Taking care of your dog’s health may involve expressing their anal glands at some point in their lives, which we understand is not the most pleasant conversation for pet parents.
Anal gland dysfunction and its treatment are covered in detail below. Don’t stress; it’s typically not very hard. Let’s glove up and understand it!
What Are Dog Anal Glands?
Anal glands are sacs that collect oily gland secretions. Anal sac secretions may assist in lubricating poop as it leaves the body. They possibly contain canine pheromones.
The dog’s anal glands sit close to the anus. You can find them in various sizes. Each gland has a tiny duct inside the anus that permits secretions to escape. These ducts get plugged or impacted. This hinders anal sac drainage, causing swelling, discomfort, and pain.
Do Dogs Need Anal Glands Expressed?
Most dogs express anal glands. If a dog eats high-quality food, maintains a healthy weight, and gets plenty of activity, its anal glands should not need to be expressed.
Consult an experienced vet before making any sweeping statements. Your veterinarian may suggest leaving the anal glands alone if they are not presenting any difficulty or emptying them frequently to prevent a specific disease.
Some dogs require physical gland extraction. If your dog’s feces changes, its anal glands won’t be expressed. The glands’ liquid thickens, making expression more challenging, and can irritate, inflame, infect, and block glands.
A dog with an anal gland infection, impaction, or abscess should have his glands expressed every 3–4 weeks to prevent further infections. Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and dog groomers can express your dog’s anal glands.
Anal Gland Dysfunction: What Brings It On?
Several different factors can bring on anal gland dysfunction. Factors and causes that often go hand in hand are:
- Diarrhea (the anal glands are not being effectively expressed in soft stools, leading to diarrhea),
- No stool indicates no anal gland release,
- Persistent skin infections (bacterial or yeast),
- Allergies (environmental and food-related),
- Occasionally, a tumor or a congenital flaw might obstruct the drainage of the anal glands, leading to impaction.
Anal gland problems can affect dogs of any size, but small-breed dogs are at a higher risk.
Tips For Spotting An Anal Gland Problem
There are two anal sacs in every dog, each containing glands that produce anal gland fluid, similar to sweat. The anal glands of a dog secrete fluid when the animal defecates.
Your dog may have a gland impaction problem if that fluid becomes blocked or doesn’t usually release after defecation. Inflammation of the anal ducts is a common cause of this fluid accumulation, leading to infections and abscesses in the anal glands.
Common symptoms of an anal gland disorder in dogs include:
- The act of scuttling one’s buttocks (dragging the rear across the floor or ground),
- Excessive anal licking or biting,
- A strong odor of fish,
- Restraint in tail-wagging,
- Canine tail sensitivity (raising your dog’s tail will upset him),
- Discoloration or bleeding in the genital area,
When these signs show up, it means the problem is getting worse, so you need to take him to the vet right away.
Step-By-Step Instructions For Expressing Dog’s Anal Glands
Groomers and veterinarians are able to do anal gland expression if you have concerns about your dog’s endocrine system. Here is how to conduct a DIY gland expression on your dog
- Pull your hands up and put on the disposable gloves first so you don’t get gross gunk on your hands when dealing with your dog’s privates.
- Simply by lifting the dog’s tail, you can access these glands. You’ll find them just below and next to your dog’s anus. If you have a helping hand, that person can lift the tail for you, freeing up your hands to do the manipulation.
- Protect yourself with a paper towel. It may sound like a joke, but it’s not. While the flow of fluids from a dog’s anal glands is typically somewhat gradual (much like a zit), it can occasionally shoot out of the animal’s butt like a geyser, and none of that should get near your face.
- To relieve your dog’s anus pain, gently squeeze the gland on one side of its anus. You can express the anal glands of a healthy dog with only a light touch. If you are exerting much pressure, it’s time to call the vet.
- Remove the discharges with a paper towel when they appear. At this stage, resisting the urge to gag or pass out is essential due to the stench. A standard sample of anal gland fluid would be relatively watery and dark brown. An infection is possible if it falls from yellow to green, so consult your vet if the color is in that area.
- You must first switch sacs to perform the same steps as the other anal sacs. Remember that the anal glands’ output and sensitivity to pressure may vary. If you feel you have to squeeze very hard, it’s time to stop and see your vet.
- Clean up your pet and the space around it. Wash your pet’s privates with the washcloth and warm, soapy water. Recycle the used paper towels and gloves, then scrub your hands clean
Prevent Anal Gland Concerns
Regarding regular bowel motions, your dog’s food plays a significant role. Make sure to buy high-fiber dog food and avoid potential allergens in your dog’s diet. Constipation, which can be brought on by a diet lacking in fiber, can prevent the flow of anal glands.
If you have a Chihuahua, Beagle, or Poodle, you may need to pay extra attention to their food. Some dog breeds are more predisposed to anal gland issues than others.
When In Doubt, Seek Assistance
If you’ve never expressed your dog’s anal glands, get professional help. Ask a vet staff member to show you how to do it during your routine checkup. You can always plan a last-minute appointment with a veterinarian to express your dog’s anal glands.