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