Our adorable little flat-faced friends are sweet, playful, and sometimes… well, sometimes a little weird. They are certainly little characters and on occasion, they develop habits that we might wish that they didn’t have. So, if you are wondering ‘how come my French Bulldog keeps licking his balls?’ then today is your lucky day.
This behavior is actually not uncommon, although sometimes it can be a big, red warning flag. So, in this article, we’ll talk about the main reasons why your bulldog-buddy may be doing this so that you will know if it’s normal or a sign that a vet visit might be a good idea.
Let’s take a look a look at common reasons bulldogs lick their own crotches!
It’s not likely for cleaning… but it might be.
Dogs do clean themselves from time to time, though certainly not as much as cats do. Naturally, since your dog can’t simply jump in the bath, their self-grooming is going to involve using their tongue and that tongue is going to go to places you’d wish you hadn’t witnessed it going.
That said, while this is common in most dogs, French Bulldogs are brachycephalic. This is just a fancy-schmancy way of saying that they are flat-faced and as such, it’s a lot harder for them to reach the crotch areas to clean them properly.
This can mean that it takes them a long time to clean themselves, and so the behavior will seem exaggerated just because it’s taking a lot of time and because it’s in a place that humans consider particularly naughty.
Watch to see if your French bulldog is rubbing themselves on the ground a lot, as this might well indicate that they’re just trying to clean themselves and they are having a hard time reaching so that they can do it right.
Sometimes they just feel itchy
If your dog is rubbing on the ground, it might well be cleaning, but they also might just have an itch. Dog’s get itchy just like humans do, but they don’t quite have the articulation of limb that humans enjoy and so they need to get a little more creative when it comes to ‘scratching that itch’.
If this behavior is sudden and goes on throughout the day, however, then a vet visit might just be a good idea. Check to see if you notice any redness of skin or inflammation that might be tell-tale signs that your dog has gotten into some backyard plants that could cause a rash.
For simple skin irritation, your vet will typically prescribe a very mild hydrocortisone treatment but the amounts need to be just right, so it’s not recommended that you try giving it on your own. Your dog could get sick licking it up, so a quick vet checkup will be the best course of action for your Frenchie and their itchy crotch.
It may be for pleasure.
Yes, you’ve come to the section with the information that you absolutely didn’t want to hear. Dogs can and do occasionally masturbate, even if they have been spayed or neutered. This is more common in dogs that were neutered later in life, rather than earlier, and even though the neutering prevents them from having puppies they’ve already developed the habit and they’ve kept it.
If your French bulldog has not yet been neutered, then this procedure is certainly well worth considering. Neutering comes with a number of health and behavioral benefits and will often quell or at least minimize crotch-licking and your bulldog’s tendency to make walks all about finding a pretty female dog.
Finally, a neutered bulldog is much less aggressive and less prone to marking behaviors that become more frequent as your bulldog matures. While the ideal time to get it done is between 4 and 9 months, neutering may be done at any time… just the sooner the better.
The longer you wait, the more time your dog has to develop bad habits that you’ll have to train them out of!
Your dog might have a UTI
If your dog is spending an inordinate amount of time crotch-cleaning, there is a possibility that they may have developed a urinary tract infection or ‘UTI’ for short. There are a few symptoms that you’ll often notice if this is the case with your bulldog.
Dripping urine is one sign that may present itself and, in some cases, you may even see blood in the urine. If you spot these symptoms, then an immediate vet visit is in order to get this taken care of as it can be extremely painful and dangerous for your dog.
Also, when you take your dog outside, if they keep attempting to urinate but they stop and then try again somewhere else, then this may be another sign of a UTI. Your dog can tell something is wrong and since urination is painful, they’ll strain and they’ll try to urinate multiple times in hopes that it will hurt less. They may even cry out!
So, if your dog is doing any of these things then this is a warning flag that your dog may well have a UTI and require some medical assistance from your trusty vet.
Your Frenchie may have impacted anal glands
Your Frenchie’s flat-face doesn’t have the standard extended reach that most dogs enjoy and as a result of this, your dog might be licking at their crotch when they are actually trying to get to their behinds! Sometimes your dog’s anal glands can get impacted and as this is often the first sign of sac disease then you’ll want to be on the lookout for certain symptoms.
Dogs with impacted anal glands tend to show symptoms like these:
- Excessive scooting on their rears on the carpet or the ground
- Tail-chasing behavior
- Excessive licking and biting as they try to groom themselves
- Swelling and redness around the anus
- Painful or strained defecation
- Often a strong odor will be detected from their behinds
- Diarrhea and red discharge from the anus are not uncommon with impacted anal glands
- Bloody or yellowish-green pus may be present in more advanced cases
If you see any of these symptoms then you will want to schedule a visit with your vet right away. In some cases, the impacted anal glands may simply be cleared but you’re going to need your vet’s assistance for this and to ensure that sac disease is ruled out early so that it is more manageable if it is present.
Some final words
Today we’ve talked about reasons why your French bulldog is excessively licking at or around their testicles and as you can see, in most cases this is fairly common behavior. In most cases, your dog may simply be trying to clean themselves and since bulldogs are brachycephalic, this can be a bit of a trial for them.
Be sure to keep an eye out for reddened skin if your dog seems itchy and watch out also for potential signs of a UTI or impacted anal glands. Finally, if your dog isn’t neutered, it’s something worth considering for their overall health and to help reduce this… well, let’s just say ‘awkward’ behavior.
Until next time, we wish you and your Frenchie the best!