Dog hemorrhoids are very rare, but they do require medical attention when they occur. They occur when blood vessels in your dog's rectum or anus become enlarged and bulge due to increased blood flow. Here's what you should know about hemorrhoids in dogs.
Causes and Types of Dog Hemorrhoids
Dog hemorrhoids occur when pressure in the rectum increases enough to cause expansion of blood vessels. Increased blood flow through expanded blood vessels causes the vessels to bulge out and become hemorrhoids.
Vets believe that poor muscle tone and bad diet may play a role in causing dog hemorrhoids. There may be a genetic component as well.
Hemorrhoids in dogs can be either internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum below the lining of the anus. External hemorrhoids occur outside the anus just under the skin. Hemorrhoids can rupture and bleed.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids in Dogs
The first sign of a dog hemorrhoid is usually itchiness in the rectal area, though the first noticeable sign will likely be blood in the dog's stool. If your dog's hemorrhoids are external, he may attempt to relieve the discomfort by dragging the area on the ground. External hemorrhoids will create visible protrusions from the anus. In some cases, the hemorrhoid may become infected, in which case the area will be painful to the touch.
Hemorrhoids in dogs are often difficult to distinguish from rectal tumors and fissures, so you should have your vet examine them to verify that they are, indeed, hemorrhoids. Because dog hemorrhoids are rare, it's very likely that your dog may in fact be suffering from another condition.
Treating Your Dog's Hemorrhoids
If your vet confirms that your dog is suffering from hemorrhoids and not another condition such as rectal tumors, you can probably treat the hemorrhoids at home. Use a cotton ball to apply chilled witch hazel to the area three times daily. You should keep the witch hazel in the refrigerator so that it will be cold enough. Press the cotton ball against the hemorrhoid until it's warm; the combination of witch hazel and cold helps the blood vessels to constrict once again.
You should also feed your dog differently. You'll need to add fiber to his diet. Give him a spoonful of canned pumpkin each day. Feed him jerky treats instead of dry dog biscuits and eliminate dairy products, especially cheese, from your dog's diet until the hemorrhoids have healed.
Do what you can to encourage your dog to drink more water. Change his water more frequently so that it's fresher and more appealing. Exercise your dog more so that he gets thirsty more often. Exercising your dog and keeping him well hydrated will make his bowel movements pass more easily, and it will also increase his blood flow to help the hemorrhoids heal.
Protect your dog's hemorrhoids from infection by applying a dab of petroleum jelly to the affected area before you let him relieve himself. You can use a Q-tip or cotton ball. Clean the area after he finishes his bowel movement and apply aloe vera gel.
Read more: Symptoms of Dog Hemorrhoids - VetInfo