Canine Anal Glands in Dogs
Dog anal glands are located next to your dog's anus, the area where feces exits the body. They contain a foul smelling fluid that is thought to be a dog's way of marking an area or territory.
When the glands are working normally, the pressure caused by a passing stool causes some fluid to be released through ducts in each gland. Liquid will also empty from muscle contractions that occur when your dog is frightened.
Canine anal glands become a problem when the ducts that allow the fluid to leave the body become blocked or clogged. There are several reasons why the ducts can become blocked:
1. Glands that Produce too much fluid
2. Soft stools that can't apply the same pressure as firm stools
3. Tumors or Polyps that block the opening
These problems are referred to as dog anal sac disease, anal sac impaction and Sacculitis, which is canine anal sac infection.
Symptoms & Problems with the Canine Anal Glands
When the pea sized dog anal sacs become swolen you can phsically feel them in them by touching the glands which are at the 5 and 7 o'clock positions around the anus. To get some releif your dog may be seen scooting across the floor on his or her anus (rear).
If the fluid is infection, it will smell badly and be yellow or black in color. Your dog may have a fever and the any liquid that is expressed or emptied from the gland, beside the bad smell may have a drop of blood or puss.
If you see unusual swelling in the gland then your dog may have an anal absecess, which is another term for blocked fluid, puss and liquid. The area of the gland might be discolored (eg; reddish). Just emptying the gland through pressure will not help and your veterinarian may have to use a lance to make a small opening.
Treatment for Canine Anal Glands
The best way to take care of this problem is to emplty the glands yourself or have a dog health professional express the glands. It is easy to do, just messy and smelly.
We suggest you do this in the bathtub to avoid messes in the home and so that you can give your dog a quick bath to wash off any liquid that may fall on her coat. You might also want to wear latex kitchen gloves to keep the smelly, possibly infected fluid off your hands.
1. With one hand lift your dog's tail.
2. In the other hand hold a tissue or paper towel and using your thumb and forefinger apply light pressure to each gland pressing inward toward the opening of the anus.
3. Don't push hard if you don't see any fluid. Try a secon time and if you don't see anything see your veterinarian for help. You could also put your finger partly inside the anus and then push on the gland with a finger.
Anal Gland Infection
If the dog anal glands are infected then they will have to be emptied. Your veterinarian will put an antibiotic ointment into the glands to kill off any infection that may of taken hold.
Prevention of Canine Anal Glands
To prevent health problems with anal glands dog avoid feeding your dog table scraps. These foods could cause soft stools which don't have the pressure needed. To firm up your dog's stool consider adding more fiber to your dog's diet. A simple way to do this is to give your dog a high fiber natural supplement such as PetAlive Natural Moves which contains the fiber Psyllium nigrum.
Another natural approach is to provide a natural supplement made specifically to help dogs with this problem. Herbs such as German Chamomile and Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) are known to have a positive effect and are worth a try. One product to research that is made specifically for this purpose is AnalGlandz which is known to help treat infected anal glands in dogs naturally.
It is a good habit to check your dog to see if the anal glands (also called pouches or sacs) are filling and need to be expressed. Changes in the diet like those mentioned could help.