Dr. Laura Leautier
 What’s the Scoop with Anal Glands ?
Laura Leautier
If you’re a lucky pet owner, you’ve never had to think about your pet’s anal glands.  Maybe you didn’t even know dogs and cats have anal glands.  But if your pet has ever been stressed out and expressed its anal glands, you’ll never forget the smell for as long as you live!  Since cats rarely have anal gland issues, I’ll focus on dogs here.
1029569Anal glands are scent glands located back by your dog’s anus, hence the name.  Every time it defecates, it expresses a small amount of fluid on its feces to “mark” its territory.  The fluid should be gray or tan watery material.  Sometimes, though, it’ll get thicker, and have a hard time exiting the anal gland ducts and get overfilled.  You may notice your dog dragging their bottom across the carpet (also known as the “butt scoot boogie”), licking back there excessively, or you may smell that tell-tale stale fish odor.  These are all signs that your pet is uncomfortable back there, and you’d need to bring him in to get the anal glands expressed.  (We promise we actually clean their butt afterward, but it’ll smell for a bit like we haven’t!)  If the material gets too thick (like dried toothpaste), it won’t flow out of the duct, and the material will actually push out through the skin and cause a big sore back there — an anal gland abscess, which is treated surgically.

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It seems our smaller dogs have the most issues, and many come in every month or two to get them expressed.  So if you notice your dog obsessing back there, or scooting his bottom, bring him in, no appointment needed!