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English Bulldogs: What is a tail pocket and how do you clean it?

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

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Owning an English Bulldog can open you up to a whole world of new issues that you may never have thought existed - one of these, will be a tail pocket.

It is no secret that bulldogs are more prone to health issues than most other dog breeds. Selective breeding in bulldogs to emphasise their features that we all know and love has lead to the breed being more susceptible to illness.

What is a tail pocket?

English Bulldog Tail Pocket

A tail pocket is a small indentation below a dog's tail, they are commonly found in dogs with no tails/short tails such as bulldogs or pugs. It's important that you clean your dogs tail pocket, if it has one, in order to keep it clean and prevent any potential issues. If you don't routinely clean your bulldogs tail pocket, it can lead to it becoming extremely uncomfortable for your dog, and cause infections.

How to find your dogs tail pocket

Not all Bulldogs have a tail pocket, and they generally won't develop a tail pocket until they are at least 6 months old.

The find your English Bulldogs tail pocket, gently run your finger under your dogs tail to see if there is a gap or extra fold. You may notice some dirt on your finger, if you do, this means that your bully's tail pocket is ready for cleaning.

Why should you clean a bulldogs tail pocket?

Keeping your English Bulldogs tail pocket cleaning should be part of your daily grooming routine. Dirt can quickly build up in your dogs tail pocket and if it does, this will lead to redness, dry skin, inflammation, and yeast or bacterial infections.

An unclean tail pocket will be extremely uncomfortable for your bully. As they don't have the dexterity to turn and clean it themselves, they'll likely scoot around on their rear end to try and sooth the itch. If the tail pocket is left unclean, the excessive scooting can lead to your bulldog rubbing the skin off it's read-end. This can cause bleeding, further soreness and infection.

If you don't clean your bulldogs tail pocket, this can lead to a foul smell coming from it's rear-end.

Tips & tricks to stop your English Bulldogs tail pocket becoming infected

Prevention is always better than the cure, especially when it comes to an infected tail pocket.

Ensuring that you clean your English Bulldogs tail pocket daily, removing and dirt and grime, is the best way to ensure that your bulldogs tail pocket doesn't become infected.

You can also look at having your bulldogs tail amputated to remove the tail pocket, however this is a drastic step and should only be considered if your English Bulldogs tail pocket is suffering from regular infections and extreme discomfort.

How do you clean a bulldogs tail pocket

Keeping your bulldogs tail pocket clean is a simple process, but its one you need to stick too and ensure you keep on-top off. To prevent infection, cleaning the tail pocket should be part of your daily grooming routine.

Remove the build up of dirt and debris

The first thing we need to do is remove the dirt and debris from the tail pocket. To do this, you can gently wipe under your bulldogs tail and into the tail pocket indentation with a medicated wet wipe, a baby wipe or damp cloth. If you can, lift up the dogs tail, however if your dogs tail is too tight or a corkscrew this may be painful for them, so you just need to slide under the tail as softly as possible.

If your English bulldog has an inverted tail then you need to ensure you are extra careful not to hurt your dog, as going under the inverted tail could be extremely painful.

Carefully dry the tail pocket

Using a fresh cloth, gently dry your bulldogs tail pocket. Leaving moisture in your bulldogs tail pocket can lead to a build up of bacteria and lead to the tail pocket becoming irritated and painful for your dog.

Apply a soothing balm

After you've cleaned your dogs tail pocket, it's a great idea to apply some soothing balm to help keep your fur baby comfortable after having its tail pocket cleaned.

Products to help clean a tail pocket

Natural Dog Company Organic Skin Soother

The Natural Dog Company Organic Skin Soother is the perfect antibacterial treatment for your bulldog for if they are suffering from a number of different things, such as itchy skin, burns, cuts or bug bites.

It is made with vegan friendly, natural, fragrance free ingredients, meaning it's extremely safe for your bulldog.

Pogi's Grooming Wipes

The Pogi's Grooming Wipes are great for cleaning dirt and gunk from your bulldogs wrinkle or tail pocket. They are thick and durable wet wipes that will hold up perfectly if your bulldog has a deep wrinkle.

The wet wipes are free from harmful chemicals and alcohol making them perfect for your bulldogs sensitive skin.

Balmonds Tea Tree Balm

Balmonds Tea Tree Balm is made from natural ingredients that won’t irritate your dog’s sensitive areas, including their tail pocket. The non-greasy formula is ideal for keeping your dog’s tail pocket skin hydrated and clean, eliminating any itchiness they might be experiencing.

English Bulldog tail pocket surgery

English Bulldog Tail Pocket Removal Surgery

Amputation of your bulldogs tail is a major surgery that does carry some major risks - so ensure that if you are thinking about amputating your bullys tail, that it's 100% necessary and you've consulted your vet.

You should only consider tail pocket surgery if:

  • You can't heal the infection in your dogs tail pocket

  • Your bulldog has an inverted tail that grows back into the rear.

  • The dog has a very deep tail pocket that is seemingly impossible to clean and dry thoroughly.

  • Your bulldog suffers from recurring tail pocket infections

As part of your English Bulldogs tail pocket surgery, your dog will be placed under anesthesia, the vet will then remove up-to where necessary on the tail in order to clear the tail pocket. It will likely also include removing some of your dogs spine in the procedure.

After your bulldogs tail amputation surgery, ensure you clean and dry your Bulldog’s surgery wounds. Your Bulldog may also be sent home with the prescription of medications, such as antibiotics, painkillers, and anti-inflammatory.

Your dog may also feel a bit sluggish a few days after the surgery. He may also feel the urge to bite his tail area so it is a good idea to put an Elizabethan collar around his neck. His surgery wounds should fully heal in 3 to 4 weeks after the operation.

The cost of Bulldog tail amputation varies however a bulldog tail amputation procedure can cost from £1,000 to £4,000.

Frequently asked questions

Why is my bulldog scooting on its bum?

If your bulldog is scooting on its bum, then it is likely that its tail pocket needs cleaning.

Your bulldog is likely trying to sooth the irritated skin in the tail pocket by scratching its rear end along the floor. Bulldogs will often do this as they don't have the dexterity to reach their own tail.

Should my bulldogs tail pocket smell?

If your English Bulldogs tail pocket smells, then it's likely that there is either a build up of yeast or feces. A smelly tail pocket is the perfect sign that it is time to clean your bully's tail pocket.

Why is my bulldog licking the air?

If you find your bulldog often licking the air, then this may be tied to their tail pocket. Bulldogs will lick the air if they are under any form of stress or if they are feeling anxious.

I've often noticed in my own bulldogs, that if they are licking the air, a common cause is that their tail pocket is suffering from some kind of irritation and this is causing the stress and discomfort.

Why is my bulldog licking the air?

Why does my dog have a dimple above its tail?

A dimple above the tail in most dogs will often be a sign that they may be slightly overweight, so if you do notice this, it's a good sign that your dog may be ready to start a little diet and loose a bit of weight.

A dimple above a bulldogs tail can be an indication that your bully does in-fact have a tail pocket.

Do I need to clean my bulldogs bum?

You will need to occasionally clean your bulldogs bum. Due to their short body’s and lack of flexibility, bulldogs do struggle to clean themselves and will need a little helping hand every now any again.

If you don’t wipe your bulldogs bum, it may cause infection and a rather nasty smell from its rear end.


Ensuring that you keep your English Bulldog's tail pocket clean is extremely important to keep them fit, healthy and comfortable. It should become part of your bulldogs daily grooming routine.

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