Cleaning Your English Bulldog’s Tail Pocket

Many English bulldogs – and some dogs of certain other breeds too, like the French bulldog – may have what is known as a tail pocket on their back end, and if your dog is among them it is important to know how to keep your bulldog’s tail pocket clean and healthy.

However, this is one aspect of English bulldog care that is all too commonly overlooked, and not all bulldog owners even realise that their dog has a tail pocket at all, much less that it needs some special care and attention.

Cleaning your English bulldog’s tail pocket isn’t the most pleasant task in the world, but it is something that you must be prepared for if you own or are thinking of buying a dog of this breed that might have a tail pocket. In this article we will explain in more detail what a tail pocket it, how to tell if your dog has one, and how to check and clean it properly and effectively. Read on to learn more.

What is a tail pocket?

English bulldog tails come in various different shapes, and some of them are corkscrew-shaped and tightly curled, lying close to the dog’s rump rather than hanging down or sticking out.

When your dog’s tail lies very close to their body like this without a free space behind it, it sits in what we call a tail pocket – a small pocket or indentation that the tail nestles into.

Do all English bulldogs have a tail pocket?

Tail pockets are a common anatomical feature of English bulldogs, and many – but not all – dogs of the breed will have one. However, when you first view a litter or puppies or bring your new pup home for the first time, it is not always obvious if a tail pocket is present, and this is something that you should monitor and check for as your dog gets older and larger.

By the time your dog is a few months old, you should have a good idea of whether they have a tail pocket or not.

How to tell if your dog has a tail pocket

If you’re still not sure how to tell if your English bulldog has a tail pocket, take a closer look at their read end. Does their tail curl tightly against the skin behind it – so that you cannot see a gap or the fur of the rump underneath it? If so, lift the tail gently and look at the area underneath, and you may see a shallow indentation that makes up the pocket itself.

If you can see one, your dog has a tail pocket and you need to clean and take care of it.

Cleaning the tail pocket

If your English bulldog does have a tail pocket, you should work cleaning it into your dog’s regular routine, and get into the habit of checking and cleaning it regularly to avoid problems developing.

All dogs are different, and some English bulldog owners find that cleaning the tail pocket around once a week is sufficient, but for other dogs you may need to clean it more regularly.

Cleaning your English bulldog’s tail pocket shouldn’t be painful or unpleasant for your dog, but it can feel a little odd – so keep an eye on your dog’s reactions to ensure that they’re comfortable and not getting anxious or snappy. If your dog’s tail pocket becomes sore or infected, this may well be painful for them – and they will be less tolerant of you cleaning it.

However, cleaning and checking the tail pocket regularly helps to prevent problems of this type arising.

Here’s how to clean your dog’s tail pocket.

  • Use dog-safe cleaning wipes or a gentle solution of water and a mild soap to clean around your dog’s tail, removing obvious dirt and muck. Thoroughly rinse and blot away any excess moisture.
  • Lift the tail gently and thoroughly clean the tail pocket and the underneath of the tail.
  • Thoroughly dry the tail and tail pocket, paying special attention to the pocket and underside of the tail. This is because the tail pocket can trap moisture, which can lead to fungal and bacterial infections and chafing if it is not thoroughly dried.
  • If your dog’s tail pocket collects damp, you might want to use a gentle powder to help to keep it dry. For tail pockets that are sore, chafing or irritated, a little baby nappy rash cream applied once the pocket is clean and dry can help.

You can also ask your dog groomer to clean your bulldog’s tail pocket as part of their regular bathing and grooming appointments – however, it is important to remember that this is a job that needs doing regularly, generally once a week (if not more) and so you also need to check and clean the tail pocket in between grooming appointments.

If your dog’s tail pocket is very sore, inflamed, swollen or looks infected or damaged, book a consult with your vet, who will be able to help you to clear the problem up and provide advice on avoiding future recurrences.


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