Dogs and cats have scent glands, called anal glands, on either side of the anus, similar to skunks. The purpose of these glands, is to produce a foul-smelling brown fishy-smelling discharge that gets squeezed out every time your dog or cat strains to poop. Each anal gland has a tiny little duct that empties it at the anal opening.
Your dog's anal glands are two grape-shaped glands located just below the anus to either side. The pheromones they secrete give canines vital information about one another, including health, age, and sex. This explains why dogs sniff each other's rears when they meet and insist on taking a whiff of every poop they pass on their morning walk.
Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and the author of "Brain Training for Dogs. What are dog anal glands? Not all dog owners are aware of the fact that dogs are equipped with anal glands.
Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. His love of dogs and passion for natural healing and nutrition led him to writing, teaching and helping people create health naturally, without drugs, chemicals and processed food. There is a general misperception that a dog's anal glands should be manually emptied on a regular basis. In fact, expressing the glands too often may lead to decreased tone, delayed emptying and anal gland disease.
You may have witnessed your dog scooting on its butt across the ground or your favorite rug. Or maybe it suddenly started licking its behind obsessively or you noticed an abnormal, room-clearing odor wafting around your pup. On the other hand, perhaps your best buddy is constipated or experiencing pain when it tries to poop or even just sit down.
It is believed that this smelly substance helps a dog mark their territory. If an anal gland becomes blocked, an infection or abscess may develop. This can be extremely painful and needs treatment by a vet.
The functioning of complex organs such as the thyroid, the treatment of behavioral aberrations like separation anxiety, the risk factors for hip dysplasia — all these topics have had their share of academics willing to question, probe, and publish their findings. But anal sacs? Very few researchers in veterinary medicine find themselves called to explore the nuances of this grape-shaped pair of pouches.
They're not the stuff of dinner party conversations, but knowing how to spot a problem could save your dog a lot of misery. Picture the scene. You've just washed your dog from top to tail using the finest shampoo and conditioner money can buy, but even after drying him, the same horrible fishy odour you noticed pre-groom is still lingering in your poor nostrils. Sound familiar?
Anal sacs are two sacs that are the size of or smaller than a pea. They are on the sides of the dog anus at about 9PM and 3PM. Normally, the anal sacs empty when the dog has a bowel movement, but sometimes they don't empty as they should, causing them to possibly become irritated or infected.