Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. His love of dogs and passion for natural healing and nutrition led him to writing, teaching and helping people create health naturally, without drugs, chemicals and processed food. There is a general misperception that a dog's anal glands should be manually emptied on a regular basis. In fact, expressing the glands too often may lead to decreased tone, delayed emptying and anal gland disease.
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This article explains what they are, and how to treat anal gland problems in dogs. Anal glands are not technically glands, in fact; they are small sacs filled with glandular cells that produce a potent yellow fluid consisting of both oils and sweat. This fluid flows through two small tubes in the dog's body that open on either side of the anus. The obstruction, often referred to as anal gland problems in dogs, means that the liquid inside of the sacs builds up and ultimately can result in infection, and rupture of the sacs themselves.
To help the anal glands to function properly, dogs need to consume the right amounts of fiber. Sadly, due to a lack of good fiber in the average canine diet, many dogs have to have their anal glands expressed manually … meaning the vet or groomer squeezes them by hand to get the fluid out. You know your dog marks his or her — girls do it too! Dogs have two small glands on either side of the anus. These glands fill up with a fluid that has a scent exclusive to each dog.
These odors tell dogs lots of things about one another, such as what their mood is like, how healthy they are, and whether they are stressed. Anal glands may also be a leftover evolutionary tactic, since animals may have sprayed secretions at offending parties just like skunks do today. If your dog scoots across your favorite carpet , they may have an itchy rump, or they may be having an anal gland issue. If your dog spends an excessive amount of time licking her rump area, she may be sending a signal that the area is irritated and should be checked out at the pet clinic. Your groomer can handle expelling anal glands, or you can learn to do it at home without too much trouble.