Due to their loose skin and wrinkles, many bulldog breeds have tail pockets, including French Bulldogs. However, not a lot of pet owners actually know they exist until a tail pocket infection has already set in.
In this guide I am going to explain all I can about French Bulldogs and tail pockets. It will include how to tell whether your French Bulldog has a tail pocket, how you keep it clean to stop infection, what infection symptoms are, and when a surgical route might be needed.
What is a tail pocket on a French Bulldog?
A tail pocket is simply the small indentation or fold of skin underneath your French Bulldog’s tail, caused by wrinkles of excess skin. Wrinkly breeds such as bulldogs are more likely to get them.
Because of their awkward location, tail pockets can often go unnoticed by pet owners until infection has already set in, so how can you find out whether your dog has got a tail pocket or not?
How to tell if your Frenchie has a tail pocket
Tail pockets are located underneath the base of the tail, where there is a wrinkle of skin that acts, as its name implies like a pocket. These can be easily found in adult Frenchies, but in puppies can be harder to find.
You should place your fingers under the base of your Frenchie’s tail. If you find a space there, that’s probably a tail pocket.
Tail pockets are often not visible when the dog is first born. Your Frenchie might not develop a tail pocket at around 6 months or over, once they begin to properly grow into their wrinkles.
Even then, your French Bulldog may not have a proper or pronounced tail pocket until they have become a fully-grown adult dog.
If you have previously checked for a tail pocket before your dog became fully grown, it is important that you check again once they have.
Do all French Bulldogs have a tail pocket?
Not all French Bulldogs have tail pockets. They are not a universal trait, but in Frenchies it’s more common to have one than to not have one.
Whether or not a dog has a tail pocket can vary on a dog to dog basis, with some having very pronounced ones while others do not have one at all. As mentioned above, if you want to know whether your Frenchie has a tail pocket then you will only be able to properly find out once yours in fully grown.
If you are looking for a French Bulldog without a tail pocket, your best bet is to buy a fully-grown dog which you will be able to conclusively say doesn’t have a tail pocket. Puppies cannot be conclusively ruled out as not having a tail pocket, especially under the age of six months old.
If your dog does have a tail pocket, however, you shouldn’t worry. Keeping them clean and clear of infection is actually easier than you may think.
French Bulldog tail pocket cleaning guide
Because of a Frenchie’s stout stature, they are not going to be able to reach their hindquarters, let alone properly clean underneath their own tail. Frenchies are renowned for not being able to clean themselves properly.
This can mean that dirt, dead skin and other grime that may collect in the tail pocket will go uncleaned, which can build up and result in a nasty infection and possibly even bleeding.
This means that it is often down to the owner to make sure that the tail pocket is cleaned out regularly to prevent discomfort and pain for your Frenchie.
How to clean a French Bulldog tail pocket
And here’s how you can clean it for them.
- Using water and mild soap, lift the tail up and clean out around the base of the tail and into the tail pocket using a damp cloth, or dog-friendly cleaning wipes.
- Once the tail pocket has been properly cleaned out, rinse it out and then blot it dry, with any remaining excess moisture getting trapped there potentially causing its own infections.
Dog-friendly cleaning wipes are very easy to find, with Amazon offering several well-rated products – here are a couple of options we’ve used in the past.
These wipes not only keep your French Bulldog’s wrinkles clean and clear of grime, but they also provide quick relief for hot spots, fungal and bacterial conditions and any other skin irritation that may be bothering your pet. In other words, they work great for tail pocket cleaning.
Suitable for both cats and dogs, they are made in the USA and helps stop your pets from scratching irritated areas.
Available in Green Tea Leaf and Unscented packs, these wet wipes are completely free of parabens, alcohol and harsh chemicals, made of 100% sustainably harvested bamboo fibre. The conditioning ingredients include Aloe Vera, Vitamin E and Hawaiian Awpuhi.
Quilted for your dog’s comfort, these large wipes make it easy to keep your dog’s wrinkles and other areas clean and soothed, deodorising, as well as giving their fur a healthy shine.
How often should you clean a French Bulldog tail pocket?
Checking and cleaning a French Bulldog’s tail pocket should become a regular habit, usually only needing to be done about once a week.
If your Frenchie has a deeper and more pronounced tail pocket they may need to be cleaned more regularly.
French Bulldog tail pocket problems
Tail pockets can easily become infected. Some French Bulldog owners will even notice bleeding from the area. If you notice your French Bulldog’s tail pocket bleeding, then it’s likely an advanced infection.
While your Frenchie having a tail pocket is not in itself a problem, leaving it unchecked for a long period of time can lead to different infections, chafing and sores that can cause your dog discomfort and pain.
Because of the fold of skin easily collecting moisture as well as general dirt and grime, yeast infections can easily occur.
French Bulldog tail pocket infection symptoms
And here’s what to look out for if you suspect an infection.
- Discomfort: Your Frenchie will soon let you know that is feeling uncomfortable or is even in pain because of an infection, trying to scratch, lick or bite the infected area and being sensitive to people touching their hind legs and tail. You know your dog better than anyone, so if they are acting out of the ordinary there may very well be an underlying reason.
- Redness: Like all infections, the infected area of the skin will often go red, either from the infection itself or from the attempts to scratch or rub at it. This may be harder to see at first in dogs with thicker fur.
- Smell: Especially prominent in yeast infections, built up moisture infections often create a bad smell. This can also be caused by your Frenchie’s anal glands becoming blocked (here’s what an anal gland problem looks like). This smell can be rather foul and is a very easy to spot clue that something isn’t right with your dog.
- Sensitivity: The infected tail pocket area is very sore and painful for your Frenchie, so they will naturally become much more sensitive to people touching that particular area. If your dog is usually fine with you touching their tail or hindquarters but is suddenly disliking it, this could be because they have discomfort in that area.
- Pus: Infections can often cause coloured pus and discharge around the tail, coloured anything from yellow and white to even green.
If you have noticed any of these tail pocket infection symptoms, it is recommended that you take your dog to see the vet, who will be able to identify any problem, prescribe any medications and recommend a cleaning regime to prevent further complications.
French Bulldog tail pocket surgery
French Bulldog tails can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with the more well-known tight bun tails being very prone to infections. This is because the tightness of the tail doesn’t allow for the folds to get any air circulation, meaning that any moisture collected in between them can lead to yeast infections.
This can also mean regular French Bulldog tail pocket infections, with the tail sitting tightly against the skin folds and causing the same problem.
While most Frenchies can have infections prevented by regular cleaning, sometimes the tail is too tight to clean, or the tightness itself can cause the dog pain. When this happens, vets will sometimes recommend have their tail removed altogether.
While tail docking for aesthetic or fashionable reasons is still quite controversial, being a banned practice in the UK, docking for medical reasons is sometimes necessary; while it can be distressing for the dog to begin with, the removal of the tail can help prevent recurring infections and pain that can cause your dog to suffer in the long term.
To remove the tail, tail pocket surgery is required. After some tests to see whether or not they are healthy enough to undergo the surgery, your Frenchie will be put under anaesthetic before the surgery begins.
The surgeon will then remove their tail, separating it from the rest of the spinal column before they are sewn back up and woken up for recovery to begin.
This procedure usually requires an overnight stay at the vets, but this is typical procedure for all minor and major operations.
Once the surgery is completed and your Frenchie is up and about, your vet will be able to talk you through the after-operation care, as well as prescribing any medication, antibiotics or anti-inflammatories.
If your vet has recommended for your dog’s tail to be amputated, do not hesitate to get a second opinion if you are worried. Your vet will also be able to inform you about the ins and outs of the surgery, how long it will take, the recovery time and how much it will cost.
French Bulldog tail pockets are a lot like belly buttons. being that they can collect up a lot of grime without you noticing. This can include dead skin, dust, dirt from walks and even water from washes and swimming when out and about.
Because of its awkward placement, some dog owners don’t even know that their Frenchie has a tail pocket but left uncleaned or with water or excess moisture, over time they can be prone to infections which can cause discomfort and even pain for your dog.