Canine Anal Gland Infections

Kelly Roper
Dog sniffing another dog

If your dog is still smelly after his bath, canine anal glands may be the culprit. Learn about anal gland infections and find out how to properly maintain your pet's gland health.

About Anal Gland Infections

Your dog may happily pass through life without ever having any problem with his anal glands, but not all dogs are so lucky.

Occasionally, these glands can become infected. This usually happens when the oil isn't properly expressed over a period of time; this gives it the chance to build up bacteria. This frequently happens when a dog's stools are soft and mushy; they lack the firmness required to put proper pressure on the glands as the feces is evacuated.

When an infection occurs, you will likely notice several signs that your dog is feeling uncomfortable.

These might include:

  • Scooting his bottom across the grass or floor
  • Excessive licking and chewing at his behind

Signs of a severe infection might include:

  • Distinct bulges just beneath the surface on either side of the anal opening
  • Drainage from the rectum
  • One or more abscesses in the immediate area.

If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to have your dog's anal glands expressed to get rid of the infected fluid so the glands can function properly once again. However, this is best left to your veterinarian because applying pressure to an extreme anal sac infection could cause the structure to rupture and lead to bleeding and painful complications for your pet.

Maintaining Your Dog's Gland Health

Some dog owners prefer to use a little routine maintenance to head off anal gland problems by manually expressing the gland themselves before a grooming session.

This can be accomplished by covering the dog's rectum with a cloth and applying gentle pressure to the pea-sized lumps on either side. This will usually cause a small amount of oily liquid to emerge, but sometimes the secretion will squirt out if the glands are particularly full, hence the covering of the rectum with a cloth before you begin.

If this activity doesn't sound like something you'd feel comfortable with, you should know that many dog groomers will perform the task at your request. You should also be aware that not all dog experts agree that the anal glands should be interfered with in any way unless a dog is showing signs of a problem.

Recognizing Problems

If you didn't know anything about canine anal glands before you read this article, you probably know more now than you ever thought you could. Whether or not you decide routine gland maintenance is a good idea for your pet, at least you'll know how to identify problems quickly and hopefully save your dog from the discomfort of a prolonged anal sac infection.

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Canine Anal Gland Infections