Anal Gland Problems in Dogs

Anal gland problems can pose an irritating problem for cats and dogs. The disease occurs when the animal’s anal sac becomes impacted, infected and abscessed. Pets that have this problem are usually seen licking their behind, scoot along the floor or have problems defecating. Some pet owners believe that it is caused by worms but this is not true.



There is no clear cause of anal gland problems. Some veterinarians suggest that anal sac problems occur due to anal sphincter muscle dysfunction, enlarged anal sacs, obstructed or constricted anal sacs and hypersecretion in the anal sacs are some of the probable causes.  Other factors include dog breeds. Studies have shown that anal gland problems are uncommon in large dog breeds but can be prevalent in small breeds like Chihuahuas, miniature poodles, toy poodles, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles and Lhasa Apsos.

Anal gland problems do not affect the overall health of dogs and cats. However, they can be very uncomfortable for your pet. Most of the time, pets result to scooting on the floor, biting or licking the area and in some cases, pets will have distended or inflamed anuses. When the glands become first impacted, veterinarians suggest that the area be cleaned out or “expressed”. This is done by applying pressure using your fingers to the anal sacs.

When you need to express the anal sacs, it is important to wear latex gloves. Gently raise your dog’s tail to expose the anus. Using your thumb and index finger, feel your pet’s anal glands usually located at the 4 and 8 o’clock position. Milk the glands by gently pushing using an upward motion. Be gentle and make sure not to rush. Adjust your finger’s position if now liquid is coming out. Keep milking until you feel the sac deflate. Make sure to clean your dog’s bottom after the procedure.
Some people prefer to take their pets to the vet to have their anal glands expressed but it can be done at home following the instructions above. In some chronic cases, veterinarians will express the pet, recommend medication and or surgery to correct this problem.

To avoid anal gland problems in pets, some veterinarians recommend a high fiber diet. This makes their stool more bulky and put pressure on the anal glands. When your pet defecates the stool puts pressure on the anal glands and will express itself as your pet does his business. Fiber supplements can also be prescribed.

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