Can we review anal glands?

Boca's behind is so stinky lately.  She leaked anal gland juice onto a rug last week.  So she got a bath. Of course she's stinky again but I'm not bathing her again.  I just wiped her bottom with some paper towels and foaming waterless shampoo.  So can we review preventive tips?


Does she need more fiber? (maybe this is why she seeks out socks! lol, bad joke)


Does she need to have them expressed on a regular basis--if so by what professional?





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  • Well, here is one reason it's a good idea to SEE your dog's stool immediately. Once it sits there for a awhile (days?) in the yard, there is no way to really know whether or not it is nice and firm, because it will always harden up with time, especially in cold or windy weather.
    And firm stool is essential for the anal glands to function properly and not become impacted. 
    Frequency of defecation is also an important part of keeping anal glands functioning and emptying naturally. So if we just let our dogs go in and out as they please, we really have no idea how often they are defecating, as well.
    Most dogs who do not have a health related issue and have regular (daily), firm bowel movements do not need to have their anal glands manually expressed. 
    There are some health conditions that will affect the fundtioning of the anal glands, including physical structure as well as consistency of the anal secretions, and in those cases, they may need to be manually expressed on a regular basis.

    When and if a dog needs the anal glands manually expressed, it absolutely MUST be done internally. If you don't know how, or don't want to know, lol, it needs to be done at the vet's office. Never by a groomer, and if your dog goes to a groomer, you need to make it clear to the groomer that you do not want them expressing your dogs anal glands, ever

    Manually expressing the glands externally can actually cause them to become impacted.

    High fiber diets are always helpful for dogs who have anal gland issues. There are many easy ways to add fiber to a dog's diet if you don't want to change the food you're using. 

    Does this help? 


    • It's what I expected.  I am NOT expressing them myself.  But if they have leaked does that mean they need expressing ... that there is MORE to get out? 

      What health conditions affect the functioning of glands?

      I'm happy to add psyllium indefinitely.  


      • If anal glands are leaking, ever, they need to be expressed. That should never happen if the glands are functioning as they should. They should be emptying themselves every time the dog defecates, so there shouldn't be anything to leak. 
        Skin conditions, either chronic like Atopy or recurrent bacterial or yeast skin infections, can cause anal gland problems. Mites can cause them. Hypothyroidism can cause anal gland problems. And according to the veterinary literature, being overweight can also cause them.
        Then there are abnormalities in the structure of the glands themselves. Those are the cases where often an anal sacculectomy needs to be done. 

        • My golden had the sacculectomy years ago—he had structural abnormality. Removal of the glands removed the issue!

          • Thanks for commenting Christi! So glad you found a good solution for your dog. 

    • I couldnt agree more about not letting the groomers externally express.  Our shih tzu we had would initally only have it done as needed by the vet then in his later years we had changed his groomer and he would get sooooo backed up and we never could figure out why, he had large issues with it.  We would go to the vet for internal expression and the groomer would do it also.  The only thing we could figure out was the groomer doing it, that was the only change.     

      • We are safe on the groomer end as I do my own grooming and have NO interest in touching her anal glands externally or internally ;-)  

    • Well if there was ever a more useless piece of anatomy for the modern house dog, it's anal glands. I wonder if stranger dogs would actually treat a dog without them any differently.  Keep the dew claws, take the anal glands! I'm not seriously advocating a surgery for no reason, but man would I rather have dew claws to contend with. 

      • I've never had a dog without dew claws... maybe it's just the breeds my family has chosen?  I'd find it pretty weird to have a dog with no dew claws not that I'd complain about not having to clip them.  I've never had a dog with anal gland problems either though.

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