Why Are My Dog’s Balls Red?

Most dog owners get more exposure to their dog’s private parts than they’d care for. Even if you try to ignore your dog licking himself, sometimes you cannot help but notice there’s something wrong. Why are my dog’s balls red and peeling? Why are my dog’s testicles red and raw? Why is my dog’s scrotum pink? Whether you like it or not, this is a concern you must address. What if the dog is sick? You need to do something. 

The good news is that in many cases it’s not a serious problem. A minor irritation can make your dog’s ball red and it will go away on its own. However, changes in your dog’s scrotum appearance can be a sign of medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. Here’s all you need to know about your dog’s ball turning pink or red.

What does it mean if my dog’s testicles are red and raw?

The scrotum is the pouch that houses your dog’s testicles or used to, if your pet was neutered. The skin of the scrotum is very thin and hairless. It is also easily irritable.

As you may have noticed, licking his balls appears to be any dog’s favorite pastime. It’s a pleasurable activity for him and, since they’re there, easily accessible, why not? 

Excessive licking can make your dog’s scrotum red and raw. If he’s been at it for the past hour what can you expect? Try to examine the dog’s testicles for any sign of injury, such as scratch, puncture or insect bite. Also, and this is very important, check for any swelling. If you see nothing of the kind, you probably have no reason to worry. 

What you need to ask yourself is why is your dog licking himself so much. Besides, the obvious reason, that is. 

Your dog’s sudden obsession with his nether parts can be a sign of boredom or of a psychological problem. If your dog lacks mental stimulation, he will entertain himself as best he can. You can easily cure him of his boredom by increasing the duration of his daily walks. Take him to a doggy park and buy him some mentally-stimulating toys. Even a chew bone will relieve the boredom.

On the other hand, your dog might be suffering from anxiety or depression. Dogs are not immune to such problems. Try to find the causes of his psychological problems. Have there been any changes in your household recently? Did someone he was particularly attached to leave? Is there a new baby in the house? Does your dog feel neglected? 

If your dog is licking his balls red and raw just for fun, he could use some training. Commands like ‘Leave it’ should be extended to leaving his balls alone.

Why are my dog’s balls red and swollen?

Swelling is a clear sign there’s something wrong with your dog. Here are a few medical conditions that might cause this problem. 

Injury

If your dog hurt his underbelly while playing or running around, this might cause his scrotum to appear swollen. A scratch or a puncture opens the way for viruses, bacteria or fungi to infect the scrotum. If there’s some sort of inflammation the dog’s  testicles will look bright red and swollen. 

An acute inflammation of the scrotum is called orchitis, and it can also be caused by internal problems, such as an UTI or an inflammation of the prostate.

Once again, examine his scrotum. If you find any wound, you should use an antibiotic ointment. The infection should go away in a couple of days. However, if it doesn’t appear to be working, you should take him to the vet. They will perform some tests to determine the exact nature of the infection and prescribe a targeted treatment. Your dog might need oral antibiotics. 

Brucellosis

If you thought STDs were a problem exclusive to humans, you were wrong. Brucellosis is a sexually transmitted disease and it is very difficult to treat. The disease is caused by the Brucella canis bacteria. To be fair to dogs, they can pick up this dangerous bacteria simply by sniffing the urine of another infected dog. 

In male dogs, the disease manifests itself through an enlarged testicle. Or the whole scrotum can appear swollen. Dogs with brucellosis commonly develop a skin rash on the scrotum, so your dog’s balls will be both red and swollen. If the dog doesn’t get treated, it can cause infertility. Long term, the testicles will atrophy and they will shrink.

Your vet will prescribe powerful antibiotics to treat your dog, but once your dog gets brucellosis he will never be completely cured. He will continue to shed bacteria intermittently, even though there won’t be any visible symptoms, such as red swollen testicles. 

Since this disease affects the fertility of dogs and it’s extremely contagious, it needs to be reported to federal authorities.

The good news is that even if your dog has brucellosis, you won’t get infected, so there’s nothing to worry about. 

Testicular torsion

You probably noticed your dog’s balls are quite loose in their pouch. The only thing that holds them in place is a bundle of connective tissue that supplies blood to the scrotum. It can sometimes happen that one or both testicles become twisted on the connective tissue, a condition known as testicular torsion. This can be associated with an inflammation blocking the blood flow inside the connective tissue. 

Testicular torsion can be caused by an external cause, such as a blow to the area. Your dog’s obsession with his balls might also cause one or both testicles to rotate and become entangled in the connective tissue.

Your dog’s scrotum will appear swollen and red. Other symptoms of testicular torsion include tenderness in the scrotal area, unwillingness to walk or lethargy.

Testicular torsion is a condition that requires swift medical care. Left untreated, the condition might cause the testicles to die and your dog might go into septic shock.

Most cases are resolved with antibiotics and applying packs of ice to the scrotum. In some cases, the vet might suggest the removal of one or both testicles if they are past saving. 

Why are my dog’s balls pink?

It’s just a question of shade. It doesn’t matter if your dog’s testicles are red or pink, the causes are the same. Maybe your dog has a lighter skin and when inflammation is present their scrotum appears pink rather than red. 

Speaking of shades, if your dog’s balls look purple verging on black, it’s also a sign of an infection or injury. If they’re also swollen, you should see a vet.

On the other hand, pink spots are quite common on a puppy’s scrotum. There is no medical significance to it. The pink spots are caused by varying pigmentation levels and they will disappear once the puppy grows up.

Why are my dog’s balls red and dry?

Dryness of the skin is commonly associated with cold weather, but it might also be a sign of skin irritation.

If the sensitive skin on your dog’s scrotum becomes dry, you can try applying some aloe vera, coconut oil or vaseline. None of these substances are toxic to dogs so it won’t be a problem if the dog licks himself. If the scrotal skin is well moisturized, the peeling or flaking will disappear in a couple of days, 

Your dog’s skin irritation might also be caused by an allergic reaction. For instance, if the dog takes a nap in the garden and your lawn was recently treated with pesticides, the contact with those substances might cause an allergic reaction. Skin rashes are the most common symptom of an allergy. If there are no other worrying symptoms, you can relieve the itchiness by giving your dog a bath with a hypoallergenic shampoo. 

Why are my dog’s balls red and raw after neutering?

The simple answer is that he’s got a skin irritation caused by the rough manipulation of a very delicate area, not to mention a reaction to the substances used during the surgery. Neutering only requires a small incision but it’s usually enough to cause the dog’s balls to become red and raw. 

However, you should monitor your dog closely over the next few days, as he might develop an infection at the site of the incision. Your vet probably fitted your pet with a cone to keep him from licking himself, but you cannot prevent the dog from lying down on the floor or outside in the dirt and some pathogen might enter the skin. 

Are some dog breeds more prone to skin problems?

Besides their respiratory issues, bulldogs are also prone to skin problems. This applies to any type of bulldog, French, English or American. Wrinkly dogs are more susceptible to skin problems because their numerous skin folds are an excellent breeding ground for nasty bacteria, viruses and fungi. 

When the dog licks himself he can carry whatever bacteria is multiplying happily in the skin folds on his face to the scrotal area. As the skin on the scrotum is very sensitive, the bacteria will have no trouble penetrating inside and causing inflammation.

Closing thoughts

If your dog’s balls are red, it might be that he has a skin irritation. This might be caused by excessive licking, an allergic reaction, an injury or an infection. If the scrotum doesn’t appear to be swollen, there’s no cause for immediate alarm. Make him stop licking his privates, apply some ointment and see if the situation improves. On the other hand, if the dog’s balls are red and swollen, give your vet a call right away. Your dog will probably need antibiotics to treat whatever it is that’s bothering him.