How to Prevent Dog Dingleberries

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Here's a question for you: Which word do you prefer: "dingleberry" or "pseudocoprostasis"?

The interesting thing is these two words, one cute and the other baffling, mean the same thing. And this is where everything takes a massive nosedive in tone because whatever you call it, the word refers to a lump of feces trapped in the fur near a dog's anus. Yewh!

Heck, 'dingleberries' almost sounds attractive, whereas the reality is anything butt (excuse the pun)! A poop-smell trails the dog around, plus they are uncomfortable and may scoot on their bottom. But worse still, feces rubbing against their rear can cause skin infections. Worst of all (in an escalating theme of 'yuck') the dingleberry can form a plug around the rectum, like a cork in a bottle, and prevent the dog from defecating.

Anyone grossed out yet?


Prevention is definitely better than cure.

#1: Coat Care

Long coated or thick-furred dogs are at greatest risk.

  • Removing matts:  Tangled fur is more likely to trap feces as they are passed. Do regular coat checks and remove any knots. Try combing the knots out. If you need to use scissors be very careful because it's easy to snip the skin. Always slide a comb between the skin and the knot, then snip on the knot side.

  • Clipping Coats: For the fluff-ball Pomeranian to the hairy German shepherd, think about the dog equivalent of a bikini wax. Use clippers (get your friendly local groomer or vet tech to do this) to trim the long hair from around their butt.

  • Look Out! Visually check your dog's nether regions on a daily basis.

#2: Promoting Perfect Poop

A nice solid sausage is going to slide out unimpeded. However, diarrhea is more likely to splatter and get caught in the dog's fur. Thus, prompt treatment of stomach upsets is essentials.

  • Give Good Quality Chow: Feed a good quality food that's low in difficult-to-digest ingredients such as soya or corn meal.

  • Change Diets Slowly: Avoid sudden changes of food. This doesn't give the bacteria in the bowel a change to acclimate, which can cause diarrhea.

  • Starve Stomach Upsets: If your dog suffers from garbage gut, then starve him for 24 hours and then offer a bland diet until things firm up.

  • See the Vet: If your dog has persistent soft stools, diarrhea, or seems unwell in any way, then always see the vet.

#3: Dealing with Dingleberries

OK, so sometimes dingleberries happen. Clues to a problem include a bad smell following your dog's tail and scooting (dragging his butt along the ground.)

  • Comb, Clip, or Cut: Put on latex gloves and try to comb out, clip, or cut out the dingleberry. Slide a comb beneath the knot to guard the skin so that you don't nick it. Once the dingleberry is history, then bathe the dog. Avoiding wetting the danglers first as this makes removal much harder.

  • Seek Professional Help: If the problem is beyond your ability to clear, don't be bashful about seeking the help of a dog groomer, vet tech, or vet. They understand that these things happen and will be 'happy' to help. If the dingleberry has caused a sore or skin infection then antibiotics may be required.


The biggest part of the battle against pseudocoprostasis is knowing that such as thing as dingleberries exist. Once aware of the potential problems, it's a stroll in the park to keep their butt trimmed and prevent the problem.

If this is the first time your dog has had a problem, it could be a sign they have a stomach upset. Take notice and track down what they've passed to see if this could be a contributing factor. For a slack tummy where the pet is otherwise well, follow the advice above. But if your pet seems unwell in any way or things don't settle after 24 hours then see a vet.