A hemorrhoid is defined as a swollen vein in the lower rectum. They can be external or internal and often go away on their own with the proper diet and lifestyle changes.
Many mammals like humans, horses, and monkeys can get hemorrhoids, but are dogs one of them? This article will answer all your questions about dog hemorrhoids and explore the symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention of this uncommon dog disease.
Can Dogs Get Hemorrhoids?
So can dogs get hemorrhoids? Yes, but the answer isn’t quite so simple. Dog hemorrhoids or dog piles have often been debated for veterinarians, with two very distinct sides.
Some veterinarians believe dogs can't get hemorrhoids as their digestive tracts are in a more optimal horizontal position due to them walking on four legs instead of two. They claim there isn't enough pressure in a horizontal digestive system to cause hemorrhoids, and owners likely mistake other conditions of the perianal region as dog hemorrhoids.
Other vets think that the true cause of hemorrhoids is straining to defecate. As dogs experience strain when constipated or suffering from other digestive tract issues, they are also susceptible to hemorrhoids.
Thankfully, hemorrhoids are exceptionally rare in dogs, and if you suspect your dog has hemorrhoids, it is likely to be some other disease with similar signs and symptoms.
Problems Mistaken for Hemorrhoids in Dogs
As mentioned earlier, many medical conditions of the perianal area are commonly mistaken by dog owners as hemorrhoids due to the prevalence of the disease in humans.
It is essential to understand that our dogs' bodies are very different from ours and don’t always face the same challenges. In light of this, it is necessary to know about the problems whose symptoms most closely resemble that of dog hemorrhoids and take them into account before diagnosing hemorrhoids.
The common signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids in dogs are bleeding from the rectum, pain, straining, discomfort, and scooting across the ground on its rear. These symptoms are also seen in:
A condition in which hard, dry stool collects in a dog’s colon or rectum leads to anal gland problems like hindering the emptying of the glands. The symptoms of fecal impaction include defecating less often, straining to defecate, weight loss, and pain while defecating.
Anal Vasculitis or Infection
Inflammation or infection of dog anal glands is a painful condition that can lead to fluid buildup in the anal sac. Its symptoms include frequent licking of the anus, scooting on the ground, straining, pain, and leaking a foul-smelling fluid.
An anal abscess is an infection of the anal sacs that makes them painful, swollen, red, or purple in color and is often accompanied by a fever. Other symptoms include scooting, sitting down suddenly, foul smell, and nibbling or licking the anus.
Rectal prolapse is when a fragment of a dog’s rectum protrudes through its anus in the form of a tube of pink tissue. A dog suffering from a prolapsed rectum will also scoot on its rear, bleed from the anus, and have diarrhea.
A perianal fistula is a painful opening in the tissue around a dog’s anus that can bleed and become infected. Its symptoms are excessive licking, straining, constipation, and anorexia.
Tumors or cancers of the anal sacs are uncommon but extremely serious. Signs of an anal tumor are external swelling or mass, constipation, pain, lethargy, straining, blood, and excessive thirst or urination.
Does My Dog Have Piles?
To diagnose dog piles or hemorrhoids, you must pay close attention to your dog's behavior and conduct a thorough physical examination. Hemorrhoids are very uncomfortable for dogs and can quickly become painful, so you must be able to identify the signs early on.
Look out for itching at the rear end, as that is usually the first sign that something is wrong. Examine your dog's stool for blood and keep an eye out for visible bleeding from the rectum and pain or discomfort when trying to sit.
A dog suffering from hemorrhoids will also drag its butt across the floor to relieve discomfort and itchiness and lay or sit in odd positions to avoid pressure on its rear end. It may act oddly or hesitate before defecating and show visible signs of pain or strain when defecating.
It would help if you also examined your dog's rear end for any redness, swelling, or inflammation.
If your dog has a swollen bum, it could be suffering from hemorrhoids. Prolapsed hemorrhoids in dogs protrude outside the anus and appear as inflamed, dark purple, or reddish swollen veins in natural light. A lump in the anus can also be a sign of hemorrhoids.
Why Has My Dog Got Hemorrhoids?
Several factors can contribute to hemorrhoid development in dogs. Some common causes of dog hemorrhoids are:
- 1.Pressure: Pressure is the most common cause of dog piles or dog hemorrhoids, causing the rectal area's blood vessels to expand and bulge excessively.
- 2.Irritation: Irritation of the intestine or bowel may also increase blood flow to the rectal area and result in swollen, expanded veins.
- 3.Bad diet: Fiber is necessary for good digestion, and a diet lacking in fiber will increase the chances of constipation and straining, leading to hemorrhoids.
- 4.Poor muscle tone: Some vets believe poor muscle tone also plays a role in hemorrhoids. You may look into dog hind limb exercises to build rear body muscle tone.
- 5.Genetics: Genetics can be a key factor in hemorrhoid development. Get access to your dog’s genetic history to determine if it is genetically prone to hemorrhoids.
How to Treat Dog Hemorrhoids At Home?
Treating a dog’s hemorrhoids is not as hard as you may think. Except in very severe cases, hemorrhoids are not serious and can easily be treated at home.
Below are some common remedies to effortlessly treat your dog’s hemorrhoid at home:
Cold witch hazel
Ease your dog’s itchiness by wiping its backside with a cotton ball soaked in cold witch hazel. Do this three times a day to soothe your dog and help it heal.
Low potency over-the-counter steroid creams help reduce itchiness and inflammation, but you should be careful to keep your dog from ingesting any.
Dietary changes are the best way to treat a dog's piles. Ensure your dog is properly hydrated and feed it high-fiber food like carrots, canned pumpkins, and apples. Limit or eliminate dairy products whenever possible.
Cooling pads and cooling mats for dogs are perfect for keeping your dog cool on hot summer days. Cooling mats can be placed in a crate, on a couch, on a carpet, or on a dog bed. There are several options to consider when looking for the best cooling mats for dogs.
And as prevention is often better than cure, it is also necessary to take steps to reduce the chances of hemorrhoids and other related conditions in your dog.
Increase your dog's fiber intake anytime you notice it straining to poop, and ensure it always has clean water available.
Regularly exercise your dog to promote better digestion and healthy weight and treat any underlying conditions like parasite infections, digestive issues, anal sac disease, and anal tumors to decrease the chances of hemorrhoids further.
The cost of veterinary care is relatively low for dogs and cats whose anal glands have never been infected or abscessed. They usually cost less than $50 per visit.
Costs for infected or abscessed glands are much higher because infected glands require frequent medications in the hospital. Abscessed glands usually require surgical procedures costing anywhere from $100 to $1,000 per visit.
If anal sac removal is required, a high level of veterinary care is needed. That usually ranges from $750 to $2,500, depending on the geographic area. It is best to prepare your pet with pet recovery suits after surgery to avoid your pet licking the wound.
How Are Hemorrhoids Different In Dogs and Humans?
Despite being mammals that often suffer from similar conditions, there are still many differences between human and dog hemorrhoids. The main ones are:
- 1.Caused by intestinal disease: The primary cause of hemorrhoids is different in dogs and humans. Humans typically get hemorrhoids due to poor diet or chronic dehydration, making it harder to pass stool, resulting in straining. While hemorrhoids in dogs are most often caused by intestinal disease and inflammation.
- 2.Harder to detect: Hemorrhoids in humans appear as red or discolored bumps when visible and are easily self-diagnosable due to their characteristic appearance. Hemorrhoids in dogs look similar but are more challenging to detect due to other surrounding structures.
- 3.Trickier to treat: Treatment of hemorrhoids also differs in dogs and humans. Hemorrhoids in dogs can be trickier to treat, as certain highly effective treatments like compressing severely swollen veins with rubber bands for quick shrinking are unsuitable for dogs.
The answer to the long-asked question ‘Can a dog get piles/hemorrhoids?’ is likely a yes, but that doesn’t mean you should jump to conclusions. Dog piles are rare, and it is much more likely that your dog is suffering from some other similar problem.
If you are sure your dog is suffering from hemorrhoids, you can treat it at home with some easy, readily available remedies or take it to the vet if you believe the situation is serious.
You can also diagnose the root cause of the disease and prevent or drastically reduce its chances by staying alert and implementing preventive measures.
I hope this article helped you understand and combat dog hemorrhoids. Share the article with your fellow dog lovers and let us know your experience with dog hemorrhoids in the comments below.