What’s That Smell?

Many pet owners are stumped the first time they notice the pungent, fishy odour coming from their pet. An itchy, stinky bum could be a symptom of anal gland disease. While dogs have the most problems with their anal glands, cats can have issues too.

What are Anal Glands?
Anal glands are small sacs located on each side of a dog/cat’s rectum. Their openings are located just inside the anus and are positioned at about 8 and 4 o’clock. They create a secretion that can range from being a thin liquid to a thick paste. They are believed to be scent-marking glands that mark the stool as they defecate. This foul-scented fluid is released every time they defecate. The liquid thickens when not released, and this hardened material can impact the glands and lead to inflammation and infections. The scent is hard to miss!

Some pet owners may think it is cute or funny when their dog scoots their bottom across the floor or think they are ‘cleaning’ themselves. This behaviour may be a sign that your pet has an anal gland problem that needs vet care. If your pet cannot empty the contents of the anal glands, they will need help to express them.

Signs Your Pet Has Anal Gland Problems

  • Sitting and scooting around on the ground
  • A red and swollen anal region
  • Licking or biting at the anal region
  • Uncomfortable sitting down
  • Blood or pus in the stool
  • Blood and pus on ground, bed, or carpet where your dog was sitting
  • Whimpering, straining, or pain when defecating

Preventing Anal Gland Issues in Dogs
Different issues can cause anal gland inflammation. You’ll need to work with your veterinarian to identify the underlying condition. Sometimes, diseases like hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and obesity can lead to issues.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce anal gland issues:

  • Add Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oils) to your dog’s diet. It can also help with skin inflammation and gland impaction.
  • Food sensitivities can also increase anal gland problems. One of our veterinarians can help you choose the right diet for your dog.
  • Add fiber to your dog’s diet. Good additions are canned pumpkin or a high fiber diet prescribed by one of our veterinarians.
  • Do you suspect your dog has an anal gland infection? Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Written by: Shelly Loree



Why Fear Free

There are a lot of pets that are not getting the veterinary care they should be due to fear, anxiety and stress (FAS).

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Last updated: September 29, 2021

Dear valued clients,

Given the current state of the pandemic in Alberta, we have made the decision to return to a closed-door protocol in an effort to do our best to help control the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of you and all our staff is our top priority so that we can continue to offer your pets the care they deserve. We ask for your patience and understanding while we navigate these challenging times together.

When you arrive for your appointment, please give us a call from your vehicle. We will ask a few questions before we start the appointment and ensure we have all of your information. We will then meet you and your pet at the door. For all appointments, we ask that you wait in your vehicle in the parking lot while your pet is being examined. The doctor will give you a call once your pet is in the clinic so we ask that you have your cell phone on at all times so there are no delays.

If you are picking up food or medication, give us a call and we will put your order in the bins outside the front Dog Entrance. Please note that you can purchase your food through our online store. Just head over to our website https://www.airdrievets.com/ and choose the online store tab at the top.

Thank you for your cooperation and for helping us all stay healthy. Please be considerate of our staff. We ask only for courtesy and kindness when working with our team as they continue to work tirelessly to provide the best level of care for your pet during these trying times.

Thank you for your continued trust in us.

- Your dedicated team at Airdrie Animal Health Centre