Smegma: 101

by Nancy Boland

It’s not the most attractive of topics but it’s one of those questions a lot of dog owners have but may feel embarrassed about asking about. Smegma is the yellow or greenish pus that sometimes oozes out of a dog’s penis. Fortunately for your dog, and your embarrassment levels, this discharge is natural and is usually no cause for concern. However, if your dog is constantly licking his genital area, in particular if he isn’t neutered, it’s always best to have him examined by your vet.

What causes Smegma?

  • Urethra problems – Tumors, trauma or stones.
  • Bladder issues – Urinary tract infections, or inflammation
  • Prostate disorders – Prostatitis (infection or inflammation of the prostate
  • Bleeding disorders – Thrombocytopenia (a decreased platelet count) Allergies – some dogs produce smegma when they have issues with contact allergens, affecting the skin.


  • Excessive licking
  • Spotting
  • Discharge
  • Swelling of the genital area


In the majority of cases, smegma requires no treatment. However, if your dog is constantly licking his genitals or has a heavy discharge, you should have him examined by your vet who will do the following:

  • Perform a complete physical examination, including a thorough check of your dog’s genitals.
  • Run screening tests including a complete blood count to determine if there is an infection or inflammation.
  • Take a sample of the discharge for a cytology (cell) and bacteria culture.
  • Take X-rays of your dog’s abdomen to see if there are any prostate abnormalities.
  • Perform an ultrasound for a more thorough examination of your dog’s abdomen.


One way to prevent smegma build up is to neuter your dog. This will decrease the amount of smegma produced. To prevent infections, some have found that a supplement containing green tea, famed for its antibacterial properties may be beneficial. As always, it’s best to research first and always seek your vet’s advice before administering any treatment.

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