Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Anal Gland Problems

Kelly Roper
Dogs sniffing

People are reluctant to ask questions about anal glands, but many owners have them. Here are a few questions posed by LTK Dogs visitors.

Visitor Questions About Dog Anal Glands

My Dog's Anal Glands are Still Smelly

My dog's anal glands were emptied last week by a vet, but they still smell. We were told that it may take two to three weeks for this smell to go away. Is this normal?~~ Mami

Expert Reply

Hi Mami,

Is it possible that your dog's anal glands were infected? Did the vet put your pet on an antibiotic? If they were infected, then I could understand why there may still be a residual smell while the infection is clearing. Otherwise, I have never had a dog smell after I expressed it's glands.

Unless your vet has advised against it, I'm going to recommend you give your dog a bath to wash away any drainage that might still be in the fur. I think it would be wise to check back in with your vet if there is still a bad smell after this week.

Thanks for your question~~ Kelly

Diet and Anal Gland Problems

Every year my nine-year-old Golden Retriever has problems with her anal glands. I understand that her diet might be a problem. What brand of dog food could I buy at the store to help with this problem?

Expert Reply

I hesitate to recommend an actual brand, especially with the recent dog food recall still so fresh in everyone's mind.

That said, I don't know what you are currently feeding your dog, but you may need to upgrade from a grocery store brand to one of the higher grade kibbles. These products usually contain a little extra beet pulp, which firms the stools a bit more. I have fed Eukanuba in the past, but I have no idea what formula Iams is currently using.

If you are also giving her a lot of canned/wet food, I'd cut that out of her diet immediately. This food usually results in looser stools that don't provide adequate pressure as the stools pass by the glands.

In all honesty, I'd recommend you discuss this recurring problem with your vet to see what course of action, and which kibble he/she recommends.

Thank you for your question~~ Kelly

Question About Dog Anal Gland Secretions

My Golden Retriever has the smelly "fish-butt" about once every three to five weeks. We aren't concerned about an infection, but this afternoon she was startled by a stranger that rounded the corner at our camp site. She excreted about a teaspoonful of the smelly liquid, and we saw the wet spot on the pavement when she backed away. Is the fact that it just squirted out of her a sign that she may have an infection?

~~ Katie

Expert Reply

Hi Katie,

I don't think you have anything to be truly worried about. Most dogs tense up and release a small amount of anal gland secretions and we never even realize it. Typically, this isn't a sign of infection.

That said, a teaspoon of secretions is a rather significant amount for her to expel at once under any circumstances. It sounds as if her anal glands aren't expressing themselves properly every time she poops, and the fluid is building up. This would explain why you notice a periodic increase in the odor.

I recommend you either switch her to a dog food that is higher in fiber, or raise her fiber intake by adding a couple teaspoonfuls of plain canned pumpkin to her meals. We need to make her stools firmer so they apply a little more pressure to the glands as they pass through.

If this doesn't do the trick, you might want to learn how to manually express her glands yourself. You'll find directions on how to do this in our article about Dog Anal Glands.

Thank you for your question, and I hope these suggestions help.

~~ Kelly

Strange Behavior May Indicate Anal Gland Problem

My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is constantly lowering his bottom to the floor and then sniffing where he has been. He has scooted a few times but not a lot, and he is licking the area both on the floor and himself.

Could his anal glands need emptying, or could it be due to the fact he has a bad back and has been on pain killers? We've also been checking his temperature.

~~Claire

Expert Reply

Hi Claire,

I suspect his anal glands may be either impacted, infected or both. How are his stools? Sometimes pain killers can cause constipation, but judging by his behavior I'm betting it's the anal glands.

I'm not sure why you've been monitoring his temperature, but until you have your vet check his rear, I'd stop unless it's absolutely necessary.

~~Kelly

Follow Up Question

Thank you for your reply.

I will visit the grooming lady to see if the glands are impacted, or do you think it would be better to contact our vet? In answer to your question about the temperature taking, the vet has been doing it.

Expert Reply

Many groomers are capable of expressing the anal glands under normal circumstances. This presents no problem when the glands are healthy, and falls under the heading of routine maintenance. If there's an infection or abcess present, there could be complications during the procedure that your groomer may not be qualified to handle.

Since your dog is already under veterinary care, I'd recommend having your vet take a look this time. If they are infected, your vet may want to follow up with an antibiotic, something your groomer cannot provide or prescribe.

~~Kelly

Possible Anal Gland Abscess

My Bichon Frise has been licking her bottom a lot lately, but she never scoots. Today, I came home from work to find her licking even more vigorously.

When I examined her, I found that she had a small rupture on one side. The skin edges are quite red and the area has some brown and white discharge. This did happen to her one other time about 11 months ago. Will this heal on its own, or does she need to see the vet?

~~ Dorothy

Expert Reply

Hi Dorothy,

I'm not a vet, but it does sound to me like your dog has an anal gland abscess. I think you should take her to your vet and get an antibiotic to help clear the infection. If you don't, the abscess will likely close up, and the bacteria still trapped inside will continue to build into another abscess.

Thanks for your question, and I hope your dog is feeling better soon.

~~ Kelly

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Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Anal Gland Problems