Help Centre

Anal Gland Problems

How to treat anal gland problems in dogs

A quick guide on how to empty dogs’ anal glands yourself:

  • Wear latex gloves and have a warm cloth to hand.

  • Find the anal glands at 4 and 8 o’clock when looking at the anus.

  • Apply firm but gentle pressure to the glands under the skin and move upwards and back towards the anus.

  • Hold the cloth over the anus to prevent the smelly fluid squirting everywhere.

  • Wipe the dog clean and give them a reward.

Signs and symptoms of anal gland problems in dogs

If you think your dog has a problem with their anal glands, it is best to have them checked over by a vet. If any sign of blood, redness and swelling around the anus becomes apparent seen, your dog should see your vet as soon as possible.

What are anal gland problems in dogs?

What are dog anal glands? These little sacs sit on either side of the dog’s anus, around the 4 and 8 o’clock positions. Located just below the skin surface between the two layers of muscle of the sphincter controlling the anus, they produce an oily, foul-smelling yellow to brown fluid that dogs use to broadcast who they are and mark their territory. These glands are the reason that dogs sniff each other’s rear ends when they meet.

What causes anal gland problems in dogs?

In a normal healthy dog, the faeces squeeze the anal glands as it passes on its way to the anus and empties them. If a dog has soft stools or diarrhoea, there may not be enough pressure on the walls of the rectum to empty the glands properly. This means some fluid is left in the sac. The remaining fluid can thicken, becoming more difficult to remove. Over time, this thickened fluid can block the duct, the little tube that allows the gland to empty. Irregular bowel movements can leave fluid sitting in the glands for longer than ideal. These can be due to digestive upsets, eating poor quality food such as kibble or leftovers, or food that causes allergies or intolerances.

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