What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Anal Gland Issues?

anal glands in dogs

You may have seen your dog crawl over the ground on its buttocks (or your favorite rug). Perhaps it began incessantly licking its rear, or you detected an unusual, room-clearing odor floating around your dog. However, it's possible that your best friend is constipated or in agony when it attempts to defecate or even sit down.

Although any of these signs and symptoms might suggest a variety of illnesses, they could also signal a and its urge to relieve pain or discomfort caused by impaction or infection.

Why Do Dogs Have Anal Gland Problems?

The anal glands, also known as anal sacs, are two tiny pouches of tissue on either side of a dog's anus that are positioned just beneath the surface of the skin. The anal glands secrete oily, odorous secretions containing compounds that dogs utilize to mark territory and identify one another.

When stool pushes up against the anal glands during feces, domesticated dogs empty them. It can also empty when external pressure (from scooting) pushes on the anal glands, or even spontaneously if the dog is scared or distressed. When fully developed, these glands can range in size from a pea to a small grape, depending on the size of the dog and the glands' fullness.

When the anal sacs are full or impacted, the dog may exhibit a variety of behaviors in an attempt to alleviate its pain cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval cheval Although bottom dragging, anal chewing, tail chasing, and other habits might suggest the presence of or skin issues, these behaviors are highly prevalent in a dog with anal sac problems.

During feces, the fluid in anal glands is discharged and may help with lubrication. The issue comes when the content is not released in the proper manner. This might be related to soft stools, increased fluid output, thick fluid, or the anatomy of the dog in question. As a result, it's often required for a human to physically express or empty a dog's anal glands.


Manually is best taught in person by a veterinarian or veterinary nurse who is acquainted with the procedure. As long as there is no infection, any dog owner may learn to perform this at home, but most owners prefer to leave it to a professional because it is uncomfortable.

The anal sacs can be expressed in two ways: outwardly and inwardly. Remember to have your vet or a vet tech demonstrate how to express your dog's anal sacs before you try. Your dog may be distressed by an inappropriate expression.

  • The external expression is done by using a tissue or cloth to gently squeeze the anal area from the outside and massage out the fluid. It's usually not possible to completely empty the anal sacs this way.
  • An internal expression is done by inserting a gloved index finger into the anus and gently squeezing each anal sac (one at a time) between the index finger and thumb. The internal method is more effective, especially if the material in the anal sacs is thick. Since this is invasive, you'll need help to keep your dog distracted and calm during the process. If the anal area appears red, inflamed, thickened, has an open sore, is painful, or uncomfortable. Have your vet handle the expression as there may be an infection or abscess present and manipulation of the area may cause your dog extreme pain and will need proper treatment.

How to Prevent Anal Gland Problems

In general, a dog's anal glands don't need to be manually expressed unless there's a problem. Many dogs are able to release the fluid regularly during bowel movements.

Anal glands can become affected or infected in some circumstances (abscessed). This is mainly caused by an inability to empty the anal sacs during regular feces over time. If the anal region of your dog becomes reddish or you detect pus around its anus, it might be a sign of an issue with its anal sacs. Other probable anal gland issues include benign or malignant tumors, which are less prevalent. If your dog's anal glands are causing problems, see your veterinarian immediately away.

If your dog is constantly scooting or participating in other activity that appears to revolve around its butt, it might be due to anal gland problems. A food allergy or intolerance is a typical cause of this. If your dog's stool motions are regularly unformed, mushy, or watery, the anal sacs may not obtain the pressure they require to empty. Consult your veterinarian about elimination diets or developing a balanced and suitable diet to treat any food sensitivities and enhance stool consistency. Finally, some dogs may not have any underlying medical problems and only require routine anal gland expression to avoid impaction or infection.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.