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Anal Glands

Most people never even think about dog anal glands until their pet develops a problem.
Dog anal glands are two small glands located on either side of your dog's rectal opening. Each gland holds a small amount of a noxious smelling liquid brown substance that your pet uses as something of a doggie calling card.
Whenever your dog urinates or defecates, the anal glands receive a small amount of pressure, and a tiny bit of the fluid is released, along with your dog's custom blended scent. Your dog can also express a little of his personal essence when he meets a fellow canine. Have you ever noticed that when two dogs meet, they often raise their tails on high alert? This action applies the pressure to the dog anal glands, and this leads to the traditional bum sniffing we humans cannot seem to fathom. However, to our dogs this behaviour is as normal as shaking hands when you meet someone new. By sniffing, the dogs learn to identify each other by their scents. But don't worry, the amount that is released is miniscule and therefore you will only ever smell this if your dog has a gland infection.
Many dogs never seem to have a problem with their anal glands, but the opportunity for infection to take hold is always there. When the anal glands are not sufficiently expressed, a bacteria is given the chance to build up, and this can lead to numerous problems. Your dog can develop an infection, which if left untreated can progress into an abscess. The abscess can then rupture through the skin, leading to further complications. It is also believed that a dog's diet has a huge part to play in the workings of the gland. If there are too many cereal fillers in the food it produces loose stools, these then do not apply enough pressure on the gland to express, so feeding a higher fibre diet is recommended.

How would you know?

If your dog's anal glands fail to properly express, they may actually become impacted and make your dog very uncomfortable. Watch for these signs:
  • Your dog begins scooting or dragging his rear across the floor.
  • Your dog keeps licking or chewing near his rectum.
  • Your dog's stools have become soft and mushy.
  • You'll likely notice a foul or "fishy" odour coming from your dog's rear.
If you are noticing one or more of these signs, it may be a good idea to bring your dog in for a check up with us. The dog anal glands may actually need to be manually expressed, a job best left to the professionals. For some individuals, it takes several sac emptyings in a row before the sacs stay emptied. If the sacs are empty and scooting is persisting, another cause (such as itchy skin, tapeworms, or even lower back pain) should be pursued.
The clearing of the gland is done by raising his tail and using the other hand to feel for two lumps at approximately five and seven o'clock on either side of his anal opening and firm but gentle pressure is applied to the sacs. This should cause some of the fluid to be expelled through the rectal opening, thereby emptying the glands. This will take place during the bathing process of the grooming session to ensure full cleanliness of your dog. 
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Contact Us

Laura Cashmore
Grooming Marvellous
Marshalls pet store
24 Station Road
Ashley cross
BH14 8UB

Tel: +44 (0) 7814 104453