How to spot if your dog has blocked anal glands

Your dog’s anal glands produce a particularly thick, foul smelling, oily liquid - used for identification and territory marking. This is the reason dogs smell others' bottoms when they meet.

Dogs’ anal glands tend to fill up if they’re passing soft poos, as these don’t apply the pressure of firmer poos that helps release the liquid from the glands.

What are the signs of anal gland problems?

  • Dragging or ‘scooting’ their rear-ends along the ground
  • Licking or biting around their anal area
  • Chasing their tail
  • Sitting uncomfortably
  • Foul smelling ‘fishy’ odour

How are blocked anal gland treated?

A vet or vet nurse will squeeze the anal glands to release the liquid. This must be done by a qualified person, you can cause damage and pain to your dog if you try to do it yourself.

In some cases, you may just need to change your dog’s diet so they do firmer poos.

How do I avoid the problem reoccurring?

Your dog may require regular treatment if it continues to reoccur. If their anal glands become infected, they may need a course of antibiotics.

Severe cases may require anal gland infusion, flushing or even removal. It’s a good idea to discuss costs with your vet before starting any treatment.

If you’re thinking of adopting a dog with anal gland problems

Make sure you review the clinical history of your new dog and ask for more details on how the condition has been treated. You’ll need to sign a disclaimer to confirm you’ve been made aware of the condition. Any dog who’s had treatment is likely to have pet insurance exclusions, so it’s worth discussing potential on-going costs with your vet.

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