Dog's red rocket.

A male dog’s special anatomy might go unnoticed until something draws your attention to their lower abdominal region. In other words, you know they have a penis. You see them using it to urinate, but it’s not something you dwell on unless you absolutely have to. A dog’s red rocket, or an erection that won’t go down, might seem like it will resolve itself. Sometimes, unfortunately, a dog’s penis can get stuck in this position and it’s cause for immediate concern. 

A Look at Canine Parts

Most of the time, your dog’s penis is safely tucked into it’s external foreskin-like sheath (otherwise known as the prepuce). When a dog is ready to mate, generally aroused, or even moderately excited about something, their penis, also called the glans, will slip out of the sheath. Indeed, a dog’s red rocket is bright red and shiny-looking in appearance. It might also resemble lipstick. 

During and after mating, male and female dogs appear to be attached. At the moment of ejaculation, two glands at the base of the penis swell up to keep the dogs connected for about 15 minutes. If the penis stays outside of the sheath for much longer than that, however, there’s a risk of paraphimosis. 

Oh, No!

Paraphimosis in dogs is characterized by the glans not returning to it’s sheath in time. It is deeply uncomfortable for dogs, and can even have some serious health complications

If exposed to air and rough surfaces for too long, the skin on the glans can become dry and irritated. Left alone, the skin may start to swell and take on a purplish color. The ability to safely urinate becomes compromised. Infection and necrosis can be the result of untreated paraphimosis in dogs. 

Bona Fide Emergency

Experienced dog owners may be able to efficiently and effectively manipulate the glans back into the sheath. Using a cool, calm manner and lots of lubricant, try to slowly push on the glans. Because of the delicate nature of this situation, it’s common for dog owners to reach out for emergency veterinary  care

Paraphimosis can be the result of many different conditions, but these are the most common:

  • Tumor
  • Congenital abnormality or deformity
  • Traumatic injury
  • Neurological issue
  • Hair or other obstruction that is wrapped around the base of the penis

We may prescribe anti-inflammatories or antibiotics, depending on the state of the penis when examined. Surgical correction may be discussed if paraphimosis continues to occur. 

Your Dog’s Red Rocket

Don’t be shy about calling us for help regarding your dog’s red rocket. We know it’s a bit off-putting or confusing, but it happens all the time. The important thing to remember is that your dog needs help right away if their glans doesn’t return to its proper place. 

We are always here for you and your dog at Blue Valley Animal Hospital. Please call us at (913) 681-2818 with any questions or concerns.