Well, now that I’ve got your attention, I want to talk about your dog’s rear end. Yep, that area underneath the tail that poops. Most of you have heard the term anal glands or anal sacs at some point in your dog-owning life, but do you really know what they do? Anal glands and the sacs that hold their secretions are located about the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock areas of the anal ring. They are expressed each time your dog passes a stool and are sometimes expressed when your dog is suddenly fearful or agitated. These secretions are most of the reason why dogs sniff each other’s poop and each other’s anal area—the scent is a signature, of sorts, and an identifier between dogs. Why does this matter enough to write about it? Well, unfortunately, anal glands don’t always work properly and when they don’t, you will notice a change in your dog’s behavior. Scooting across the floor or carpet, for example, is one sign that all is not well with Fido’s anal glands. When anal gland sacs are full and haven’t been expressing normally, they cause discomfort for your dog and can lead to scooting or obsessive licking of the area.
“But,” you say, “I take my dog to the groomer and they express them every time my dog gets a bath.” It’s true that groomers often routinely express anal glands and for many, if not most dogs, that may work fine. Truth is, groomers are taught one way to do the procedure and veterinarians another. If your dog’s glands are impacted or infected, the groomer may not be able to adequately express their glands and may not be aware of it, either. You, the faithful owner, will notice that Fido is still scooting or licking or otherwise focused on his rear end. The point is—impacted glands can lead to infected glands and then to ruptured glands. Then you have a more serious situation requiring antibiotics, etc.
What’s an owner to do? We can help! If you notice Fido scooting, just give us a call. We can help with routine anal gland expression here at Dogville, but we will refer you to your veterinarian if additional care is needed. Scooters are always welcome! /dtm