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Anal Glands What Are They & When To Express

You’re probably thinking, “Do what with my dog’s what?! And we know, it does sound pretty yucky. However, even if it is off-putting, it is very important to know if you’re a dog owner. Problems with anal glands can occur in all dogs and actually happen pretty frequently.

 What is an anal gland?

As you may imagine they are located close to your dog’s anus. They can also be referred to as anal sacs or scent glands when found in dogs. These little glands help many mammals make their territory and let them recognize the scent of other animals. And usually they express themselves naturally through excretion, but sometimes they need a little help.

How and why do anal glands cause problems?

Problems can arise in all dogs, but it most often happens in small dogs or large dogs with loose stools. And when your dog’s anal gland aren’t expressing themselves fully, your dog will end up with irritated or inflamed glands.

How can I tell if my dog is having anal gland issues?

The only good thing about anal gland issues is that they are easy to spot. It won’t be hard to spot your poor pooch’s discomfort.

  • Scooting their rear ends to relieve the itch caused by irritation
  • Licking their bums more than usual
  • Discomfort during potty time
  • Swelling around the anus in advanced cases

What do I do if I notice anal gland problems in my dog?

As scary as it may sound to have a “gland” issue in that area of the body, there is no cause for panic. If this is the first time you and your dog have experienced this, take them to the vet for a check up. This will ensure that it is only an anal gland issue and nothing more serious. If they determine your dog does need to have their glands expressed, have them show you how to do it so you can do it from home. If you’re comfortable doing this, it will save a lot of time and money.

Once you learn to do it at home, make sure not to do it unnecessarily. This can also cause irritation. Also, do not ignore anal gland issues. They will not go away on their own and if they are left untreated they can become infected or impacted.

Lastly, if your dog seems to have a lot of recurring or frequent anal gland issues, talk to your vet about their diet. They may need to get on a more fiber-rich diet. In more serious cases, they may have to perform a surgery to have the glands removed.

So, it may seem pretty scary at first, but in reality it’s not terrible and not even entirely uncommon for your dog to suffer these issues. Just make sure to talk to your vet about it and your dog will be just fine.

Have you had your dog have a problem with his/her anal glands? We’d love to hear about it and what you thought about the experience. Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!