Everything Pet Owners Should Know About Anal Glands

If you have a pet, chances are that you know what animal feces smells like, and in fact, you may smell it when your dog just walks by. If you can smell fecal matter on your pup, you may think that your pet didn’t do a good job cleaning up, but the problem may actually lie in their anal glands. Often, the feces smell comes from blockages in the anal glands, not actual feces on your animal. Ensuring that your pet’s anal glands are clean and healthy is a very overlooked and sometimes uncomfortable part of being a pet owner. It may sound weird, but it is very important for every pet owner to understand the basics, potential problems, general care, and veterinary services relating to anal gland expression. Let’s discuss!

If you are worried or have specific concerns when it comes to anal gland care or expression, do not hesitate to let our dedicated staff know! Give Cloud Peak Vet a call at (307) 347-2781 or check out our website directly for more information. Let us know how we can improve your pet’s quality of life! 

The Basics

First and foremost, let’s move past the uncomfortable nature of discussion involving your animal’s rectum because we, an experienced veterinary clinic, do not want to talk about it any more than you do. However, this information is important to know, regardless of the species or breed in your care, so, let’s get down to brass tacks.

Anal glands are found in most common mammals, including humans! They serve a slightly different purpose between us and animals, specifically as animals’ anal glands are great for scent-marking. Regardless, these glands are the small sacs located on both sides of the anal wall, and function as lubrication for bowel movements. When it comes to animals, their glands, as mentioned, mark scent, claim territory, establish dominance, and signal reproductive readiness. With all this function, it is crucial for you to properly care for and maintain your animal’s anal glands. Let’s discuss proper care. 

Proper Care

Just like your pet’s ears or teeth, their anal glands require regular check-ups and cleanings. Because you can often tell based on smell when something is off with your pup’s rear, at-home check-ups are not as hands-on as they may sound. If something is off and you feel comfortable, you can try to gently express your animal’s glands, making sure to wear gloves and sanitize thoroughly. If you are not sure how to do it yourself, don’t! Improper expression can lead to further problems including pain, bleeding, and infection, so please ask a professional for advice if you want to express them on your own. Beyond actually checking the glands, feeding your animal high-fiber foods promotes good gut health and healthy bowel movements. If you are looking for care specific to your pet’s needs, seek a vet’s advice. 

The amount of care that you do at home is entirely dependent on your comfort level, so make the decision that best suits you and your furry friend. If you are looking to outsource this job, ask a trusted veterinary clinic to perform an initial care, give you tips, and give them their first cleaning. 

Common Problems

All animals, including us, can encounter problems big and small with their anal glands, but certain breeds are much more susceptible to these issues than others. For example, pets with a more sensitive digestive tract or a history of allergies may be more prone to blockages and infections. Regardless of how vulnerable your pet is, it is crucial that you have a basic understanding of the most common problems. Let’s discuss! 

One of the most prevalent anal gland problems is anal gland impaction. This condition is dependent on the glands failing to empty properly, leading to discomfort and swelling. When an animal’s anal glands are impacted, that means that the glands’ fluid thickens which makes it much more difficult to expel. When these glands cannot drain, swelling and discomfort occurs. Often, it stems from poor diet, low fiber, or obesity. If impacted glands are not promptly treated, they will lead to much worse problems in the future. 

Anal gland infections are another common issue that you should be familiar with. While the main purpose of anal glands is to expel, this emptying port allows for some bacteria to enter the glands and cause an infection. The bacteria can also latch onto skin tags, skin irritations, and injuries. Once the bacteria has entered the gland, your pet will experience swelling, pain, discomfort, and sometimes abscesses. If you notice your furry friend licking or biting their rear more than normal, it could be a sign they have an anal gland infection. 

Lastly, it is common for pet animals to suffer from chronic anal gland issues. This category is more of an umbrella term as there is a wide range of chronic problems that your pet could be dealing with. The most common issues are chronic anal gland impactions, infections, fistulas, and allergic reactions. If your pet is displaying these chronic problems, they may be indicative of underlying health problems that need to be addressed. 

If you are concerned about any of these common problems, reach out to your vet immediately! It is better to be safe than sorry, so contact our office immediately! If you want to learn about the less common symptoms of anal gland problems, check out this link

Canine Anal Gland Care - Cloud Peak Veterinary Clinic

Our Solutions

If your pet is experiencing frequent or severe anal gland issues, it might be time to see a reliable veterinarian to discuss potential treatment options and potential underlying issues. Depending on the severity of the problem, your vet may recommend antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, or even surgery to remove the glands entirely. Although this may seem like a drastic solution, it is important to note that removing the glands does not affect your pet’s ability to control their bowel movements and can prevent chronic problems in the future. Every pet deserves specialized care, so ensure your local vet knows exactly what your pet has been going through. 

Schedule an Exam Today!

Our Cloud Peak Clinic team knows that anal gland discussion and care are not the most glamorous or comfortable topic as a pet owner, but we appreciate you have made it this far! With proper knowledge and care, your furry buddy will stay clean, fresh, healthy, and happy. If you have any questions or concerns at all, reach out to our team ASAP!
With over a decade of experience, our Cloud Peak Clinic is more than qualified to provide your pet with any medical care they need. We’ve seen it all, so stop by our clinic and we’ll get your furry friend feeling better (and less stinky!) to go back home to you. Our address is listed on our website, but if you cannot make it over to us, call us at (307) 347-2781, and we would be more than happy to help!



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