What are anal glands?
Anal glands are small glands located within the anus. These glands fill with a brown substance that can have a musky and foul odour. The purpose of anal glands, based on dog behaviours, are for the application of pheromone-rich secretion to the outside of a stool to mark territory. On occasion when dogs meet one another raising their tail can also excrete small amounts of the substance.
Dogs anal glands can become blocked or impacted, common signs along with the distinct odour include licking, scooting and biting the anal area or even chasing their tail.
Prevention of blocked/impacted anal glands
Anal glands are designed to be emptied during bowel movement or exercise. Diet is generally a large factor as to why these can become full more frequently. If the diet is poor and unbalanced the glands are not expressed correctly as the stool isn’t firm enough. Dogs on a premium diet tend to have a hard and dry stool, making it more effective to express the anal gland.
To help encourage a firmer stool it is often best to change your dogs diet over to a premium quality food. Check in with your local pet store on what brand is best for your pet. Other tricks you can do at home to encourage bulk in the stool is to add pumpkin to their diet, along with fibre supplements (psyllium husk).
Treatment of blocked/impacted anal glands
Manual expression by a vet or vet nurse is needed once impacted, in some cases antibiotic treatment may also be necessary. Complications can occur from impacted anal glands that are not expressed in time including infection, abscess and rupture in severe cases.
At Cute as a button Dog Grooming we do not express anal glands internally or externally. Please speak with your local vet clinic to arrange this service.