Is your male dog's penis stuck outside of his sheath and won't retract? Find out the potential health risks, common causes, treatment, and prevention tips.

Red Rocket: Why Is My Dog’s Penis Stuck?

One night, my little Chihuahua, Diego, was playing and got a little too excited … so his you-know-what shot out. Usually when this happens, it tucks itself right back into the sheath (AKA the foreskin or prepuce) and he continues playing. But, this particular night, his red rocket was out for upwards of 20 minutes. As time continued to pass, I grew very worried.

Has this ever happened to your dog? Turns out, this is actually a common problem for male dogs. Read on to learn more about this condition, common causes, simple treatment, and prevention tips.

Paraphimosis – A Medical Condition

You see, Paraphimosis (the technical term for a dog’s inability to retract his penis back into his sheath) is a medical condition that can occur in male dogs and cats at any age.

If Paraphimosis occurs over a prolonged period of time, the penis runs the risk of becoming dry, irritated, and swollen. This happens when your dog licks or paws at the area, inducing trauma. Rubbing against carpets or other harsh surfaces can also cause a problem.

Additionally, fluid could accumulate, causing surrounding tissues to swell. The more swollen the penis becomes, the more difficult it is to reposition back to normal.

This whole ordeal could also restrict proper urine flow.


In my case, Diego’s skin had inverted and the short hairs surrounding his penis had actually gotten stuck to his protruding gland. The hairs prevented his “lipstick” from retracting. I actually had to gently pull back his shaft to release the hairs from his gland. Then, his penis was able to easily slip back into place.

Veterinarians say other causes include:

  • Genetics
  • Inverted skin at the preputial orifice
  • Small preputial opening
  • Hair at the preputial orifice
  • Trauma


  • If Paraphimosis is caused by the hair at the tip of the prepuce, you can do what I did and gently pull back his shaft to release the hairs from his gland.
  • In certain cases, veterinarians say you can reach for some coconut oil, apply it to your dog’s penis, and try to gently reposition the gland back inside the sheath.
  • A cold-water compress may be applied to the area to reduce swelling.
  • Another tip is to apply a sugar-water solution to the area. Start by mixing regular white sugar with water to create a paste. Applying this mixture to the erect penis is said to help pull out fluid from the surrounding tissues, helping to reduce swelling.
  • If your dog experiences Paraphimosis for an extended period of time and you cannot get the penis to retract, then get to your vet immediately. More serious cases may actually require surgery. 


One important tip is to make sure the hair at the tip of the prepuce is trimmed and clean. Experts recommend using a pair of buzz clippers for this vs. scissors. You can also ask your groomer for help here.

Additionally, while some people may think it’s funny to see their dog go to town on a squeaky toy or a friend’s leg, don’t encourage humping!