Demystifying Anal Glands
Have you ever wondered why dogs exchange hind end sniffs when they meet each other? Anal glands are scent glands that are used for dog to dog communication. They are located on either side of the rectum and are normally expressed when the dog has a bowel movement. They may also be called “anal sacs.” Sometimes, the sacs become too full and your pet may need help emptying them so they don’t become infected.

What are the signs of full anal sacs?
– Scooting along the floor
– Licking or chewing at the hind end
– A “fishy” smell from the rear end of your pet
– A small bump on either side of the rectum
– Spots of discharge where the dog has been sitting

What may increase the risk of anal sac issues?
– Chronic skin infections
– External parasites (mites)
– Food or environmental allergies
– Being overweight
– Hormone imbalances (like hypothyroidism)
– Genetic predisposition

– Expression of the anal sacs by your veterinary or veterinary technician
– A veterinary approved hypoallergenic diet (if food allergies are a concern)
– Added fiber to your dog’s diet (like canned pumpkin)
– Healthy fish oils (ask us about Welactin!)
**Note – always check with your veterinarian before adding supplements to your dog’s diet!**

Cats also have anal glands, but they typically do not have as many concerns with them as dogs do. If your cat seems uncomfortable, call your veterinarian to schedule an evaluation.

If you have questions or concerns, please give our office a call at (607) 733-6503 or book an appointment now. We are always happy to assist you!

Written by Rebecca Burns, LVT