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Dog Penis Infections: Causes, Signs, Treatments

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This article was updated on August 26th, 2023

Thankfully, infections involving the penis are quite uncommon in dogs. However, when they do occur they can cause your pooch quite a lot of discomfort and it’s important we address the issue promptly.

Oftentimes, an owner mistakenly thinks that their dog has an infection because they are licking the penis or they have yellow/green discharge. This can be normal as dogs produce a fluid from the penis called smegma (green or yellow penis discharge). This is seen more often in males who have not been castrated. See picture below:

It is normal for dogs to have two symmetrical ‘bumps’ on either side of the base of the penis and these can enlarge when the dog is aroused. Many owners worry that these are tumors or abscesses. In fact, these are the bulbus glandis; a normal part of a male’s anatomy.

normal penis discharge

Signs of penis infection

Some of the more common signs of an infection of the penis include:

  • Blood coming from the penis
  • Excessive licking of the penis
  • A foul smelling discharge
  • Excessive amounts of discharge
  • Lethargy
  • A fever
  • A reduced appetite
  • Difficulty urinating or discomfort when passing urine

What can mimic an infection of the penis?

While infections of the penis are uncommon, it is not so unusual for a dog to develop a urinary infection, bladder stones, a tumor or prostate disease. All of these conditions can cause similar signs to a penis infection.

Some owners may also mistake normal canine behaviour for penis issues. This can include erections, humping and ejaculation. All of this is something we will see in mature male dogs, though more often in those who’ve not been neutered. The penis can remain erect for up to an hour and the dog may lick at it and seem unsettled during this time.

What tests will my vet run?

If you’ve noticed worrying signs and are concerned for an infection of the penis in your dog, it is best to book them in to see your vet. They will examine your dog and their penis and should also assess their prostate gland by performing a rectal exam.

In some instances, your vet may want to perform a urine analysis and perhaps an ultrasound of the bladder and/or prostate gland.

Your vet should also check for any rashes on the outside of the penis and will ensure the penis can retract normally into the foreskin. They may flush it, to check for any debris or foreign bodies such as grass awns.

How is a penis infection treated?

If an infection of the penis is diagnosed, your vet is likely to issue a course of antibiotics. This may be accompanied by some pain relief and anti inflammatories. If the infection is on the outside of the penis or if there is a wound, your vet is also likely to suggest a medicated wash, to minimize bacteria levels further.

While your dog may have an urge to lick their penis due to discomfort or itching, this must be prevented. This can be done by using a buster collar and by distracting your dog with things like chews, food puzzles and nice long walks.

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  • Dr. Linda Simon, Veterinarian

    Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS) has 10 years of experience as a veterinarian. She is a veterinary surgeon with a special interest in geriatric patient care, dermatology and endocrinology. She is a member of the British Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. She graduated top of her class from UCD School of Veterinary Medicine in Dublin in 2013. Linda has also worked as a locum vet in a range of clinics, including 24 hour emergency clinics and busy charity clinics.

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Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.


  1. Good info Thank you. My neutered male dog exposed his entire penis and bulbus glandus . Both structures were pink pink and vascularized. Is this an illness sympton or a sign of agression or???

    • Hi there, this would not usually be a sign of illness or aggression, no. It can occur when a dog is aroused, something that occurs even in neutered males (although less commonly than it would occur in intact males). As long as everything returned to normal within 30 minutes and he was not distressed, this is not a concerning episode.
      If it continues to happen or his penis ever gets stuck out, you’d need to see a vet urgently. For most dogs, though, this is just something that happens now and then. It sometimes happens when they are e.g. humping a toy or their bed.

      “The information on this website is not a substitute for in-person veterinary care. Always seek advice from your veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet’s medical condition.”

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