Dog Anal Fissures

A dog anal fissure is when a canine's rectum has a tear in the lower part of it. There are times when the tear is visible or goes deep into the sphincter muscles. Anal fissures are painful for a dog.

Dog Anal Fissures Explained

Usually associated with gastrointestinal or bowel disorders, diarrhea or constipation, anal fissures are linear tears in the area around a dog's anus. Many experts believe the root cause of this disorder is a dog's diet, when it doesn’t contain the proper nutrients and enough fiber.

Anal fissures in dogs are caused by strenuous bowel movements where the stool is too hard or even compacted. When a dog tries to pass it, the hard stool damages the lining of the mucous membrane of the rectum, by stretching it too much. The anal fissures can then become infected with the passing of feces.  

Symptoms of Anal Fissures in Dogs

One of the first things to recognize in a dog that may have an anal fissure is constipation. A dog that’s constipated may cry or walk funny, and he won't want to eat.

A dog with an anal fissure will bleed from the area of the anus, which may cause his stool to look like it has blood in it. Anal fissures can also cause a dog have an itch in the area of the anus. Sometimes visible tears can be seen.

Treating Anal Fissures

The treatment of an anal fissure in a dog is dependent upon the severity of the condition. One of the first methods of treatment for dog anal fissures is to alleviate his constipation, if present, or soften his stool. With the guidance of a veterinarian, a dog could take stool softening medications or laxatives.

Foods high in fiber can also be fed to a dog to help eliminate constipation. Such foods include leafy greens and fruits, but make sure the food will not cause toxicity to a dog before feeding it to him. Some foods that are safe for a dog to eat include apples, pumpkin, beans, lettuce and cabbage. Oat and wheat bran can also be mixed into a dog's food to provide extra fiber. A pet owner needs to make sure her dog is drinking a lot of water and isn’t given too much extra fiber, as this can cause diarrhea.

A dog may need to take antibiotics if an infection develops. Anti-inflammatory medications and ointments or creams may be prescribed to help ease pain and itching. An ointment with bacitracin can help promote healing. Make sure the dog doesn’t bite or lick the area where the creams or ointments were administered.

If a dog has a long tail and has developed an infection, some specialists advise trimming the hair from the tail that’s closest to the dog's anus. 

A dog anal fissure can be very painful, not only because his skin is torn, but because he may have an uncomfortable belly ache. Prevention of gastric and bowel problems with proper nutrition and hydration can help make sure this ailment doesn’t affect your dog.