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What Are Anal Glands on Dogs and Do I Need to Worry About Them?

My dog seems to be “rubbing” his bum on the ground and scooting on his bum. What does this mean?

Scooting is when your canine friend sits on his bum, straightening his hind legs and pulling himself forward with his front legs. Some owners can think this is cute or that their dog’s rear end is simply itchy. However, it’s more likely their anal glands are causing them trouble.

What are anal glands/sacs?
Anal glands are two small sac-like glands, located on either side of the inside of your dog’s anus. The secretion consists of oily, foul-smelling, thick (if infected) secretion. In the wild, these secretions would be used for scent marking or can even be used as a defence mechanism.

How do I know if my dog’s anal glands are making him uncomfortable?

  • Scooting
  • Licking at their hind end
  • Foul odour coming from the rear end
  • Trying to pass more stool when the bowel movement is finished (short straining when finished with bowel movement)

How often do my dog’s anal glands need to be expressed?
Most dogs express their anal glands on their own while having a bowel movement. For those that don’t and require veterinary assistance, the frequency for expression can vary. For those who seem to need manual expression and don’t suffer from chronic infection of the glands, typically needs to have them expressed every 1-3 months.

Please give us a call with any questions that you have.

Written by: Sara Currie, CCS

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