.

if your dog has swelling around the anus, you should see your vet immediately. Your vet will inquire about your dog’s medical history and perform a rectal examination to distinguish between a hernia and a tumor.

Blood tests and a urinalysis may be necessary to create an accurate health profile. These are to assess your dog’s resistance to medication and spot any coexisting disorders.

The type of treatment depends on the severity of the herniation. Castration and surgical repair are the recommended management methods. But, non-surgical alternatives exist.

Medical care is an option in mild cases, although it does not cure the hernia or the rupture. A high-fiber diet, stool softeners, and enemas all work together to ease the discomfort of defecation, and a catheter helps to decompress the bladder.

Remember that your dog is at risk of getting his bladder or colon entrapped in the hernia because this option is only a temporary fix.

The recommended course of treatment for a perineal hernia is typically surgery. It fixes the pelvic diaphragm and strengthens it with a surgical mesh or muscle flap. Also, the bladder and colon may be stitched to the abdominal wall to help stabilize those organs and stop a recurrence.

Unneutered males are castrated to reduce hormone production and prostate size. In addition, this procedure reduces the risk of developing a perineal hernia in the future.

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About the Author

Alan is a freelance writer and an avid traveler. He specializes in travel content. When he visits home he enjoys spending time with his family Rottie, Opie.

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