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Does your dog scoot its butt on the carpet and you're wondering why it is doing this? Also, is it constantly licking its anus or at least trying? These could all be signs that something is wrong with your dog's so-called anal sac. The anal glands can become blocked. This article explains what the anal glands are, what tasks the anal sacs perform in dogs, and how to squeeze a dog's anus glands.
If you do not help your dog to empty, you may risk inflammation of the anal gland or even painful abscesses.
- 1 What is An Anal Gland?
- 2 Where is The Anal Gland in the Dog?
- 3 Symptoms and Causes
- 4 Treatment of Inflamed Anal Glands and Blocked Anal Sacs
- 5 How to Squeeze a Dog's Anus Glands
- 6 Prognosis and Prophylaxis
What is An Anal Gland?
In dogs, you usually differentiate between the anal glands and the anal sac. Both designate specific glands in the anal region.
The anal sacs represent a special form of the gland. In particular, the anal sacs, as a special form of the glands, can only be found in predators. The only animal exception to this rule is the brown bear, which does not have an anal sac.
The anal sac is a collection point for a special glandular secretion at the end of the colon.
The secretion from your dog's anal glands should usually be slimy and brownish in color. Completely untypical are blood admixtures or yellow / green pus secretion.
Both blood and pus are serious signs of illness. If you notice either or even both on the anus of your dog, you should definitely consult a veterinarian. This saves your furry companion pain and an unnecessarily long healing time or complications with serious consequences!
Where is The Anal Gland in the Dog?
In the case of the anal sac, you will find this gland collecting space below and to the side of the anus. It helps you to find the sacs if you think about the clock hands of 8 and 4 p.m. These positions are ideal for feeling the anal sacs.
The secretion in the sac has a strong smell due to its composition. This also explains the function of the anal gland.
You have probably already seen how dogs who meet each other sniff each other's butts first. One reason for this are the anal sacs. The secretion ensures that every dog has a characteristic smell. This is how the animals recognize each other.
In addition, they secrete the secretion when defecating. In this way, they mark their territory using their individual smell. On top of that:
The secretion from the anal sacs helps the animals to settle solid feces more easily and repel enemies.
The secretion is also important for reproduction. It is a sign for conspecifics that they are ready to mate.
There are few differences between the sexes and breeds when it comes to the anal sacs. Basically, both male and female dogs have such anal sacs.
The anal glands differ in the individual dog breeds mainly in terms of their size.
Particularly small breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Spaniels are more likely than large breeds of dogs to have problems with inflamed and blocked anal sacs.
Symptoms and Causes
The dog's anal gland is located near the anus and next to the rectum.
Usually the anal glands do not cause any problems. However, it can happen that too much secretion builds up and the anal gland clogs.
Your dog either wipes off the secretion on objects or excretes it with the feces. In any case, it is a natural process. Only when the glands become clogged does your pet begin to show the first signs of problems.
What are the symptoms of a blocked or even inflamed anal gland? What are the causes of anal sacs problems? And how to relieve dog anus glands? I'll show you.
The First Signs of Blocked Anal Glands
It can happen to your loyal companion that the anal glands become clogged. In the ideal case, the secretion works perfectly for life.
Sometimes the exit ducts of the anal glands become blocked. As a result, the secretion remains in the anal sacs and it accumulates more and more.
The filled anal sacs are increasingly uncomfortable for your furry friend. At the same time, it is possible for bacteria to cause inflammation.
To help you notice such constipation and inflammation, here is an explanation of the common symptoms:
Clogged anal glands initially only cause minor discomfort.
1. Scooting is particularly noticeable
Here your four-legged friend scoots its butt across the floor to empty the anal sacs despite the clogged glands.
Because the clogged glands cause increasingly intense itching. Your dog tries to get rid of this itching by scooting across the floor.
What seems funny at first, can quickly cause damage – your pet will especially suffer if the sac does not empty.
You will notice when your furry friend loosens the clog itself. Then there is a lingering, intense (and unpleasant) smell in the air.
Additional symptoms occur due to the itching.
For example, your four-legged friend tries to lick or bite its anus. In some cases he also hunts his own tail to get rid of the pressure and itching.
2. Important symptoms of inflamed anal glands
In addition to scooting, redness and swelling also indicate deeper inflammatory processes. If the anal gland is inflamed, this inevitably leads to swelling of the region with simultaneous reddening of the skin.
Such inflammation of the anal gland worsens symptoms over time. As soon as the situation gets worse, your dog's suffering also increases:
The anal gland is painful, itchy and exerts strong pressure on the anus region. Your furry companion may then no longer want to walk at all or avoid sitting on their bum.
The animal should be helped at the latest with such symptoms. Such help is ideally provided by a veterinarian – especially if there is inflammation of the anal glands.
Wrong and inadequate treatment of inflamed anal glands automatically leads to complications. Abscesses and suppurations in particular are among such consequences.
The intensified inflammatory processes of the anal gland increase the suffering of your four-legged friend. It then suffers from the increased body temperature and the onset of a fever.
At this point, it can also weaken as the pain and fever make it difficult.
Loss of appetite and apathy are always serious signs of an emergency!
Causes of Anal Sac Problems
Clogged anal sacs are not a pleasant affair in the first place. Many dogs are spared their lives. But there are also those who keep getting problems with their anal glands.
Why is that?
In part, a certain predisposition plays a role in the events. Some dogs suffer from blocked anal glands due to the nature of their feces.
Soft stools can cause a lack of pressure. As a result, the secretion from the anal glands thickens, and so the exit channels clog over time.
Hard feces can also be problematic: This irritates the anus region and sometimes causes swelling, which can also affect the anal glands.
Hard stools are often the result of chronic constipation. At the same time, chronic diarrhea irritates the anus. Both cause clogged anal glands and an increased accumulation of the foul-smelling anal gland secretion.
These clogged anal glands are often the cause of inflamed anal sacs. Tumors, fistulas and abscesses on the anal glands are also conceivable.
A comparatively harmless cause of the anal gland problems is also possible. If your pet dog suffers from weak connective tissue, it will feel a certain pressure even though the anal sacs are barely full.
All of these causes can be effectively eliminated through proper diet and medical treatment.
Treatment of Inflamed Anal Glands and Blocked Anal Sacs
Proper treatment of inflamed anal glands and blocked anal sacs is essential. Then your four-legged friend can pass feces without any problems and the healing progresses quickly and easily.
Do you notice the first signs (scooting, licking …)?
Then it is advisable to visit a veterinarian first. They can show you how to empty blocked anal sacs without inflaming the anal glands.
If there is an inflammation – possibly suppurated – the veterinarian will also help. After emptying the gland, they will prescribe appropriate drugs and ointments. These are effective in helping your pet dog recover. Only if nothing works should you consider an operation and removal of the anal glands.
The following section explains how to clean dog anus glands and what you should pay attention to.
How to Squeeze a Dog's Anus Glands
If the anal glands are blocked, there are two options for emptying them:
You can do it yourself or you can take your furry friend to a veterinarian, animal health practitioner or to a dog salon.
If you have no experience with manually squeezing out anal glands, you should definitely ask a professional for help first.
The vet in particular sees blocked anal sacs regularly and knows when a serious illness is behind them.
The manual treatment of a simple constipation can be shown by the respective expert in the field. Do it yourself, especially if your pet friend suffers from clogged anal glands frequently. The vet can show you the procedure for expressing anal glands.
Basically, it is important to create hygienic conditions so that no infection occurs. Latex gloves are best for expressing and emptying the anal glands. Additional paper towels help to catch the emerging secretion.
How to Express Anus Glands in Dogs
In order to squeeze out the anal sac and expose the anus, you lift the tail of your four-legged friend. Sometimes just lifting the tail is enough to empty the sacs.
Expressing it is a bit like that of pimples. However, you use less force here. Rather, emptying the anal sacs is a gentle massage.
It is important that you are in exactly the right position to empty the sacs: Your fingers are to the side and below the anus, in the positions “8 and 4 o'clock”. Use the paper towels to gently push towards the anus.
It may be necessary to insert a finger into the anus to remove hardened secretion. Make sure to proceed carefully – after all, you don't want to hurt your pet friend.
It often helps if a second person is there to distract your furry friend with something like treats.
Additional tips for emptying the clogged anal sacs:
- Be prepared for the strong stench!
- If you notice blood or pus, be sure to stop the treatment!
- If you are unsure or see blood / pus, always see your vet!
- It is best to carry out the treatment on a washable floor (e.g. tiles or bathtub) or outside!
Prognosis and Prophylaxis
Inflamed anal glands usually have a good chance of recovery. You can already achieve a lot by regularly emptying and cleaning the anal sacs or your vet.
Also medicinal measures may be useful in certain circumstances. The earlier the problem is recognized, the better the prognosis for your pet dog. In addition, the chances of recovery are worse if your friend suffers from tumors.
Prevention by massaging the anal gland regularly is usually straightforward. However, proper hygiene is important. This will avoid infections as a result of the treatment.
Last but not least, the vet can tell you whether it makes sense to empty the anal glands regularly.