What are anal glands? There are two anal glands in dogs which are located on each side of the anus. They are like a skunk’s scent glands. The fluid has a strong pungent odor. How to express dog glands? You can find the opening of the anal sacs by pressing down on the skin of the lower part of the anus. If you apply pressure directly below the openings, fluid can be expressed. A dog anal gland infection is common in small breed dogs. The sacs are normally expressed when your pet exercises vigorously or moves its bowels. An impaction or infection in a dog can occur, if the secretions in the anal sacs are not emptied by exercise or defecation. You may notice your dog licking the anus area and scooting along the ground. Symptoms of anal infection in dogs include an anus that is swollen, red and painful. If the abscess ruptures, pus or blood tinged fluid may drain from the opening. The anal area can develop irritation from diarrhea, since the fluid is acidic and can scald the anus.
Canine anal gland disorders are caused by eating a high fiber and carbohydrate diet. Feeding a meat based diet created a harder stool and can eliminate the problem.
Regular exercise is very important since dogs express the anal sac while running.
Frequent expressing of the sacs by your vet will lessen the chances of anal infections or abscesses developing. Flea control will prevent tapeworms.
Senior dogs or dogs over eight years of age commonly develop slow growing nodules around the anal area called perianal adenomas. Sometimes they can ulcerate and look red, but are rarely malignant. The secretions are liquid and brownish. Sometimes they are thick, yellow or creamy looking. Perianal adenomas are best treated by surgery.
Radiation therapy is an alternative method and is successful. Hormone therapy is not a very successful treatment. The nodule will get larger when the therapy is stopped. A biopsy should be done to confirm that the mass is benign. Castration seems to reduce the recurrence rate and to restrict new nodule growth.
It is not necessary to express the dog glands, unless there is a medical reason to do so. Dogs that have recurrent anal gland infections need to have their glands removed.