A Pain In The Rear: 5 Signs Your Dog Has Anal Gland Problems

If your dog behaves abnormally restless, from time to time, biting, licking and rubbing his own ass, he is very possibly undergoing the "butt problems." Bear in mind some dogs will go through life never having a problem with their anal glands.

anal glands in dogs

What Happens To Your Dog?

What Happens To Your Dog?

I bet even if you're an experienced dog owner, you may not hear of dog's anal glands. In fact, there are small paired pockets located between the internal and external anal sphincter muscles, one on each side of the anus at the 4 and 8 o'clock position, which are called anal sacs? They exist there without any purpose to the health of a dog except for marking and identification.

dog "butt problems"

The so-called "butt problems" are the problems on anal sacs. Each sac has abundant oil glands and sweat glands that will produce pungent fluid. While for unknown reasons some dogs' anal sacs produce a rather thick, semi-solid material that will impact the sacs, causing them pain and inflammation and even breaking through to the skin's surface. The four most common anal gland problems in dogs include inflammation, dysfunction (not emptying on their own), abscess and tumors.

How Will Your Dog Behave When He Has “Butt Problems”?

How Will Your Dog Behave When He Has “Butt Problems”?

Scooting - When scooting becomes a regular action, you should be alert. In general, it's the usual behavior for dogs to drag their rears along the ground to stop itching around the anal area.
Licking - When licking becomes frequent and intense, and when you find it difficult to distract your dog from it, it could be a problem. For example, even though you succeed in stopping him, the last moment he is licking again.
Looking - Affected dogs sometimes will jump up suddenly and look around at the rectal area as if startled. There are many nerves in this area, so the behavior seems to be related to pain and also is a hint of trouble.

How Dog Behaves When He Has “Butt Problems”

Foul Odor - Another obvious sign is the smelling. The anal glands will release a very pungent discharge, while the general release occurs at the time of defecation. Therefore, you can be away from that smell. But if you notice a foul or even fishy odor on your dog or anywhere he lies, it could be a sign of gland problems.
Open Wounds - The infected glands can produce an abscess that will affect the skin near the rectum, and with the time passing by, there will be a draining open wound.

How To Recognize Normal And Problem Anal Glands?

How To Recognize Normal And Problem Anal Glands?

All the early signs mentioned above deserve your special attention, but that doesn't mean a smell or a fishy smell of anal glands must be a problem. It should depend on your dog's whole performance and the intensity of all the symptoms. You can combine the questions below to estimate your dog's health situation or consult a vet.
• How long has he had the intense itching?
• Is the Itching constant or intermittent?
• Does he seem distressed, or just mildly bothered by the itching?
• Is dog itching other places on the body besides the rectal area?
• What do you feed your dog?
• Have you traveled recently?
• Has he been ill lately?

Is It A Must To See A Vet?

Is It A Must To See A Vet?

For the question, the answer is yes. Butt problems usually signify there may be other severe underlying issues elsewhere in the body. A thorough check by vet becomes necessary. What's more, the serious "butt problem" is not only very painful but also can cause fecal incontinence, and that's a big thing because no one wants to be surrounded by dog poop around the home.
However, It's important to choose the right vet who helps your dog get the correct treatment rather than suffer from unnecessary pain. A surgery and a drain placement are needed only in a small number of cases. For example, "If the anal gland is already ruptured, use of a local anesthesia and flushing with undiluted herbal skin spray may be all you need to do" according to professional Dr. Dobias' advice, while some vets may persuade you to accept a surgery that your dog would be frightened to death of.

What Can You Do To Prevent Your Dog’s “Butt Problems”?

What Can You Do To Prevent Your Dog’s “Butt Problems”?

The first thing to avoid dog's "butt problems" is to find out the possible main factors that cause anal gland issues, and they're concluded as five aspects according to Dr. Dobias:
• Diet - especially processed, preserved and artificially-flavored food
• Toxin build-up in the body
• Obesity due to a carb-based diet, overfeeding or lack of exercise
• Liver imbalance or disease, which is frequently, related to general toxicity
• Lumbosacral spine and muscle injury that leads to decreased energy flow to the anal glands and lack of tone.
Then adjust to your dog's diet, such as feeding him raw bones rather than the cooked ones. Finally, it's a good way to have the glands drained regularly before full glands turn into an impaction, then an infection and finally an abscess. But "if the sacs don't need emptying, you'd better not choose to touch them," vet says.