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top view of funny french bulldog bum. Dog lying on bed an relaxing. Daytime and lifestyle indoors

This frenchie most certainly has one

The essentials

  • 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.

Most dogs don’t have tail pockets, but breeds with wrinkled skin, such as bulldogs, usually do. A tail pocket is simply a skin fold underneath the tail right above their anus. It’s not visible to the naked eye, but you can feel it under their tail. While a tail pocket might not be the top priority when adopting a puppy, this small area requires regular cleaning to prevent infections, so it’s something to consider depending on the type or breed of dog you want.

What is a tail pocket?

A tail pocket is a small pouch or indentation that sits just below or beneath your dog’s tail. Tail pockets are most common in certain bulldog breeds and other dog breeds with stubby, small, or corkscrew tails. You won’t see your dog’s tail pocket from the outside, but there are other ways to determine if they have one!

How to find your dog’s tail pocket

If you’re unsure 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 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 six months or older. Bulldog owners should check their pup’s tail pocket area again when they’re fully grown.

Common breeds with tail pockets

While bulldogs are the quintessential breed with a tail pocket, other breeds have them, too. Tail pockets are most common in dogs with wrinkles or skin folds, such as pugs. Some breeds include:

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 tail pockets can sometimes lead to inflammation or bacterial and yeast infections. Keep an eye out for symptoms such as dry, flaky skin around the tail, abnormal brown discharge, or a foul odor 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. These can also be a sign of impacted anal glands. While not necessarily serious, this smelly issue also requires veterinary attention.

🚨 Some dogs may have a tail pocket so tight that it can’t be kept free of infection. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove your dog’s tail. 

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. Curious about the particular steps? Check out our guide to cleaning a tail pocket.

While a tail pocket may seem like a tiny consideration in the grand scheme of pet parenting, it’s a small but crucial part of pet care for dogs who have them. Cleaning your dog’s tail pocket with a gentle wipe or damp cloth at least once a week helps prevent tail pocket infections and keeps this area odor-free.

Frequently asked questions

Are bulldog breeds the only breeds with tail pockets?

While tail pockets are most common in bulldog breeds, any dog with wrinkly skin may have one. This is why tail pockets are also frequently seen in pugs.

What causes a tail pocket in dogs?

A tail pocket is basically a skin flap that collects dirt and debris underneath a dog’s tail or the place a dog’s tail should be, just above their anus. It only occurs in dogs with very wrinkly skin, no tails, stubby tails, or tight corkscrew tails, such as the English bulldog.

How to keep a tail pocket clean?

Use gentle wipes or a damp cloth for routine cleaning. Be sure to dry their tail pocket completely to avoid skin infections from excess moisture. You also may want to wear gloves because a tail pocket may accumulate gross debris like loose fur and dirt. Aim to clean their tail pocket once a week.

How to tell if a tail pocket is infected?

Dry, irritated skin, a foul odor, or brown drainage coming from a dog’s tail pocket indicates infection. While you may be able to treat a mild infection at home with medicated wipes, it’s best to take your dog to the vet to handle the situation quickly and effectively.