- Dogs with a stub tail or no tail likely have a tail pocket — They’re extremely common in bulldogs and pugs.
- Keeping your pooch’s tail pocket clean is quick and easy — You can even use baby wipes.
- Tail pockets can get infected — If you suspect an infection, consult a vet before attempting at-home treatments.
What is a tail pocket?
A tail pocket is a small pouch or indentation which sits just below or beneath your dog’s tail. Tail pockets are most common in certain bulldog breeds, as well as other dog breeds with stubby, small, or corkscrew tails. You won’t be able to see your dog’s tail pocket from the outside, but there are other ways of figuring out if they have one! The following wrinkly dog breeds are more likely to have tail pockets:
- English bulldogs
- American bulldogs
- French bulldogs
How to find your dog’s tail pocket
If you’re not sure whether your pooch has a tail pocket, the easiest way to find out is by carefully sticking your finger underneath their tail stub. Prepare for them to wriggle about a bit, as this may feel ticklish! If you can fit your fingers inside the gap and/or notice hair and debris falling out, your dog has a tail pocket. If you already suspect your pup has a tail pocket infection, it’s a good idea to slip on a pair of latex gloves before poking around their tail pocket.
👉 Your pup might not develop their tail pocket until they’re six months or older. Bulldog owners should check their pup’s tail pocket area again when they’re fully grown.
Potential tail pocket health problems and how to fix them
Tail pockets aren’t an issue as long as you keep them clean. However, a build-up of dirt and debris, as well as moisture retention, in tight bulldog tail pockets can sometimes lead to inflammation or bacterial and yeast infections. Here are some of the key symptoms dog owners should watch out for:
- Dry, flaky skin around the tail
- Abnormal brown discharge (this could also be anal gland fluids)
- Foul odor coming from around your dog’s tail
If you notice any of the above, check in with a vet before attempting to treat your pup’s possible tail pocket infection at home.
🚨 When the bulldog’s tail pocket is so tight that it can’t be kept free of infection, surgery may be necessary to remove your dog’s tail. This is a last-resort option for severe cases.
How to clean a tail pocket
Cleaning your dog’s tail pocket area with baby wipes on a regular basis is the easiest way to prevent a tail pocket infection from developing. Here’s a step-by-step guide to keeping your pooch’s rear end clean:
- Gently but thoroughly wipe their tail pocket with a medicated Chlorhexidine wet wipe to remove any grime.
- With a fresh paper towel, clean cloth, or cotton ball, carefully dry the tail pocket.
- Generously apply a layer of soothing balm to the area.
🚨 Giving your dog a regular bath isn’t enough to keep their tail pocket clear of debris and dirt. It requires regular cleanings and special attention.
3 products that can help keep your dog's tail pocket clean and bacteria free
These are some of our favorite soothing balms and sprays to help keep your pooch’s tail pocket clean.
Gentle yet effective, Wrinkle Balm is an all-natural antifungal and antibacterial balm that works to combat yeast and bacterial infections in sensitive areas. The ideal final step in your tail pocket cleaning routine, Wrinkle Balm can also be used for skin fold dermatitis, scabs, and more.
Pet MD Chlorhexidine Wipes
An excellent option for multi-pet families, Pet MD Chlorhexidine Wipes are another great way to keep your dog’s tail pocket clean. Not only are these wipes suitable for sensitive skin, but the active ingredients also work to eliminate yeast and bacteria.
Naturals Tea Tree Oil Spray
Naturals Tea Tree Oil Spray is made from natural ingredients that won’t irritate your dog’s sensitive areas, including their tail pocket. The non-greasy formula is ideal for keeping your dog’s tail pocket skin hydrated and clean, eliminating any itchiness they might be experiencing.