It’s hard to see your Fido suffering.
And a condition like Perianal Fistula can bring so much pain to your fur baby.
But don’t worry, you can actually take their hurt away.
Keep reading to discover:
- 9 home remedies for Perianal Fistula.
- If a dog’s fistula can be treated without surgery.
- How long it would take for dogs to heal from this disease.
- And much, much, more…
Table of contents
- What is Perianal Fistula?
- 9 home remedies for Perianal Fistula in dogs
- People also ask:
What is Perianal Fistula?
Perianal Fistula (PF) is a condition when tunnels are formed around your Fido’s anal area.
This condition is common to German Shepherds or their mixes.
But according to Merck Manual, it can also occur in other breeds.
Dog breeds such as Irish Setters and Labrador Retrievers also have several PF cases.
Furthermore, middle-aged Fidos are more prone to the disease.
As to what causes Perianal Fistula in doggos, VCA says that it’s still unclear.
An infection or impaction of anal glands can be a factor.
However, there is also research that says genetics can be involved.
Especially since it’s mostly German Shepherds who have it.
Now, how do you know if your pup has Perianal Fistula?
ACVS listed down the following signs:
- Painful defecations.
- Mucus or blood in stools.
- Straining to defecate (Tenesmus).
- Excessive licking and biting of the anus.
Your Fido may whimper or whine when they try to defecate.
It’s because perianal fistula can bring them extreme discomfort and pain.
Read next: My Dog Acts Like It Hurts To Sit: 7 Alarming Reasons +Tips
9 home remedies for Perianal Fistula in dogs
#1: Novel protein diet
Food allergies can trigger Perianal Fistula in your Fidos.
To stop this from happening, introduce a novel protein diet.
A novel protein diet is when you give your pooch a dog food with only one primary ingredient.
And that ingredient must be a protein they haven’t consumed before.
This method is the closest to a hypoallergenic diet you can give to your doggos.
So when you say novel protein, it’s usually meat that came from an uncommon protein source.
Some examples are ostrich, venison, quail, duck, kangaroo, and rabbit.
Note: Avoid giving them other food like table scraps or human snacks when you start this diet. It won’t help with the treatment of their condition.
You can also try hypoallergenic dog foods.
According to PetMD, these dog food are made from proteins that have been split into tiny pieces.
But before you buy hypoallergenic dog food, consult your veterinarian first.
If your vet gives you the go signal, here are some highly recommended hypoallergenic dog food:
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula.
- Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Natural Dry Dog Food.
- Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Grain-Free Recipe.
#2: Keep the anal area clean
Keeping the anal area clean can help hasten the healing of your Fido from the Perianal Fistula.
You see, it’s important to keep your pup’s bottom dry and clean.
Otherwise, it can develop an infection that would make matters worse.
To do this, you can clip their perianal region.
Long-haired doggos in particular need to have the fur in this area clipped.
It’s because the fur surrounding the area can be home to bacteria and other microorganisms.
After that, clean the area with antiseptic to take away the dirt.
Then wash away with water.
By doing so, you increase the ventilation in the area and remove some of the dying tissue.
Although this isn’t a pleasant job, this can actually relieve the pain of your doggo.
Hydrotherapy is essentially using water on your pooch’s perianal area.
To do this, you’ll need a showerhead or a hose to spray the water on the affected area.
Make sure that the water is lukewarm and that you’re using moderate pressure.
Too much pressure can be damaging and painful for your pup.
You can start with slightly lower water pressure and build it up along the way.
Just spray water around the area for 15 minutes.
Moreover, you can put a tail bandage on your Fido’s tail to prevent it from getting wet.
After the whole session, dry the area properly.
“So what does this do?“
The hydrotherapy method helps get rid of the necrotic or dead tissues in the affected area.
It also cools the inflamed bottom of your pooch.
However, the method can only be effective if you do it daily and follow the duration of each session.
Note: Get the approval of your vet before you do hydrotherapy.
Immunotherapy is considered one of the primary treatments of choice for PF.
There’s a study that compared treatment methods for dogs with Perianal Fistula.
They found out that using immune-modulating drugs and immunosuppressants is effective for PF.
In fact, it healed the lesions of 90% of the doggos that participated in the research,
Moreover, immunotherapy enhances the immune response of your pooch.
And this can be the reason why it’s mostly successful in treating PF.
Because many scientists believe perianal fistula can be an autoimmune disease.
What’s more, no side effects were recorded when using this method.
So if you want to try immunotherapy to treat your Fido, you can start with getting topical tacrolimus.
It’s the immunosuppressant used by many studies regarding the treatment of PF in pups.
And it’s paired up with another immunosuppressant named cyclosporine.
VCA recommends the Protopic brand of tacrolimus and Atopica for cyclosporine.
Apply this in the area twice a day and monitor the progress.
Be sure that you wash your hands and wear clean gloves before applying the ointment.
#5: Use of laxatives
Symptoms of perianal fistula can include constipation and tenesmus.
And both of these can cause extreme pain and discomfort for your doggo.
That’s why giving them laxatives or other stool softeners is advised.
You can choose from the following products:
- Vet’s Best Gas Busters Dog Supplements.
- Bowel Mover & Cleanser Easy Go by Dr. Schulze’s.
- Colace 2-In-1 Stool Softener & Stimulant Laxative Tablets.
These laxatives can be added to the diet of your Fido.
#6: Topical Antibiotics
Secondary bacterial infection is common for pups with PF.
This is because the affected area is near the anus which is where your dog’s poop exits.
Moreover, the perianal area also frequently touches the ground.
Especially during the times when your pooch sits down.
By putting antibacterial ointment in the area with PF, you can prevent the start of an infection.
The ideal time to apply the ointment is after bathing your pup or after you wash their bottoms.
Be sure that you’re using dog-safe products since there’s a huge possibility that your pup will lick the area after.
Here are some dog-safe antibacterial ointments I found on Amazon:
Some fur parents that tried this method suggest making your doggo wear a dog cone.
It can prevent them from licking the area with PF.
#7: Fiber addition
This home remedy involves exercising the glands in the perianal area of your Fido.
And the most efficient way to do this is to add fiber to the diet of your pooch.
You see, fiber can help in flexing the anal muscles.
Because it helps in proper digestion and gut health.
By giving food that’s rich in fiber to your pup, it will help them with their bowel problems.
Aside from that, it can also relieve them from the effects of perianal fistula.
There are many ways to add fiber to your Fido’s diet.
You can give them fiber-rich supplements.
Or try feeding them these foods with high fiber content:
- Beet Pulp.
- Brown Rice.
- Ground Flaxseed.
- Strawberries and Blueberries.
You might also like: 21 Dog Breeds That Are Prone To Have Sensitive Stomachs
#8: Warm packing
PetMD says that warm packing the affected area can help in treating perianal fistula.
Warm packing is another term used for a warm compress.
There are commercial warm compress or hot packs available in stores.
But before you use one, make sure that you wrap it with a dish towel first.
Because an uncovered warm compress can be too hot and may burn your pup.
If you don’t have a warm compress, then you can also create your own
Just soak a towel in warm water and wring it off.
Then test the temperature of the towel by placing it on your arm first for 30-60 seconds.
Make sure that it’s not too hot before applying it to the perianal area of your pooch.
You can also place a dry towel on top of the damp one.
This is to avoid wetting the spot.
Also, don’t let the compress stay on for more than 20 minutes.
Bear in mind that a warm compress can help the muscles relax.
So it can prevent soreness and spasms in your doggo.
Vets would also recommend warm packing to enhance blood circulation.
That’s why it can stimulate healing in your Fido.
#9: Herbal therapy
Because PF is already painful, your doggy might not want to push out their stools anymore.
As a result, their poop would harden and it would lead to constipation.
And that adds more pain to your fur baby.
To prevent that, you can use some herbs to soothe your pooch’s pain.
Plus, it can also help them eliminate their bowels again.
There are 3 herbal plants that you can give to your dog, namely:
- Milk thistle.
- Licorice roots.
Ginger is commonly used as an anti-nausea and anti-vomiting agent.
But VCA says that it’s also given to treat inflammation like what’s happening when your pup has PF.
Ginger can be sliced and mixed in your Fido’s food.
Or you can also use ginger powder instead of actual ginger.
Aside from that, there’s also milk thistle.
It has detoxifying properties. So it can help flush out the system of your constipated doggo.
This will also get rid of the toxins in their colon that were caused by their hard feces.
According to VCA, this herb is safe for dogs.
What’s more, it can be bought as an extract and then mixed with your Fido’s food.
Lastly, you can also give your doggo some licorice roots.
Like ginger, it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Furthermore, licorice root can also help with digestive problems.
Thus, it’s a great remedy for PF symptoms like constipation or diarrhea.
Since they’re naturally sweet, your pooch will have no problem consuming this herb.
However, you can also give it to them as an ointment or tea.
BONUS: Give them supplements
Dog food can only do so much for your baby.
Bear in mind that there are nutrients that aren’t found in dog foods.
And these nutrients can help in the treatment of perianal fistulas.
But don’t worry, there’s still a way to have those nutrients for your doggo.
What you can do is give your fur baby some supplements.
For example, probiotics help refill the good bacteria that were lost in your pup’s perineum.
Furthermore, some supplements contain digestive enzymes.
These will help your Fido with allergies and digestive problems.
Not only that but fish oil supplements can also help in the treatment of your pooch’s PF.
Because omega 3 can reduce inflammation in the affected area.
It can also make their bowel movements easier and less painful.
People also ask:
Can dogs live with perianal fistula?
Dogs can live with perianal fistula.
In fact, vets say that 20% of doggos with perianal fistula are unresponsive to treatment.
As a result, they need to undergo different treatments.
And though this won’t cure them, it can at least ease their suffering.
Also, a study reveals that there’s a 7-50% chance for this disease to return to your Fido.
How can I treat my fistula at home without surgery?
Perianal fistula can be treated without surgery through medication.
To be precise, medical management is the primary mode of treatment for PF.
The medicine recommended for this condition is cyclosporine.
It’s given as an oral medication to pups.
And it’s usually paired up with the application of tacrolimus onto the affected area.
Surgery on the other hand is only reserved for severe cases.
Or to those instances when medication isn’t possible.
What’s more, fistulas often return to those pooches that had surgery as treatment.
Learn more: Tips to get a dog to drink water after surgery
How long does a perianal fistula take to heal in dogs?
It would take 2 weeks to 20 weeks for dogs to heal from perianal fistula.
In general, the recovery time will depend on the treatment.
Because with surgery, it would only take your Fido 2 weeks for your doggy to fully recover.
On the contrary, it would take a while for the medication to effect.
It’s usually 8-12 weeks.
However, there are also cases that took 20 weeks before the lesions healed completely.
But keep in mind that not all dogs have the same recovery time.