Anal glands are two sacs about the size of large peas on both sides of your dog's anus, located at roughly 5 and 7 o’clock , just under their tail.. These internal sacs are filled with an oily substance that smells kind of fishy, or kind of musky/skunky, depending on who is doing the sniffing. Presumably to dogs, it smells terrific.
Science hasn't pinned down exactly why dogs have anal glands at all, but they do seem to serve a few purposes. They likely lubricate the pooping process and disperse their scent for marking purposes. It's also possible that the glands diffuse Pheromones to communicate with other dogs (hence the reason they sniff each other's butts).
When Good Glands Go Bad
When everything is going great, you don't have to think about the structure of your dog's anus at all. But if you notice your dog doing any of the following, you might have some anal gland problems to deal with:
Scooting their bum across the floor
Licking their rear-end area a lot
A noticeable (and sometimes horrible) odor
Swelling and redness in the area
If things get very bad back there, your pup may even have an abscess that needs to be drained.
There are a couple of common ways for the anal glands to get stopped up, like food allergies and local infections. Both diarrhea and constipation can cause problems because in both situations, there's not enough pressure from feces passing through the anus to squeeze the fluid out properly.
Treating and Preventing Stinky Glands
Anal glands expressing, that means manually gently squeezing the glands sacks and emptying them . The consistency of the liquid expelled will tell the tale if the glands are normal or need veterinary attention.
If your dog has an infection or inflammation, your vet may prescribe medicine like antibiotics or steroids to help clear things up. If the problem is serious and recurring, your dog may even need to have their anal glands surgically removed.
There are a few simple things you can do to help keep this whole situation from flaring up in the first place:
Make sure your dog is eating a healthy diet and getting lots of exercise.
Increase your dog's fiber intake for bulkier poos that do more, um, squeezing action.
Give your dog plenty of fresh water to drink to keep things moving.
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Nanaimo Pet Services Inc
4512 Wellington Road Nanaimo BC