Perhaps not the ideal topics for discussion over breakfast, your dog’s anal glands are actually an important aspect of social behavior for dogs. There are two dog anal glands are found at around 5 and 7 o’clock around a dog’s rectal opening. When your dog defecates, a small amount of a brown, liquid substance is excreted helping your dog to mark his territory. Moreover, this noxious smelling liquid helps dogs to identify each other which is why dogs often smell each other’s rear end when they first meet.
When dogs urinate and defecate, their anal glands experience a bit of pressure causing the release of a small amount of fluid. Similarly, when dogs meet new dogs, they raise their tail to apply pressure to their anal glands and release some of this fluid and the butt sniffing ensues. Unfortunately, dog anal glands have the capacity to get infected from time to time.
In most cases, dogs will keep their anal glands clean and clear and infections never arise. Yet, while most dogs will never have a problem with their anal glands, infections are not uncommon. These infections lead to abscesses which can ultimately rupture and cause more serious complications. Signs of dog anal gland problems include the following:
- You notice your dog scooting or dragging his bottom across the floor or yard.
- Your dog is regularly chewing or licking around his rectum.
- Your dog’s stools are soft.
- You notice a foul odor coming from your dog’s bottom.
If you notice any of these problems your dog’s anal glands may need to be cleaned and manually expressed. While it is possible to do this from home, it is probably better to get a trained professional to take care of this somewhat nasty business. The fluid excreted from your dog’s rectum already smells quite disgusting, and the fact that your dog’s anal glands may be infected will only make matters worse. Remember, in most cases you will not need to clean your dog’s anal glands and there is no recommended schedule for this kind of grooming. However, when a problem arises, you should visit your veterinarian or a trained groomer to manually express and clean the anal glands.