Tip of the Month

3/23/2012 The Puppy Boot Scoot Boogie (What You Need to Know About Canine Anal Glands)

At one time or another, you have probably seen your dog scooting his bottom on the floor, or you might have smelled a bad odor coming from your pet. Your first thought might be that the dog may have worms. Even though scooting their rear end on the floor may be a sign of worms, dogs engage in this behavior for a number of reasons.

This is often an unpleasant topic, but it is a very important one. Many pet owners do not know about their dog’s physiology. Pet owners should be aware that dogs have small glands near the anus commonly called, “anal glands”. During a dog’s daily life, these glands perform their primary function, which is to scent the feces for marking territory. Often times, the anal glands become clogged (or full), which can be very bothersome and in most cases, cause irritation to the dog’s rear end. The unpleasant feeling encourages reactions, including the scooting behavior.

Why do the clogged anal glands cause a dog to scoot?

In addition to scooting, some clues indicating clogged anal glands may include the dog biting or chewing at his backside. The dog is trying to squeeze the anal gland and release the fluid clogged inside. This process is called “expressing” the gland. Fortunately, most dogs are able to “express” the gland themselves.

However, there are some dogs that just cannot unclog these glands no matter how much they try. A number of small breeds tend to have this problem. The glands become full and irritate the dog’s rear end. Dogs sometimes chew so bad that they may chew their hair off in the process. You can bathe your dog to hide the smell, but this will only be a temporary fix and it will not resolve the underlying problem.

Constant scooting could irritate the dog’s rear end and cause him pain and suffering.

Unless you are experienced, you do not want to try “expressing” your dog’s anal glands yourself. If you see the symptoms mentioned above, what can you do? Take the dog to your favorite dog groomer and be sure to inform the groomer of the symptoms you have noticed. You can request that they express the glands. There are some groomers who will do this for a small fee. In fact, many pet owners have this done as a routine part of the grooming experience. Your pet will come home looking and smelling great, in addition to having avoided a potential health problem!

Be aware that groomers are only able to express the glands externally by accessing the part of the gland outside of the dog’s body. If the groomer is not able to express the glands, they will inform you. You would then need to take your dog to a veterinarian where they are able to express the gland internally at the vet’s clinic.

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