The Dog Who Scoots! The Dog Anal Glands Guide

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By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: February 1, 2018

The Dog Who Scoots! The Dog Anal Glands GuideDoes your dog have an itchy butt? Constantly rubbing their bum on the ground or trying to stretch and bite the itch away? Your first thought may be that your dog has worms, but that may not be the case. It could be as simple as dog anal glands causing all the problems.

Dog Anal Glands: What is Wrong with My Dog’s Butt?

Small dog on a stony surface showing dog anal

If your dog is scooting about then they may have a problem with their anal glands. Anal gland disease or infections are common in dogs and can be due to hard stools, the wrong sort of diet, or more pressing issues.

The good thing is that it is treatable, and throughout this article, we are going to give you all the information you need regarding dog anal gland problems and how to treat them.

Anatomy 101! What are Dog Anal Glands?

Dog Anal glands, or commonly known as anal sacs, are small pouches that are located between the external and internal anal sphincter.

To simplify it, they are located on either side of the anus. The job of anal sacs is to expel the liquid inside of them when the dog defecates. The secreted substance is usually brown in color and can have a foul smell due to them being scent gland.

When a dog doesn’t expel their anal sacs, then they can develop anal gland impaction. The fluid inside the anal sacs thicken, which makes it harder for anal gland secretion to occur.

Your dog may begin to scooting or cowering their tail between their legs. If the anal gland doesn’t expel itself, then your dog’s anal sac can become inflamed or infected. The gland can even turn into an abscess if left untreated.

Infected Anal Glands in Dog? Why Do Dogs Get Anal Gland Issues?

If your dog is suffering from anal gland problems, then you should consult your local veterinarian immediately. If the problem isn’t resolved, your dog can suffer from anal gland infections which can be very painful.

Anal sac impaction can occur for the simple reason that you are not expelling the fluid on a regular basis, however, there can also be more pressing matter. These can include

Anal Gland: Dog Inflammation

Sometimes, your dog’s stool may be a bit hard for them to push out. This can cause an inflammatory response in the dog anal glands. They will probably start performing the famous ‘dog scoot’ where they try to scratch their bum on the ground. Try to prevent them from doing this as they can cut the infected gland and potentially cause an abscess.

Anal Gland Dysfunction

Dog anal gland dysfunction is a problem in the sphincter. If your dog is suffering from this type of anal gland problem then it means they aren’t able to expel the liquid from the fluid ducts in the anal sacs.

Anal Gland Abscess

Anal abscesses can be extremely painful for your pet, especially in their anal sacs. An abscess on the anal gland is an abnormal opening to one or both sides of the dog’s rectum. If the abscess hasn’t ruptured yet, then your dog will have a large-sized, painful, and swelling anal area.

Anal Gland Tumors

Though this is not common, anal gland disease can occur in the form of tumors. It is usually identified as a growth on the dog anal glands, or located in the lymph nodes. Treatment usually requires surgical removal from your veterinarian.

What You Don’t Want to But Need to Know about Your Pet’s Bowel Movement

Although this may not be the most pleasant job in the world, you are a fur parent and you should know the different types of bowel movements your dog can have.

A normal, healthy poo is moist and firm and has a mild smell.

If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, their poo will be soft and runny.

If your dog is suffering from a hard stool, which can result in anal gland inflammation and infections, then the stool will be hard and most likely dry.

Anal Sac Disease In Dogs

If you think your dog might have anal gland disease, then you should know the signs and symptoms to look for before taking them to the vet.

Anal Sacs and Why the Anus Becomes Inflamed

Dog anal gland disease starts off as nothing more than an uncomfortable impaction of the glands for your dog.

If the glands don’t drain themselves of the built-up fluid, then they can develop anal sac disease where the glands may become infected, inflamed, and even progress to an abscess. Treatment usually involves the draining of the glands, dietary changes, or surgery depending on the severity of the disease.

An Itchy, Stinky Bum! Symptoms of Anal Sac Disease In Dogs

Nobody likes an itchy, stinky bum at the best of times, and neither does your dog! Symptoms of dog anal gland disease include:

  • Scooting
  • A strong and bad smell
  • Licking or biting their rear end
  • Constipation when pooing

5 Facts You Didn’t Know about Dog Anal Glands and Gland Problems

  1. More common in smaller breeds of dogs
  2. Frequently expressing your dog’s anal glands can also lead to infection
  3. Most common symptom of anal gland disease is scooting
  4. Their purpose is to secrete a scent
  5. The glands can be hard to locate as they are internal

FAQ on all Things Regarding Your Dog’s Anus

When Expressing Dog Anal Glands, What Will I See?

If you attempt to express your dog’s anal glands and have success, then you should see a brownish liquid expel from the sacs. It will be strong in smell.

Pumpkin+Dog+Anal Glands =?

A great and healthy combination for your lil‘ pup who has a lil‘ problem with their caboose! Pumpkin is a great source of fiber. As it is an absorbent of water, it helps to moist your dog’s stool and helps them pass it easier.

When Should I Consult a Vet?

If your dog is experiencing all the symptoms of anal gland problems, and it having trouble pooping, then you should take them to a vet immediately as they might be in serious pain.

When In Doubt Talk To Your Vet! Anal Gland Treatment for Dogs

Whether your dog has anal gland problems or not, it’s a good idea to talk to your vet to prevent anal sac infections. If your dog does have anal gland problems, then consult your vet to work out treatment. Treatments may involve:

Expressing the Anal Sacs

Treatment can include emptying your dog’s anal sacs through gland expression. Usually, your vet will do this, but you can also attempt this at home. Be aware that it can be extremely painful for your dog if the sacs are an infection, so it’s best to leave it to a professional.


Collection of food that are high in fiber for dogs to have healthy dog anus

Changing your dog to a high-fiber diet can help to make their stool healthier and easier to pass, therefore preventing the anal glands from getting inflamed.


If the infection is severe or they are suffering from an anal gland tumor, then they may need a surgical procedure to drain them.

Keep it Clean! How to Express Dog Anal Glands

We’re not going to lie, expressing your dog’s anal glands is a yucky job. If you want to attempt it, it’s best to consult your vet beforehand. However, here is the rundown on how to express your dog’s anal glands.

A Yucky Job! Dog Anal Gland Expression

  • Wear thick gloves and old clothes as the fluid is extremely stinky.
  • Fold several paper towels together to absorb the fluid.
  • Lift your dog’s tail and place the towels over their anus.
  • Use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze the anal glands.
  • If it has worked, throw away the paper towels and rinse your dog’s anus.

Anal Glands: Dog has the Scooty Butt Condition

If your dog has the scooty bum condition, then they could possibly be having trouble with their anal glands. When their anal sacs inflame, it can be irritating and painful for our furry friends, so we should do everything we can to help them.

Consult your veterinarian and get those anal glands treated today!

 Common Questions on Dog Anal Glands

How do you know if your dog’s anal glands need to be expressed?

How do you express dog anal glands?

What diet is best for inflamed dog anal glands?

What is anal gland dysfunction?

What is the most common symptom of anal gland disease in dogs?

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