Treating a Dog With Anal Gland Problems

By Melodie Anne

Dealing with your furry chum’s anal sacs, or glands, is probably the last thing on your mind. It’s messy and unappealing, but healthy anal glands are critical to his health. If Baxter is constantly scooting his rear-end across the floor, nipping at the base of his tail or licking his hindquarters, it’s time to take him to the veterinarian.

What Goes Wrong

The anal glands are two small sacs located at 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock -- like the hands on a clock -- around your dog’s anus. These sacs are full of your canine’s own personal perfume, letting other dog’s know some details about him, when he leaves the fluid behind. Some dogs are just more prone to having full or impacted anal sacs, particularly small breed dogs and canines who are overweight. Cocker spaniels, basset hounds and beagles are known to have recurring anal gland problems too. Anal sac issues also can stem from infections, constipation, allergies or trauma to the area.

Anal Sac Expression

Your veterinarian, vet tech or even a trained groomer, can express your dog's anal glands when they're full. It's entirely noninvasive and doesn't cause your pooch any pain -- maybe just a little discomfort. When this is done, the trained professional slips on latex gloves and gently squeezes your pal's anal sacs, forcing the fluid to come out. It's a stinky, messy job, so it's best to leave this treatment to a trained professional.

Change in Diet

Changing your pup’s diet can express full anal sacs naturally. He should be on a kibble that’s high in fiber. It could be beneficial to give Baxter a bulk laxative fiber supplement in addition to, or instead of, high-fiber food. The increase in fiber makes stools bigger and bulkier. When Baxter goes to pass a stool, it’ll press against his anal sacs, emptying them naturally. However, if your furry friend has a preexisting condition, such as an infection or chronic obstructed ducts, a change in diet might not have any benefit. Before making any dietary changes, get clearance from your veterinarian.

Medical Intervention

If anal gland secretions are yellowish or pus-filled, your fur ball could have an infection. This needs to be treated with oral or topical medications, administered by your vet. In severe cases of chronic infections or impactions, your buddy may have to undergo surgery to remove the anal sacs. This is a last resort treatment method though, since as with any surgery, sometimes complications outweigh any potential benefits.