Blocked Anal Glands in Dogs

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if you leave blocked anal glands they could rupture

So you think your pooch might have blocked anal glands and want to know how to spot the signs? Well, we are here to help! We’re going to talk you through what causes blocked anal glands in dogs and how to tell when they are blocked so you can give your dog the best care possible.

You can find your dog's anal glands on either side of their anus. They are grape sized pockets, believed to used for marking territories and for dogs to be able to identify each other (and perhaps is why you may see dogs sniffing each other's bums). Normally your pooch would express their glands naturally when they poop. However, sometimes this doesn’t happen and the glands can become blocked. 

Dr Lera of Heron Lakes Animal Hospital uses his puppy Ginger to talk thoroughly about the symptoms your pooch may be displaying when they have blocked anal glands as well as what may cause them. 

Causes of blocked anal glands

Blocked glands are seen most often in small dogs. This is due to the tube leading to their anal glands being smaller and therefore they become clogged more easily.

Blocked anal glands in dogs could be cause by poor food quality

Low Fibre Diet

Your dog could have blocked anal glands because they do not have enough fibre in their diet, according to the PDSA. Fibre helps to ensure that your dog has bulky stools, making it more likely for the stool to naturally press against the glands and ensure natural expression.

Overweight Pooch

Your pup may also be more likely to suffer with blocked anal glands if they are overweight. The reason for this is their muscles are generally weaker around their back end so they are unable to push and empty these glands.


The American Kennel Club also suggests that environmental factors such as allergies could lead to your dog having trouble with their anal glands. This could be more likely to occur if your dog suffers with symptoms from these allergies such as contact dermatitis. Allergies are more commonly found in pedigree dogs, making it more likely for their glands to become blocked. Wag! also suggest that blocked anal glands can actually become blocked more frequently from the trauma of being manually expressed. 


@petlabco 3 signs that could mean their anal glands are full & if left untreated they can lead to more serious health problems like infection or rupture of the glands‼️ #doghealth #dogmom #dogownerproblems #dogadvice #dogtips #dogparents ♬ muerto gang - qubelly🗽


 Pet Lab Co. show you the top three signs to tell if your pooch's anal glands are clogged up!

Symptoms of blocked anal glands


There are a number of ways to spot if your dog is struggling with their anal glands. The most common of which is scooting. This is when your pooch drags their bottom along the ground. When dog's anal glands are blocked they become swollen and inflamed. Which causes pain and discomfort. In order to relieve some of this pain, your dog may drag their bum.

signs of dogs' blocked anal glands include blood or puss in stool

Smelly Pup

You may also notice a fishy and foul smell which will indicate a blockage of your pup's anal glands. Because dogs use their anal glands to mark their territory when they poop, you’re likely to notice this very strong smell.

Excessive Biting and Licking

Dogs that have blocked anal glands will often bite, lick and chew the base of their tail in order to relieve the pain and irritation they’re experiencing. You may also spot your dog chasing their tail more than usual.

Constipation or Diarrhoea 

Pure Pet Food notes that if your pooch is struggling with clogged anal glands, they may strain and look like they are in pain while trying to poop. However, your pup may also have the opposite and experience diarrhoea symptoms with blocked glands. Due to the pain and irritation your dog experiences during this situation you may notice increased aggression in their behaviour. 

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