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Posted in: Dogs

Why Are My Dog’s Balls Red?

Some male dog owners have experienced this issue. Going to the vet with the question: “Why are my dog’s balls red?” doesn’t seem like the most comfortable option – but it is the advised one.

All veterinarians have had situations where a person would tell them: “My dog’s balls are red and irritated, what do I do?” It’s their job to help with many health problems animals might experience, and this is one of them. Scrotum problems can cause severe issues for your pup, and this isn’t a time to be embarrassed.

Even if you’ve neutered your dog, you should still pay attention to his nether region. Of course, since you’re here, we’d guess you’ve already Googled something along the lines of “My are my dog’s balls red?”, so you’ve probably noticed your Fido has certain… issues.

Here’s what red testicles might mean for your dog!

Dog’s Scrotum And Problems With It

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Even spayed and neutered animals can have health problems with their reproductive organs, but the chances of complications increase with dogs that aren’t fixed. While female canines bleed in heat and can develop plenty of ovarian issues, males can have several health problems regarding their scrotum.

The scrotum is the pouch of skin underneath the dog’s tail that contains testicles, male’s reproductive gland. This skin is thin and hairless and without any fat. The purpose of the scrotum is to regulate the temperature of the testicles, as it keeps them away from the stomach. This is also why the scrotum contracts in cold weather – it ensures the testicles are closer to the tummy, where it’s warmer.

However, just like any other skin, the scrotum can also face irritations or injuries.

If you wondered “Why are my dog’s balls red?”, chances are he has some inflammation process.

You should treat mild inflammation, cuts, or rashes, just like you would if they were on any other part of the skin. Use aloe vera or antibiotic ointment to ensure your dog’s region is healthy and pain-free. You may even use hypochlorous acid or Vetricyn.

Still, if you’ve noticed your pup’s scrotum looks unusually discolored or swollen, or if your dog seems to have a fever, get him to the vet. He might be having some more severe health problems.

What Causes A Dog’s Balls To Be Red?

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We’ve already mentioned the most common – and most benign – reasons why a dog’s testicles might be red. However, there are a few other, more severe reasons behind this.

No matter what’s causing your dog’s balls to be red, this is certainly an indication of some sort of discomfort.

The most common causes of red balls in dogs are:

  • Injuries
  • Orchitis
  • Testicular torsion
  • Tumors

Orchitis

This is a common condition that is, in fact, acute inflammation of the testicles. It can be caused by bacteria or fungi, but it can also be viral. The source can be urologic, hematogenous, or by direct inoculation.

The signs of this disease include swollen testicles or epididymis and pain in the scrotum. Sometimes, the excoriation of the scrotal skin and scrotal edema might also be present.

Orchitis usually affects dogs around four years of age, and all breeds are prone to it. However, dogs that aren’t neutered and are used for breeding are especially prone to this.

While it’s difficult to determine the precise reason behind orchitis in dogs, this condition is usually caused either by infectious organisms or some traumas. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean your dog was attacked or that he hit himself at the wrong spot. Dog masturbation is a common cause of scrotum traumas, especially if it’s excessive. Having two dogs stuck for too long can also cause this.

Testicular Torsion

Testicular torsion means that one or both testicles are twisted on the connective tissue. Sometimes, it includes an inflammation that is blocking the blood flow inside the tissue. The closing off of the blood supply that goes to the testicles is usually what causes this inflammation.

How does this happen?

Testicles are held within the scrotum thanks to the single bundle of tissue that carries blood from and to the scrotum. Sometimes, usually due to some external force, the testicles can rotate, impeding the blood flow within the connective tissue.

Testicular torsion is a very painful condition. It causes testicles to become red and swollen. This condition can also be very dangerous, especially if left untreated. The longer the testicles stay twisted, the bigger the chances of permanent damage being done to the testicles. Sometimes, they might entirely die, which can result in amputation or even sepsis.

Tumors

Unfortunately, sometimes the answer to the ‘Why are my dog’s balls red?” might be the one you’re afraid of.

Tumors are a common cause of red balls – but most notably, a scrotum of a dog suffering from tumors will likely be swollen. Usually, this will only involve one side.

There are three common types of testicular tumors in dogs:

  • Sertoli cell tumors
  • Interstitial cell tumors
  • Seminomas

Other tumors that can involve this region but are not as common can include:

  • Lipoma
  • Fibroma
  • Chondroma
  • Teratoma
  • Fibroma
  • Embryonal carcinoma

Usually, a dog will have more than one type of tumor if he becomes sick.

Fortunately, most types of tumors are benign and can be easily treated and removed. For example, interstitial cell tumors are very small and a vet will usually find them by accident. Also, seminomas affect cells that produce sperm and don’t spread fast. While they aren’t deadly, they can lead to your dog having some female characteristics. Other than that, they are unlikely to harm your pup.

However, Sertoli cell tumors can end up being quite dangerous. They spread really fast, causing swelling and sometimes even pain. Luckily, they are slow to metastasize, but they can spread to lymph nodes. They also lead to excessive production of hormones, whether that be estrogen or testosterone.

Tumors are the most dangerous condition a dog with red balls might have. Still, they are treatable if discovered on time. This is why regular vet visits are important.

How To Stop Dogs From Licking Everything?

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The most common thing that makes owners realize something might be wrong with their dog’s ‘down there’ is excessive licking. While this is a good thing in a certain situation, as a dog can let you know that he’s in pain, it can also be a cause of the problem. If anything else, no one loves hearing the sound of a dog’s very sloppy licking!

If you’ve ensured your dog doesn’t have any health problems but is still using every opportunity to lick himself, here are a few things you could do:

  • Train your dog and teach him the “leave that!” command. This can solve plenty of behavioral issues, and excessive licking is one of them. When a dog knows how to obey, he’ll stop with unwanted behaviors after just one command.
  • Ignore him. Sometimes, dogs do all sorts of things just to gain our attention. Licking might be one of them. Try ignoring him and see if this helps.
  • Your dog might be bored, so try playing with him. Boredom is another reason behind obsessive behaviors, and excessive licking is one of them.
  • Use some of the anti-dog licking products. There are plenty of these you can find online, and most will work very well. The most commonly used one is the bitter spray. You can use this spray on the areas a dog likes to chew and lick (just try to avoid the most sensitive areas). This spray has a bitter taste and it can make dogs stop licking the areas with it. Keep in mind that some dogs actually like the taste of a certain brand of bitter sprays, so it would be wise to try more than one.

Of course, none of these methods will work if there is a medical reason behind the licking. Fleas, parasites, allergies, and infections will commonly cause dogs to lick themselves. The same goes for any of the above-mentioned conditions, which will also result in red balls in dogs.

Dogs might experience excessive licking out of psychological reasons, as well. Stress, traumas, and neurological issues can result in obsessive behaviors, including excessive licking.

If your vet ruled out all of these health problems, then your dog simply likes spending time licking himself – or he is bored. This is where these tips come in handy.

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Conclusion

“Why are my dog’s balls red?” is one of those uncomfortable questions that come with being a pet owner. Keeping dogs as pets isn’t always fun – sometimes you have to deal with certain unpleasant sights or behaviors. Checking out the dog’s lower region is certainly one of them – but it is still necessary.

Red scrotum doesn’t necessarily have to mean your dog is sick. Minor inflammations and scratches are the most common reason behind this. However, if the redness is too strong or followed by a swollen scrotum and if it doesn’t go away after a few days, take your dog to the vet ASAP. You don’t want to risk your pup having some severe medical condition.