What Are Anal Glands and Do I Need to Express Them?

Anal Glands

Most dog owners have no clue what anal glands. By the sound of the name, I am sure most don’t want to know. Well, it’s a good idea to find out, as anal gland problems can plague all types of dogs.

Anal glands, also known as anal sacs or scent glands are found in dogs, they are little glands located close to the dog’s anus. Pests such as cats and other mammals have anal glands too. Dogs employ their anal glands in marking territory, as well as recognizing other dogs by smell. At some point in a dog’s life, the glands often need to be expressed for health and hygiene reasons.

Why do anal glands cause problems?

Anal glands are often a problem especially in small dogs, In a normal situation, anal glands are expressed naturally whenever the dog has a bowel movement. The movement of the feces causes the glands to be automatically expressed.

Unfortunately, there are times where things do not go right. Often small dogs find that their anal glands are not being fully expressed. Larger dogs with loose stools or low fiber diets can also face problems with expressing their anal glands.

How do you know if your dog is having anal gland issues?

Anal glands symptoms are not very pretty, and you can be assured that you’ll notice your dog’s issue soon enough.

If you’ve been noticing your dog rub his but all over the carpet, or anywhere else for that matter, in bed on your lap, there’s a good chance that he is suffering from anal gland problems. The itch cause dogs to rub their but on anything they can get to try to relieve it.

Another sign you can’t miss is when your dog just can’t stop licking its anal area. You may also spot a swelling around the anus if the glands have become impacted, it is very uncomfortable for your dog. You need to call the vet immediately you notice spot any swelling.

What to do if you notice anal gland problems

Anal gland problems can look and sound scary. They are no cause for panic. A great many dogs will experience them at some point.

If this is your first time your dog is experiencing such problems, take them to the vet for a checkup to ensure your pet is suffering from no other issues.

Ask for help

During the vet visit if the dog’s anal glands are to be expressed by the vet, request to be shown how to do it on your own at home. I know it doesn’t sound like the most pleasant thing to do with your dog. It involves squeezing the glands at suitable intervals. Understanding the workaround of how to do it yourself can save you time. We have also put a handy guide to help you with it as well.

Be careful

Take care not to express your dog’s anal glands unnecessarily. Excessive expression can lead to discomfort. If your dog appears comfortable, does not seem overly smelly in that area and shows no symptoms of anal gland issues, there is no need to express.

Some dogs, unfortunately, encounter recurring anal gland issues. If that is the case with your pet, you will need to express its glands on your own, or have a groomer do it for you.

Do it yourself

Do not be tempted to ignore an anal gland problem in hopes that it will go away. When left untreated, anal glands can become impacted or infected.

If you are one of those brave souls who choose to express your dog’s anal glands on your home at home. Suppress the urge to keep your eyes closed. If you observe that the fluid appears thick or pasty, or if nothing is coming out, call a vet. Likewise, if your dog yelps or appears to be in pain as you express its anal glands, that could be a sign that the glands have become impacted. Your pet should be treated by a vet immediately.

If your dog seems to suffer from chronic anal gland problems or infections in that area, that could signal that it’s time for a switch to a more fiber-rich diet, or surgery to have the anal glands removed.

To prevent anal gland problems, it’s a good idea to put your dog on a fiber-rich diet from the get-go. It is a lot easier to prevent anal gland problems through diet than to get rid of an existing one. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight and ensuring he gets sufficient exercise are also keys to preventing anal gland problems.

Many first-time dog owners welcome their new pets home without knowing what anal glands are. If your dog exhibits signs of anal gland issues, don’t panic. Learning how to express the glands on your own is not difficult. Once you get over the ick factor it can go a long way towards relieving your dog’s discomfort. Although of course if you notice anything is amiss you should contact a vet immediately.

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