These two little pouches are inside the rectum of the dog, with one on the left and one on the right.  I typically share articles about circumstances that I have a good bit of experience with, and unfortunately, anal gland problems in dogs is one of them.Not a pretty topic, but nonetheless it’s a big problem for many dog owners.

What’s Their Purpose?

These little sacs contain a brown fluid with a very strong scent that is individual to the dog.  Believe it or not, this scent is comparable to a human’s fingerprint.

If you’ve ever wondered why dogs routinely sniff each others behinds, it’s because of this individual scent. A dog can learn a lot about another dog through his particular scent.

When Anal Glands Become a Problem

When dog’s relieve themselves by either urinating or defecating, it places pressure on the glands forcing the liquid to expel. However, many dogs develop problems with the glands causing the sacs to not empty at all on their own.

But, there are some great products available like this one that support natural emptying of the glands.  We’ve tried several natural products on the market, and the one that seemed to work best for our own dogs was Glandex.  In fact, we currently using it for Abby. It has worked so well that we had to cut back the dosage to using it when needed vs daily.

Here’s the most common reasons why your dog may be having difficulty with his glands:

    1. Poor diet and/or low quality food have a huge impact
    2. Not enough exercise
    3. Obesity
    4. Diarrhea and soft stool doesn’t apply pressure to the glands-> a dog’s stool should be firm placing enough pressure on the glands to empty on their own. Diet and allergies are contributing factors with soft stool issues.
    5. Allergies also play a huge role in reoccurring gland problems.  For many of our own dog’s, the ones that had allergies, whether food related, environmental or both, always had issues with their glands.
    6. If your dog becomes constipated, this can also lead to problems. Don’t make your dog hold his bowel movements or urine for too long, which can both lead to even bigger health concerns.

What Are The Symptoms Related To Full or Impacted Glands

  1. Scooting on rear
  2. Licking back end a lot
  3. A strong stinky smell
  4. Dog gets up from an either sitting or laying position and immediately sniffs the area
  5. Quick jerking and biting at his rear end

It’s a Bad Idea to Manually Empty the Glands on a Regular Basis

Your veterinarian, vet tech or groomer will express the glands for you as often as needed. However,  you should NEVER have the sacs routinely expressed regardless of what anyone tells you.  It not only becomes extremely painful for the dog, but the glands WILL NOT return to full function on their own when they are being emptied unnaturally.

So, remember to TELL YOUR DOG’S GROOMER NOT TO EMPTY THE GLANDS.  Rely on a natural approach such as this one and allow the glands to return to full function on their own.

Full or impacted anal glands are very uncomfortable for your dog. Make it a priority to treat the problem, instead of just trying to find a solution.

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, check out my article here on how to treat this condition.

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Showing 18 comments
  • Sharon Smith
    Reply

    My vet has been emptying my maltese anal glands manually for about a year. It is so painful for him to have them emptied and there is blood. He has to take steroid eye drops every day of his life from losing one eye to glaucoma and now trying to save the other eye. He is in excellent health other than his anal gland problem. I cook for him everyday a diet the vet made up for him, consisting of potato, chicken, pumpkin, olive oil, salt, Fortiflora probiotic, Barlean’s fish oil omega-3 (2) a day. Catalyn 2160 and Milk Thisle to detox his liver. He is 15 years old but plays like a puppy. He screams in so much pain when I have to hold him for the vet to empty the glands. Vet said he can not be put under to remove glands. Now she wants me to switch food over to Hypo-Allergenic Canned Dog Food Royal Cannine Rabbit. I am at my wits end. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Sharon:

      I’m very sorry to hear about your little old boy’s anal glands. It’s great that your cooking for him, but potato isn’t really something he needs in his diet. He also needs variety and should never eat the same thing daily. I recommend looking into my cookbook and feeding him any of the recipes in the book regardless of which illness the recipe falls under. You can read more about it here. It’s an instant download: Cookbook – Home Cooking for Sick Dogs

      You mentioned his eye issues. This is a supplement that I definitely think you should look into for his vision health Sharon. It works well! Ocu Glo for Dogs

      Last, I definitely would NOT have the vet empty his glands again. You left your comment on the page here about Glandex. This product works very, very well for emptying the glands. I highly recommend it. Whatever you do. DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO REMOVE THE GLANDS. This is a very, very dangerous surgery. Many dogs die. I know of one.

      I would also include Bentonite Clay for him daily for life to detox his kidneys and liver. You can continue the milk thistle if you want. The clay will help with many things. It MUST be wet to be activated. So it should be added to his we food with a plastic spoon and mixed. DO NOT USE A METAL SPOON OR BOWL TO FEED HIM HIS MEAL WITH THE CLAY. The clay will absorb the metal and you don’t want this going back into his body. The clay will pull out toxins. He would get a 1/2 tsp daily. If you don’t want to mix it with his food, you can add a little water to it to make a liquidy paste and use a syringe to give it to him. You can also apply a little paste to his gums for any problems he has with his teeth. You can clean his teeth with the clay by slightly dampening a piece of gauze and dip in the dry clay and clean his teeth. This is the brand I recommend: Earths Natural Clay

      I would NEVER use Royal Canine of any kind!

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

  • jaz
    Reply

    hello, my dog has bumps on his anus the dr. treated with antibiotics and diet change but he is still having problems (this has been going on 4 over 2 months). I think these are other anal glands, not the big ones at 4 and 8…help!

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Jaz:

      I’m sorry to hear about your dog. What diet was your dog on that didn’t help? Do you include any supplements? What is he eating now? Does he have any other skin issues? When was he last vaccinated and do you use chemical flea and tick products.

      Not sure what you mean when you say “I think these are other anal glands, not the big ones at 4 and 8”? They only have two anal glands; one on each side Jaz.

      Janie

      • jaz
        Reply

        He had bravecto months ago but we do not have any chemicals around our home or on our grass… (we love our weeds). He was eating blue dog food and that seems to be when problems started so we went to rice and chicken breasts…now we are adding venison to start a allergy food trial… his bumps are on the outside of his anus and I don’t know if they are associated with the main ones as I think I read there are other glands as well? We have spent a bunch on dr.s and no one really has any answers. They are testing for cancer cells and are looking at blood work… Thanks Janie

        • janie
          Reply

          Hi Jaz:

          Here at yourolddog, we do not recommend any chemical products like Bravecto ever be used on your dog. We know and have seen the side effects of these chemicals being directly injected and fed to dogs and cats. Don’t assume that “months ago” means Bravecto didn’t cause the problem. Dogs that are vaccinated can see problems 4 months down the road and the same goes here.

          Please check out this link on Facebook about Bravecto: https://www.facebook.com/groups/411371212394679/ Once there, scroll down to the Skin & Coat thread.

          First thing I would recommend for him is to detox him with Natural Clay (it is tasteless and odorless) and you add it to his food. It will remove any toxins from the blood, liver and kidneys. This is the only brand I recommend: Earths Natural Clay You’ll also find instructions there. Feed this away from other supplements since they will bind to the clay and be eliminated from the body.

          I would also feed a good multivitamin daily to help with allergies and general maintenance. You can see ours here which include our Daily Multi and Nuvet: https://yourolddog.com/product-category/skin-allergies/
          Our customers tell us that our Daily Multi is the best on the market, but Nuvet is also very good.

          I would start him on a good diet that includes either raw or some raw and a food such as this dehydrated formula: Only Natural Pet Dog Food

          You have to build his immune system and stay away from chemical flea and tick products as well as vaccines. Educate yourself about the rabies vaccine and the others. Many good holistic vets believe that t
          they are all causing disease and killing our animals and younger and younger ages. Allergies and skin problems are rampant for our pets. Use TripleSure for flea and tick. I’ve been using it for ten years now. Very good.

          I will also forward this to you privately in an email. I hope this helps.

          Janie

  • Poppy
    Reply

    Strange title. You are only taking about prevention. Misleading.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Poppy:

      I’m not quite sure why you think the title is misleading when I clearly share a product in the article with several links pointing to the product. This product is not only for prevention, it is to help treat glands that won’t empty on their own.

      What more are you looking for?

      Janie

  • Ron
    Reply

    My 12 year old boxer mix anal gland started to stink, he was not scooting or biting but was leaving some marks in his bedding. I used the pshillum husk and bone broth gel to tighten up his stoll, seems to be helping I used to wet his food.

    I can not find anything on the web that states the dogs system will fix itself, and if I found such an article hopefully I could find out how long this may take and other interesting facts. BESIDES THE ANAL GLANDS ARE BY THE….. AND HE MAY BITE AND SCOOT. Too many of articles and sales products not enough before, during and after knowledge.

    Please someone inpart this knowledge I speak of in as much detail as you can.

    Thanx

    Ron

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Ron:

      A lot of the anal gland issues are caused by diet and it sounds like you’re feeding kibble? Another big problem is allergies which can be both environmental or food related. The dog’s system won’t fix itself if the problem itself isn’t addressed.

      Janie

  • Julie
    Reply

    Hi and thanks for this great site.
    Question: Can you feel from the outside with thumb and forefinger whether the anal glands are full or not?

    • admin
      Reply

      Hi Julie:
      You’re welcome and I’m glad that you like the site. You almost have to have the forefinger inside at 10 or 2 positions and your thumb on the outside in order to really feel if the glands are full.

      They are like little grapes when full and raisins when they are not. I hope this helped.

      Janie

  • Candi
    Reply

    I have a 15 year old black lab. I tried to express the anal glands which I’ve done in the past and his tail would usually go back up. Now it continues to stay down like a horse. Is there something else I can try before going to the vet?

    • admin
      Reply

      Hello:
      You can try placing a VERY WARM, but not scalding (as hot as he will tolerate) compress on his anal area for 5 minutes 3 x day making sure that the compress stays warm. If interested, you can also consider this natural approach from Native Remedies that helps the dog to eliminate the glands on his own. You can read more about it at this link: Helps dogs to naturally empty their anal glands.

      I hope this helps.
      Janie

  • Jerome
    Reply

    When they have this problem is incontinence’s normal? My dog recently had his glands emptied and is now leaving droppings…

    • admin
      Reply

      Hi Jerome:
      I haven’t heard of urinary incontinence due to impacted glands. Fecal incontinence might be possible if the the glands are severely impacted and your dog loses feeling – but I don’t think that happens too often.

      If the droppings are brown in nature, it very well could be that the glands are continuing to empty if the the person who emptied them – didn’t get it all.

      Janie 😮

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