By now, you’re probably very used to dealing with things that other people would deem gross or inappropriate for polite conversation, but as a dog lover, it doesn’t phase you at all to talk about poop. It’s an important topic, and that’s why we need to address it. Poop can tell you a lot about your dog’s health and well-being, and that should matter more to you than sticking to comfortable subjects of discussion. Speaking of “sticking” to things, when poop sticks to your dog’s fur, it can be far more than a smelly nuisance. Feces trapped in fur can lead to digestion problems, parasites, infections, and more. There’s even a term for the condition of poop getting matted in dogs’ fur around the anus–pseudocoprostasis. If the condition is not remedied, complete obstruction of the rectum may occur, and that can be a big problem. So yes, we need to talk about this because it is important to your dog’s health, especially if you are one of the dog owners who constantly finds themselves wiping their dog down after every potty break. Here are six ways you can prevent poop from sticking to your dog’s fur.
1. Trim The Hair Back There
One of the most common solutions to the poopy fur problem is to practice good grooming habits. This is especially true for owners of dogs with long fur. If the hair around your dog’s anus gets too long, it can start to trap fecal matter more easily. If it isn’t dealt with, the fur can start to mat and collect even more feces and bacteria, and eventually parasites and pests can also appear. Keeping the fur trimmed at all times can go a long way in preventing this.
If your dog is a bit uncomfortable with you wielding clippers near their derriere (honestly, who wouldn’t be?) then you may want to try making grooming a more positive experience. Provide your pup with rewards like treats and pets. Speak soothingly and reassuringly while you are grooming. Take them for a walk or a trip to the dog park afterward. The more positive associations you can make with grooming time, the easier it will be next time around. You should try to keep the hair near the anus short, but also make sure that poop isn’t getting stuck in the long fur of the back legs. If it is, you may need to groom that area, as well.
2. Clean Up Right Away
If you see that poop is clinging to your dog’s fur, it is important that you clean it up immediately. When poop gets stuck in the fur, it makes a sticky, matted mess that can cause even more feces to get stuck, and the problem can easily get out of control quickly. Have some moist wipes handy, and clean thoroughly to prevent more poop from collecting.
Additionally, if poop is getting stuck in your dog’s fur elsewhere, like around their paws or face, it means your dog is stepping or rolling in feces. The best solution is to clean up their environment. Make sure you are scooping their play area regularly. Your pup should never have to play in an area where there is hazardous waste that could make them sick.
3. Change Your Dog’s Diet
Fecal matter can get caught in fur more easily when stools are too soft, loose, or runny. If you notice that your dog’s poop isn’t as solid as it should be, it’s likely that your dog isn’t getting enough fiber in their diet. It’s also possible that your dog requires more easily digestible food. Many dogs have individual nutritional requirements, much like humans. Do some research into what your dog’s diet should consist of. Talk to your veterinarian or nutritionist about reformulating your dog’s diet to address their needs.
4. Check For Infections, Parasites, And Medical Conditions
There are several medical conditions that can cause stools to become loose and soft, especially conditions that cause frequent diarrhea. Intestinal worms, infections in the digestive system, and conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease can all cause poop to be abnormally watery or loose. Incontinence can also cause fecal matter to collect near the anus. Take a trip to see your veterinarian. Your vet may ask you to take a stool sample in for testing. They should be able to determine what is wrong and recommend a course of treatment if the problem is a medical condition instead of a dietary or grooming need.
5. Deal With Physical Abnormalities Or Injuries
Some dogs are just built differently. When I was a dog walker, I took care of a French Bulldog with an unusual build. It was likely that this dog had been rescued from a backyard breeder or puppy mill situation, as deformities are common in those circumstances. The Frenchie had a slight deformity in the pelvic region that caused the area below the anus to jut out a little bit, which resulted in poop getting stuck there after every bowel movement.
If your dog has physical abnormalities or injuries, it might contribute to the problem of poop sticking to the fur. Ask your veterinarian to check for these issues if all else fails. They may be able to provide a surgical solution or other ideas for treatment. If the issue cannot be corrected, your vet can give you advice on keeping the area as clean as possible without medical intervention.
6. Use A Non-Stick Product
A group of students won the grand prize at the 2018 Cornell Animal Health Hackathon by creating a solution of beeswax and carnauba wax that could be sprayed on a dog’s backside to prevent poop from sticking to fur. They called their product HygenaPet and said the retail value would be about $10 per bottle. I haven’t seen this product commercially available anywhere yet, but I would not be surprised if this spray or others like it hit the market soon. Be on the lookout for it if all other solutions have failed. Ask your veterinarian about these products and if they have anything similar that may help. I haven’t personally tried these products with my dogs, so I cannot speak to how effective they may be, but they are certainly worth looking into. Hopefully something like this will be available in the near future, if it isn’t already in stores.
What other things have you done to prevent poop from sticking to your dog’s fur? What recommendations do you have for other dog owners with this problem? Let us know in the comments below!