We all love sharing endless photographs and stories about your furry best friends, but what we don’t talk about is the less-than-pleasant side of pet ownership: potty time!
You may have wondered why after potty time, unlike humans, your dog doesn’t seem to be bothered.
We humans usually need to clean our behinds after we go to the bathroom. Should dogs?
You do not need to wipe your dog’s behind. Dogs have evolved to not need to wipe because of the way their gluteus muscles stand. However, there are instances in which you should wipe, such as if the fecal matter is stuck to their fur.
I’ll share all the facts about bathroom hygienics and how these apply to your dog in this article.
After we use the restroom, wiping has been something taught since teeny toddlerhood! But, of course, our dogs don’t tend to do this. That’s because their anatomy is vastly different from our own, removing the primary reasons humans have to wipe.
To get into the nitty-gritty, humans have very prominent gluteus muscles - the muscle that forms our behinds.
We have this adaptation because humans are bipedal. Having such a big “butt” muscle helps keep our legs moving correctly. But the downside to this evolution is that, well… we can get pretty messy in the bathroom, and wiping becomes a necessity. That’s because our gluteus muscles come together and don’t have an opening naturally.
On the other hand, dogs don’t have big gluteus muscles, and as such, they have clear passageways that don’t get dirty. As such, fecal material doesn’t tend to get smeared on their behinds.
As well as this, human and dog digestive tracts are very different from one another. This results in our waste being different, with a healthy dog’s waste not being nearly as messy.
Additionally, the basic components that make up our waste are far more acidic and toxic than that of a dog, so keeping clean becomes extremely important to prevent rashes and other bad unpleasantries.
This isn’t always the case for a dog, depending on what their diet consists of.
Now, just because the above section rings true doesn’t mean that there aren’t reasons that you sometimes should wipe your dog’s booty.
On occasion, upon running back into the house, our furry best friend might have some unpleasantries stuck to their fur or on their paws… or maybe they didn’t notice that their bowel movement hasn’t, well, fully stopped.
All of the above reasons are in big need of a good ol’ wipe and clean.
Firstly, if any fecal material gets stuck in your dog’s coat, especially around the backside, you could be asking for irritation and discomfort to brew when kept uncleaned. This can also drag a bad scent through your house, and no one wants that!
Secondly, leaving fecal material on the butt can encourage your dog to drag their butt across your floor, leaving skid marks in the dog’s wake. These skid marks can quickly and easily compound into an even bigger mess, mixed with fecal matter and dog fur.
Third, dog poop can be dangerous to humans and a perfect environment for bacteria and parasites. Come check out our article on the importance of cleaning up after your dog to learn more.
When there is cause to wipe that backside, the question of what to use comes up. Toilet paper? Tissues? Baby wipes? Disinfecting wipes?
As a matter of fact, none of the above. The best thing to use is designated dog wipes.
The reason for this is that many human-grade wipes contain a chemical called propylene glycol, which can be toxic to a dog if they like it.
Since many dogs tend to impulsively lick after being wiped or feeling something strange, this becomes a recipe for a bad time. Other types of wipes, such as disinfecting wipes, use substances that can sting or cause ouchies for your pup.
Earth Rated Dog Wipes are a good option, as these wipes are specially formulated for pups and have no risk of being harmful or causing pain. Some wipes even have aloe vera added or a safe moisturizer to prevent overdrying.
Another option would be a warm washcloth. When wetting the washcloth, use slightly warmer water than room temperature, but definitely not hot. The warmth can make the experience somewhat less unpleasant for your dog, but heat will hurt!
Just water and a washcloth; leave the soap out of it. If the mess is extravagant, you can use a little bit of dog shampoo - but definitely nothing else.
If it’s an emergency and you don’t have access to anything else, toilet paper or unscented non-soaked-in-alcohol tissue material would work.
Now, grabbing your dog and wiping their butt in one swoop may be a bit shocking to your pup (so I don’t suggest this!).
Instead, make the experience a pleasant one by having your dog be calm, collected, and unbothered. Talk gently to your furry pooch with gentle pets and touches. Sometimes treats can help, but make sure your pup doesn’t sit for the cookie!
Once you get around to gaining access to the backside, start by a quick scrub of the dirtiest parts of the area. Nothing vigorous or painful, but scrubbing with intention.
After the primary dirty bits are off, then do gentle wipes to remove any potential residue or material that could have been left behind. Remember to lift the tail as well, even if you have a bob-tailed dog!
However, if the mess is a bit too large to get by just wiping (such as a diarrhea accident), a bath may be in order.