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Anal glands of dogs - Everything you need to know

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Its dog drags the culete on the ground? Does your cat lick this modest area too often? Behind this canine or feline gesture, often considered comical, there may, however, be a health problem. Those responsible are small sacks placed in the rear area of ​​our dogs and cats: they are called anal glands. This article explains what they are and where are the important anal glands of dogs and cats, how to detect when there is a problem in this area and how to empty these bags at home or with the help of the veterinarian.

Anal glands of the dog: what are they and where are they?

Does your dog drag the culete on the ground? Behind this canine behavior, often taken unfairly in a funny way, there may be a serious health problem. And its origin is in the so-called anal glands of the animal.

"The anal sacs are two small glands located inside the anus of dogs and cats, on both sides of it, responsible for releasing a substance similar to oil and very fragrant," explains veterinarian Wendy Brooks, in a study published in the scientific journal 'Veterinary Partner'.

These eloquent rear effluviums are used by dogs and felines to communicate: they are potent olfactory signals that serve to involve other dogs that a dog is ready to mate, if a dog is afraid or if, on the contrary, it feels like to play.

But do you know how to locate these important glands? This expressive animation will help you learn where your dog or cat's anal glands are. You just need to double click on the drawing.

Anal glands of the dog or cat: when are there problems?

Most animals are able to empty their anal sacks alone. "However, many of our domestic dogs and cats have lost this ability, so the liquid is blocked and can impede the hole, causing a major health problem," adds the veterinarian.

The poor or unbalanced diet of our furry friends is often behind these problems, which include infections and, in the worst case, rupture of the sacs. If you detect blood in the area, it is important to go to the veterinarian urgently.

Dogs that are not able to empty the glands drag their culete along the ground, hoping that this movement will help them unload them. The dogs and cats with this problem, in addition, will lick their culete insistently or chase their tail to achieve it regularly.

Other dogs with clogged anal glands are uncomfortable, walk with their tails down, cover the area and can even refuse to walk, as a result of discomfort.

Empty the dog's anal glands

A dog that drags its anus on the floor often may need help emptying its glands. The easiest way is to go to the veterinarian: emptying the dog's back sacks can be painful for the animal, so professional hands will always be valuable assistance.

If one decides to try to empty the dog's anal glands at home, the first step is advise and learn well from your veterinarian before venturing.

The steps to empty the dog's anal glands at home are as follows:

  • Work only if the dog, the cat and we are calm and confident.
  • Locate the anal glands of the dog. If we compare the anal opening with a clock of hands, these are located around five and seven hours.
  • Put on latex gloves.
  • The emptying of the glands can be done externally, only possible when the liquid is not very thick: to do this, we will squeeze both sides of the anal area, being careful to place a handkerchief that collects the liquid, since it can shoot out.
  • The internal emptying process is as follows (only advisable in difficult cases and under veterinary supervision): we place a lubricant and press the glands firmly but delicately, between the thumb and forefinger. Repeat with the opposite gland.
  • Some of the liquid may remain in the opening. Experts recommend cleaning it gently, but do not repeat the emptying process (it can be painful).
  • Finally: reward your furry friend: caresses and homemade cookies for dogs are a great help.

In this video you can see, step by step, how the emptying process is.

What exactly are the anal glands?

In the anatomy of dogs and cats we find the anal glands: they are located on both sides of the anus and are about the size of a marble. The main function of the anal glands is store a lubricating substance They use at the time of emptying or defecating for a better deposition.

The appearance of the liquid is usually yellowish or even brown, if you have found traces in your dog's bed or on the floor your dog probably suffers from an excess of accumulated liquid.

In addition to the function that we have commented previously, the anal glands provide each dog with a unique identity, it is for this reason that dogs usually sniff their asses: they identify each other by the smell itself.

What consequences can it have not to empty the anal glands?

Although dogs usually empty the anal glands alone, it may happen that they have difficulties for this, such as age, pregnancy or other circumstances. If you decide not to do anything about it and your dog suffers from not being able to empty his glands, he can reach lead to a health problem how can it be:

  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Inconvenience
  • Bad smell
  • Abscess
  • Cysts
  • Adenoma
  • Adenocarcinoma

What should you do to empty your dog's anal glands?

Although your dog does not secrete any type of liquid at home, it does not mean that it does not have a significant accumulation of fluid. For this we have two options if we do not want to do it ourselves: go to the vet or canine hairdresser. Both specialists are accustomed to carrying out this task and will undoubtedly know how they should act.

But if you prefer to carry out this task yourself, we recommend that you place yourself on the terrace and wrap your hands in a pair of gloves. Let's start by identifying them:

How to empty the dog's glands?

Once we know where the glands are, we are ready to start. You must get hold of a gauze that you will place right in the anus so that the secretion (which can sometimes come out strongly) does not impact your face or clothes.

We advise you to also help yourself from another person to hold the dog because the natural tendency is to try to sit down when you start the process. Remember that it can produce a strong smell.

Massage your dog's ass by gently pressing until you find the glands and once you have them identified, increase the pressure for the liquid to come out by the year. And that's it!

Frequency of gland emptying

We must pay attention to those dogs that have problems of accumulation of fluids in their anal glands such as elderly dogs as otherwise we can cause serious problems mentioned above. The frequency of emptying anal glands should be done once a month approximately, always depending on the accumulation of liquid suffered by the dog.

This article is purely informative, at ExpertAnimal.com we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Anal glands of dogs - Everything you need to know, we recommend that you enter our Prevention section.

What are the anal glands and what are they for?

All dogs and cats have these glands in their anus, one on each side of the anus. At first glance they cannot be appreciated, but if we feel a little, we can see how there is a kind of "little ball" on each side of the anus. They are about the size of a chickpea, although obviously the size of the dog also influences a lot, the bigger the dog is, the bigger the size of its glands.

These glands have inside a dark yellowish liquid that smells really bad, like rotten eggs or even worse. The main function of these glands is to lubricate the dog's anus when it defecates, also leaving a peculiar extra smell, thanks to this natural liquid / lubricant.

The bad smell of this liquid is so peculiar that each dog has its own, it is how its fingerprint. When a dog meets another, usually the first thing he does is smell his ass ... a way to know how the liquid in your anal glands smells, to know if you recognize this dog for its feces curious right? later they usually smell their intimate parts, to be recognized by the urine. They mainly use smell, we must remember it.

When a dog does not empty its glands naturally, we must do it manually since the inflammation of these glands can cause a lot of pain. Also if it is not solved, it can lead to abscesses, infections, etc ... When a dog drags its ass on the floorIt is usually due to itching in your anus, produced by the anal glands or by parasites.

How should I empty my dog's anal glands?

The first thing you should know is that if you have no experience or do not dare with it, you can go to a veterinarian. They are used to doing this and can show you how to do it, so that in the future you do it for yourself at home.

When dogs do not empty their glands naturally, it is necessary to empty them manually once a month. Not every month will have the same need and it is possible that over time they begin to empty them naturally again.

The steps to empty the dog's anal glands are:

  • Put on thin latex gloves, to work with hygiene but with good touch.
  • Ask another person for help, to hold the dog while emptying.
  • Calm down the dog and lift its tail, normally they are not allowed to fiddle in the ass ...
  • Locate (palpate) the anal glands, without squeezing them or anything, just locating them.
  • Gently, stretch some of them out while you climb. It is the way to push the liquid they contain into the anus so that it leaves and empties.
  • The liquid can come out under pressure, do not get right in front. The liquid will be dark yellowish with a very unpleasant smell, it is normal.
  • It is advisable to use some gauze to prevent the liquid from being shot everywhere.

As we all know, it is much better to see how it is done to learn how to do it, so here is a video (it is in English, but just look at how it does and how the liquid comes out).

If our dog complains, we may be hurting him by tightening too much or not doing well. If it hurts a lot because you have the inflamed area, perhaps the best option is that the first time a veterinarian and the others do it, if necessary (remember, only once a month).

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