Anal Gland Problems in Dogs – Things You Should Know

If you’ve found that your doggo releases a foul-smelling fluid upon being scared, stressed or shocked, you may misunderstand their behavior to be loose bowels, but in reality, it means they’re expressing their anal glands.

Dogs have two small oval-shaped glands on each side of their anus. These glands produce a fluid with a strong, pungent and fishy odor which is unique to each dog. A small amount of this fluid when released is believed to be for marking their territory. But most dogs release this fluid unwillingly when they face a stressful or fearful situation.

Several dogs will live their life without any issues with their anal glands. However, sometimes these glands may become full, infected or impacted. When signs of anal gland issues are observed, dog parents should visit their vet.

Signs of Anal Gland Issues

  • Blood or pus in the stool or near the anus
  • Difficulty or straining while defecating
  • Excessive itching or licking the anal area
  • Scooting the rear end of the body along the floor or lawn


There are certain factors that may increase the chances of a dog developing abscessed, infected or impacted anal glands. These are:

  • Inadequate dietary fiber
  • Obesity
  • Chronic dermatitis
  • Allergies
  • Chronic soft stool

It’s also observed that anal gland problems are more common in smaller breeds; however, no breed is safe from this problem.

Some of these cause can be removed by the right supplement. Also, Glandex by K9 Rocks is especially made for handling anal glands on dogs and is very effective.

Treatment and Prevention

The first thing to do when your pup shows signs of anal gland problems is to take them to your vet. Your vet may manually express the glands and may prescribe a supplement or antibiotic if an infection is an underlying cause.

For the prevention of the issue, discuss a diet plan for your pooch with your veterinarian. They may suggest to include fish oil and increase dietary fiber in your dog’s diet. Common suggestions by vets include raw or cooked pumpkin, canned pumpkin and unsalted pumpkin seeds. Make sure by reading the label that the canned pumpkin doesn’t contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs.

Purpose of Anal Sac

Although the exact purpose of anal glands is not known, there’re a few theories regarding their use. One of the theories propose that their secretion acts as a territorial scent marker. Another theory says that it acts as a lubricant to help the dog pass hard stool. The fluid is excreted also when the doggie has a bowel movement. Since its odor is unique to the dog, it tells other dogs about dog’s sex, approximate age and health.

If your dog is biting their butt or scooting over the ground, they’re trying to relieve the discomfort of an impacted anal gland. In that case, you should take them to the vet who would manually express the glands, and thus comfort your four-legged friend.