Are Your Dog's Anal Glands Causing a Stink?
It’s a delicate matter but something all dogs share. If you’re lucky you may never have to worry about them, but if you’re not so fortunate you may become more acquainted with your dog’s anal glands than you ever dreamed.
Just saying hello
All dogs have a small gland located on each side of their rectal opening. Under ordinary circumstances these little sacs never give any problems. Actually, your dog uses them all the time. Every time he potties or meets another dog and raises his tail in greeting the pressure releases a little of his own personal scent from the glands. That’s why dogs are always so interested in sniffing another dog’s tail area. And why dogs seem obsessed with smelling where another dog has used the bathroom. These little anal gland excretions are full of important information about the other dog.
This exchange of information goes on all the time, right under your nose, so to speak, and most of the time you never have a clue that your dog is surfing the doggy super highway of information. Us humans can’t smell any of these scents (thank goodness).
Some dog's have to have their anal glands "expressed" every month, and other dog's may never have it happen. What did dog's ever do in the wild?
The butt-scootin’ boogie!
There are times when the anal glands become a problem. They can become impacted, abscessed or infected. When this happens that’s when you’ll see your dog doing the classic “butt scoot.” You know the move. Your dog sits in the floor, usually on your clean carpet, and scoots along dragging his butt. You may think he’s trying to clean something off that was left behind when he was pottying but he’s actually feeling a problem with his anal glands. He may have impacted anal glands -- they may be too full and they are not properly “expressing” when he goes to the bathroom.
There are other signs that your dog may have a problem with his anal glands:
Your dog does the butt scoot
Your dog may lick or chew around his rectal area
Your dog may have soft stools
- The rectal area is red and swollen
Your dog may have a bad odor coming from his rear
When you notice some of these signs it’s time to take your dog to the vet. Believe me, you do not want the job of expressing your dog’s anal glands yourself. There are few things that smell as bad as the fluid from your dog’s anal glands. What’s more, it’s not very pleasant to poke around in your dog’s rectal area! If you do try to express the glands yourself there is always the chance that you could injure your dog or make an infection worse.
Once your vet has expressed the glands you can use a good waterless shampoo like the one from BioSilk to help your dog keep the area clean. Dry Dog Instant Clean is also good for getting rid of unpleasant odors which can be a problem if your dog has recurrent troubles with impacted anal glands. It can also help sanitize your dog’s anal gland area -- and your hands when you are cleaning the area.
Meat’s for dinner
The best way to keep the anal glands working properly is to make sure you’re feeding your dog the right food. If you are feeding your dog a food that has a high vegetable or cereal content, such as corn, wheat, oats or rice, then you should look for a food that has more meats. The best way for dogs to express their own anal glands is by producing firm stools. It’s believed that foods with higher vegetable and cereal content cause dogs to produce softer stools. When stools are too soft your dog isn’t able to express his anal glands when he potties so the sacs can become impacted and even infected.
Whether you feed kibble, canned or even homemade food, looking for foods with more meat content should help your dog produce firmer stools so he can express his anal glands himself when he potties. That’s good for everybody! The less you see of the butt-scootin’ boogie in your house, the better!
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