I found out the hard way about dog anal glands. My dog Ikaika gets startled very easily. My mom was visiting and he wasn’t expecting her to be there. He about hit the roof when he turned the corner and saw her. Right after the episode, there was a really foul smell and my mom and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Then I saw little droplets of brown liquid on the floor. I realized that was the culprit to the smell, and there I had it, my introduction to dog anal glands. Yep, owning dogs isn’t always pretty If you didn’t know about dog anal glands before, you will now so you can spare yourself the clueless “what is that smell” game.
Dog anal glands as the name suggests are sacs that are on both sides and just below the anus. The fluid produced by these sacs are essentially a dog’s way of having its unique scent. That’s why when dogs greet each other, instead of shaking paws, they usually raise their tails and sniff each other’s rears. Rear sniffing is the “polite” greeting in doggie world. The tail raising naturally excretes a small amount of fluid from the anal glands. Small secretions come out also when a dog is peeing or pooping. That’s why they pee to mark their territory. Generally these secretions are very minimal and our non sensitive noses don’t smell a thing. However if they express them like my dog did, it’s another whole story.
Dog anal glands generally aren’t a problem, because they are naturally releasing the fluids on a regular basis. However, if they aren’t secreting enough, they can become impacted, infected, develop abscesses, and on rare occasions they can rupture. Common signs that your dogs are having issues with their anal glands are:
- Scooting across the floor on their rear
- constantly licking their rear
- soft stool (proper nutrition can play a huge role with this as cheaper dog food generally leads to softer stool, therefore not providing enough pressure to naturally express the anal glands themselves).
- you actually start noticing the scent that the anal glands are putting off
If you suspect your dog is having issues with his or her anal glands, take them to the vet to have them manually expressed and looked at. Once you have the “pleasure” of smelling them for yourself, you probably want to leave that to the professionals anyway. You also want to make sure that it is done properly to prevent any further issues.