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Anal Gland in the Dog: Function and Inflammation

Anal glands are important for communication among conspecifics because they excrete the smell. But the anal glands cause problems for some fur-noses: they itch and pain due to inflammation. When the dog’s anal glands are no longer working properly, quick action is required. Express it yourself or go to the vet? We clarify.

Where are the Anal Glands in the Dog?

Both male and female dogs have anal glands. They are located just under the skin and have openings in the intestines. The glands lie in pairs below the anus, each at 8 and 4 o’clock.

What Are the Anal Glands Used For?

The anal glands in dogs are there to give the excrement feces an individual scent mark. This is how dogs – and also cats – mark their territory. When greeting the conspecifics, the rear is often sniffed. The secretion in the anal glands gives every dog an unmistakable smell. The dogs recognize each other by their scent. For humans, however, the secretion has a very unpleasant fishy odor.

But the anal glands can do even more: The secretion that the dog excretes with the feces makes it easier for him to dispose of too-hard feces more painlessly. A true all-rounder, the anal glands. However, they are usually only noticed by the dog owner when they are no longer intact.

Blockage or Inflammation of the Anal Pouches?

Small breeds of dogs in particular have a tendency to get blocked or inflamed anal glands. But there can also be other reasons. A stool that is too soft is one of the most common causes of blockage and inflammation of the anal glands. Because with diarrhea there is insufficient pressure – as a result, the anal glands do not empty completely. The remaining secretion then assumes a firm consistency in the excretory ducts and so a blockage begins. A blockage of the anal glands is usually the preliminary stage of inflammation. It is much more painful for the dog and requires more complex treatment.

Symptoms of a blockage of the anal glands

So-called sledding can be a sign of full anal glands in dogs. Since the disease makes it itchy, the dog tries to sit on its rear end and find abrasion on the floor. Many affected dogs have a tendency to lick their anus frequently.

Anal gland obstruction: treatment

Clogged anal glands need to be freed quickly. Waiting for an improvement makes no sense in this case, but makes the condition worse. The vet will take care of the treatment and use their hands to empty the dog’s clogged anal glands. Only professional treatment – whether from the vet or from an experienced dog owner – ensures that the anal glands do not become inflamed when emptying.

Symptoms of inflammation of the anal glands

Inflammation is very painful for your four-legged friend. Therefore, the alarm bells should ring for the owner if there is a blockage. Weaning off feces causes the dog increasingly extreme pain. It can happen that the dog presses several times, but the process is unsuccessful. Depending on the progress of the inflammation, the dog is no longer ready to sit down. In general, the fur nose shows less pleasure in movement. Externally, redness and swelling can also appear. In the worst case, purulent abscesses occur. A fever is also possible due to an inflamed anal gland.

Treatment of inflamed anal glands in dogs

After emptying the anal bags, there are several treatment options: The anal glands are rinsed. Ointments help soothe the reddened area. Sometimes tablets are needed, in severe cases antibiotics. If a collection of pus (abscess) has formed, it may have to be treated surgically. In particularly serious cases, it is even necessary to remove the anal glands.

Expressing the Anal Glands: Yourself or at the Vet?

Some dog owners have a knack for this matter. If someone decides to express the emptying of the anal chisel themselves with gentle movements, there are two important prerequisites: First, the dog owner should be shown the correct technique by the vet or animal health practitioner. Experienced dog owners can only express themselves if the anal glands are slightly clogged. As soon as the glands are inflamed or there are complications, the veterinarian must take over the treatment immediately. Unsafe dog owners should see a vet if they suspect a blocked anal gland. Mistakes can easily be made and injuries can result. If only one anal pouch needs to be emptied, the cost of expressing it is five to ten euros.

Always Having Problems With the Anal Glands?

If the dog often suffers from diarrhea and problems with the anal glands, it is advisable to first have a check-up whether there is an allergy or food intolerance. The feed should only be changed step by step in order to avoid diarrhea in the beginning. If a dog is barked, it is generally less prone to constipation. In addition, adding bone powder to the feed can help create firmer droppings.

An over-acidification of the intestinal flora often leads to a blockage of the anal glands in dogs. Special rehabilitation cures can help here, which dog owners can best discuss with the veterinarian or animal healer.

Last but not least, there are alternative remedies as well. Dog homeopathy can also help with blocked anal glands. In addition to the usual treatment, Bach flowers can promote the health of the intestines in some fur noses.

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