Anal Glands

Dogs and cats have two small glands on either side of the anus. These glands fill up with a fluid that has a scent exclusive to each animal. This is the reason dogs smell other dogs` bottoms when they meet and greet. When your pet secretes this fluid during defecation, he spreads his unique signature through his poop. When the anal glands don’t express naturally during defecation they become painful and produce a foul odor. Thankfully the impacted sacs are easy to treat by expressing with your fingers. Left untreated, the impaction will turn into an infection. This painful condition can cause your dog to act fearful or angry. An untreated infection will develop into an abscess and could break open. Your vet will open and drain the abscess and prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. If your pet keeps having problems, in some extreme cases; vets will surgically remove the glands, but it can result in complications like fecal incontinence (when his poop leaks uncontrollably).

If you see your dog scooting his butt on the ground, licking or biting at it, or sitting seems to be uncomfortable, he may have an anal gland problem. Your vet may suggest adding more fiber to your pet’s diet. This increases the size of his poop, which puts more pressure on the sacs to empty naturally. Put your dog on a healthy diet and make sure he gets plenty of exercise. Small, obese dogs are at the highest risk of anal sac disease. If your pet is not showing any signs of discomfort, there is no need to express the glands. If you have any concerns or questions regarding the anal glands contact your local veterinarian.