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Anal Gland Care: An Important Dog Grooming Service

Posted by Awesome Doggies

As a dog owner, you probably already know the importance of having your dog regularly groomed. Besides making your dog more attractive, dog grooming also promotes good health. However, you probably don’t think much at all about anal gland care until there’s a problem. If you have a dog, here’s what you need to know about your pet’s anal glands, along with some common symptoms for impacted glands.

What Are the Anal Glands?

Your dog has two anal glands. To find them, look just below the anus of your pet. You’ll see one gland located at about “five o’clock” and the other one situated at approximately “seven o’clock.” Inside each small gland is a brown, smelly liquid.

It’s this fluid that plays a major part in your dog marking scents. Interestingly, this stinky liquid can also inform other canines about certain facts regarding your dog. For example, it can serve as a “calling card,” revealing a dog’s approximate age, gender and health status.   

Under normal conditions, the gland only releases a small quantity of fluid when your dog poops. Problems occur when dogs can’t release this fluid naturally. As a result, the sacs that hold the fluid can cause your pet to suffer from painful bowel movements, infection and discomfort. In some rare cases, the sacs can even rupture.

Common Warnings Signs of Anal Gland Problems

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms suggesting your dog is struggling with impacted anal glands.

  • The first clue is seeing your dog scoot on the floor or grass.
  • Sometimes a dog with this problem chases its tail or has a hard time when standing or sitting.
  • Another sign can be your dog constantly licking or chewing near its rectum area.
  • Red skin around your dog’s anus can suggest something is wrong. You may even notice pus or blood draining from the anus, which can signify infection.
  • Mushy, soft stools can be a red light.
  • Detecting a fishy or foul odor, coming from the rear of your pet, is a common indication of this issue.
  • While normal gland fluid has a tan or yellowish color and is thin and watery, fluid from an impacted gland looks gray, brown and thick.

Considerations and Warnings

  • Although anal gland issues can affect all sizes of dogs, small and medium-sized breeds tend to be more at risk.
  • Overweight and obese dogs are more susceptible to impacted anal glands because they have too much fat tissue in their anal area. This condition hinders their glands from being emptied correctly.
  • Often, dogs that have spent a lot of time in animal shelters have more problems with their anal glands.
  • Feeding your pet a diet that lacks sufficient fiber can lead to impacted anal glands. Additionally, don’t feed your dog table scraps as this can cause soft stools.
  • Your dog’s anal glands should be able to work naturally under regular circumstances. It’s actually better to not routinely have its glands expressed if you don’t note any problems.
  • In severe cases, a dog’s anal glands may need to be removed by a procedure known as an anal sacculectomy.
  • Ignoring the problem of impacted anal glands not only causes discomfort in your dog. It can also lead to anal glands rupturing.
  • Don’t try to express your dog’s anal glands on your own.
  • Consult your vet for internal anal gland expression.

Using a Professional Pet Groomer

For external anal gland expression, you can use a professional pet groomer. If external expression methods don't get the job done, then it's a good idea to take your pet to the vet. Vets can perform a more invasive procedure that puts greater pressure on the glands, and are also equipped to deal with the medical consequences if an impacted gland should rupture.

At Awesome Doggies, we only perform the external method of gland expression. And we don't recommend expressing the glands at all unless you know your dog needs some help in this area. After all, it's not comfortable for the doggies to have the glands expressed manually, so why should they have to go through that if Mother Nature is taking care of things just fine all by herself? 

At Awesome Doggies we serve busy pet owners in the greater San Diego area by bringing our mobile grooming salon to their homes. Please contact us if you'd like to learn more about our wide range of mobile grooming services.
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