Anal Glands in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know

Why do dogs have anal glands?

dogs have anal glands to communicate with each other

The canine anal glands are a pair of small sacks which are located internally on either side of the dog’s anus. Dogs will primarily use their anal glands for the purpose of scenting and marking territory. They are able to do this as the anal glands contain a strong smelling liquid. I'm sure you've noticed how dogs smell each other's bottoms. That's because their glands are also used for communication! Anal glands should empty naturally every time a dog passes faeces.

Symptoms of Blocked Anal Glands in Dogs

dogs with blocked anal glands may experience pain when poopingThe anal glands can become blocked for a number of reasons. Blocked anal glands are a relatively common condition but can be very uncomfortable for your dog - not to mention embarrassing for their owners.

Symptoms of blocked anal glands:

  • Scooting the rear end across the ground.
  • Excessive licking or chewing of the hind end.
  • A foul odour that originates from the anal area.
  • Yellow/brown liquid leaking from the hind end.
  • Pain or straining when passing faeces.

Treatment for Blocked Anal Glands

Treatment for blocked anal glands usually requires a trip to the vet. A vet or veterinary nurse will be able to express your dogs blocked anal glands, draining the excess fluid which has caused a blockage. After having their anal glands expressed, dogs should feel instant relief. It is important that you do not try to empty your dogs anal glands yourself without prior instruction from a vet. Doing so may result in injury or further damage to the anal glands. If left untreated blocked anal glands can become infected, this can be extremely painful and will likely require treatment using antibiotics. 

There are a number of preventative measures that can be taken to prevent blocked anal glands, these include:

  • Increasing dietary fibre is the best measure for preventing blocked anal glands. Fibre encourages correct stool formation which should promote better anal gland drainage. Well formed stools apply pressure on the anal glands assisting with drainage.
  • Ensure you are feeding an appropriate diet. Feeding an inappropriate diet is likely to cause digestive upset, which can result in loose stools or diarrhoea.
  • Ensure your dog is an ideal weight. Overweight or obese dogs are more prone to developing blocked anal glands because excess weight is likely to inhibit the function of the muscles involved with emptying them. If you are struggling with weight management it is recommended you speak to a vet or nutritionist who will be able to offer advice.
  • If blocked anal glands are a recurring problem, it is recommended that you consult a vet, who may be able to diagnose an underlying condition which could be causing this. Some dogs may also require routine anal gland emptying. In extreme or frequently reoccurring cases surgery may be required to flush out the anal glands.

Anal Gland Supplements for Dogs 

Many commercially available dog foods have a very low fibre content, therefore some dogs may require a dietary supplement to help increase their fibre intake. Blissful Booty is a specially formulated anal gland supplement for dogs. Blissful Booty is high in fibre, packed full of essential vitamins and minerals and is made entirely from natural ingredients - flaxseed meal, psyllium husks, carrot powder and pumpkin powder. 

When introducing a highly fibrous supplement to your dog’s diet, you may notice an increase in gut sounds. This is a completely normal response as the digestive tract is becoming accustomed to the increase in dietary fibre. Not only will you notice an improvement in your dog’s anal glands, you should also notice a difference in stool formation - making your job as poo-picker a bit more pleasant. With Blissful Booty you are sure to banish leaky anal glands, ruined furniture and of course the dreaded bum scooting for a much happier and more comfortable dog.

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