Anal Glands in Dogs: Alleviate and Prevent Symptoms

It is fairly common in dogs for the anal glands to become blocked or inflamed. Here you can find out how you can tell that your dog has problems with the anal glands and how you can help him properly.

When the dog slides around on its rear, most dog owners are initially irritated. Can you find this funny or should you be concerned? It is important that you observe your animal closely. If you notice that your dog often licks his anus region in addition to “sledding”, it could well be that his anal glands are blocked.

By sliding around, he tries to empty the anal glands himself. You can find out here how you can really help him now and why anal glands can become clogged and even inflamed.

Recognizing problems with the anal glands in dogs

The anal glands always empty when the dog defecates. They provide its legacies with a secretion that serves to mark territory. However, if they do not defecate or not completely, you will notice these symptoms:

  • The dog will lick the area around its anus frequently and intensely.
  • The dog clearly has trouble passing faeces.
  • “Sledging”: The dog slides around on its hindquarters.

“Sledging” does not necessarily indicate an anal gland blockage. Some dogs experience great pain when the anal glands are bulging – sliding around would be too painful for them. It is often more of a symptom of an itchy acid load on the mucous membrane of the anus.

Attention: If the anal glands are blocked, the dog initially only notices an unpleasant pressure. However, the constipation can quickly become painful or the glands can even become inflamed. Inflamed anal glands are reddish and swollen. Affected dogs avoid sitting and are less likely to exercise. In very severe cases, the dog will have a fever or the anal glands will burst. The result is purulent, painful wounds. Inflamed anal glands must be treated by the vet.

Prevent complaints effectively

The anal glands become clogged when the dog’s feces are too thin or too solid. Therefore, you should pay attention to the ingredients of the feed to prevent problems. While low-fiber food makes the stool harder, these ingredients, for example, make dog faeces softer. They should therefore not be fed excessively:

  • Grain
  • rice
  • rumen
  • omasum

To support the anal glands in producing secretions, you can add the following ingredients to the food:

  • psyllium
  • Linseed (depending on tolerance)
  • coconut and carrot flakes

Adjusting the food accordingly can help, especially if the anal glands are blocked again and again. Consult your veterinarian. It will help you find the right diet for your dog.

Treat blocked and inflamed anal glands

If the anal glands are already blocked, it depends on the right treatment. Special anal gland ointments can relieve pain and uncomfortable pressure. Even in acute cases, the diet should be changed so that the feces is neither too hard nor too soft.

Caution: You should never express your dog’s anal glands yourself! If at all, only the vet should do this. In addition, this treatment only relieves the symptoms for a short time. The anal glands only produce more secretions after they have been emptied and the symptoms can even get worse.

Expressing the anal glands is very painful for the dog! Note that this also increases the risk of infection. If possible, it makes sense to choose another treatment.
In some dogs, the anal glands are blocked again and again. In these cases, it is important that the intestinal flora is checked by a veterinarian. Find out if your dog has an intolerance or food allergy to prevent future constipation.

In order to avoid discomfort and to find the right treatment for acute cases, one should understand the causes of congestion and inflammation of the anal glands.

This is why the anal glands in dogs become clogged

Virtually every dog ​​has anal glands. They sit on the right and left of the anus about two to four millimeters under the skin. They produce a brownish secretion that smells unpleasant to us humans. It mixes with the faeces and gives what is left behind a very individual smell, which serves to mark its territory.

However, the anal glands can only empty themselves if the dog excrement has the right consistency and the dog’s intestinal flora is healthy. Therefore, there are three main causes of blocked anal glands:

Too soft dog poop

If the dog has too soft a stool over a longer period of time, there is not enough pressure to express the anal glands. However, the secretion continues to be produced in the glands. The result: the secretion becomes viscous and the gland is clogged.

Too solid dog poo

If your dog’s stool is too hard over a longer period of time, this can also lead to problems. The ducts of the anal glands can become irritated, causing them to swell up. The secretion cannot drain off here either.

Acidic intestinal flora

If the large intestine is acidic, the anal glands are literally flooded with acids and toxins. The dog’s body often solves the problem itself by excreting more feces. Sometimes, however, he does not succeed: the anal secretion becomes firmer and clogs the gland.

The right treatment always depends on the reason why the glands are blocked. If the symptoms are alleviated neither by feed additives nor by ointments, you should consult a veterinarian. He will help you figure out how best to help your dog.

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