ANAL GLAND ATTENTION
We do not automatically express your dog’s glands as part of the grooming appointment, if you would like us to check the glands please advise us when you arrive. We will only express the glands if they are healthy and are easily emptied, an indication of healthy glands. It is important to be aware that if the glands are impacted, you will need to attend your vet.
This article may help with any questions you have.
Most people never think about their dog's anal glands until there's a problem with them. These glands are designed to provide lubrication when a dog passes a stool, and they also give each dog its own unique scent.
Express Only When Necessary - Under normal circumstances, the anal glands are able to function completely on their own without human intervention. Unless your dog has developed a problem, it is better to avoid routine expressing of the glands and let your dog's body function the way it was designed to do.
How Anal Glands Work
Every dog has two small glands located on either side of its rectal opening. Each gland holds a small amount of a brown, noxious-smelling liquid substance. Whenever your dog urinates or defecates, these glands receive a small amount of pressure that releases a tiny bit of the fluid along with your dog's custom-blended scent.
Your dog can also express a little of his personal essence when he meets a fellow canine. Have you ever noticed how two dogs raise their tails on high alert when they first meet? This action applies pressure to the anal glands, and this leads to the traditional butt sniffing humans cannot seem to fathom. However, this greeting is as normal to dogs as shaking hands is to people. Sniffing helps the dogs learn to identify each other by their scents.
Many dogs never seem to have a problem with their anal glands. However, bacteria can build up in the anal glands if they don't express properly, and this can lead to an infection. Left untreated, the infection can produce an abscess which may eventually rupture through the skin and cause further complications.
Some anal gland problems may be linked to the quality of pet food a dog receives. Inexpensive brands of dog food often use cereal fillers that tend to result in soft stools. The soft stool isn't able to press firmly enough against the dog's anal glands to provide the necessary pressure to express them, and there the trouble begins. Higher quality dog foods will help your pet produce firmer, more compact stools that actually help the glands express, so those foods may be a better food choice for your pet.
Signs the Glands Are Impacted
If your dog's anal glands fail to express properly, they may actually become impacted and make your dog very uncomfortable. Watch for these signs:
Your dog begins scooting or dragging his rear across the floor.
Your dog keeps licking or chewing near his rectum.
Your dog's stools have become soft and mushy.
You'll likely notice a foul or "fishy" odour coming from your dog's rear.
If your pet produces firmer, more compact stools that actually help the glands express, so those foods may be a better food choice for your pet.