Relief for Blocked Anal Sacs in a Canine

Blocked anal sacs can make your dog feel miserable.
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If you notice your pup scooting his bottom along the ground, his anal sacs, also known as anal glands, are probably bothering him. These glands can become blocked and swollen with fluid or even infected, leading to pain and irritation for your pooch. To provide relief, take your pup to the vet to have these glands emptied and treated for infections.

Anal Glands

Your pup has two pea-sized anal sacs on either side of his anus in the 4-o'clock and 8-o'clock positions, according to These sacs contain an oily secretion that is emitted when your dog defecates or when he becomes excited. The secretion smells unpleasant to humans but contains special pheromones that dogs use to mark their territory. While most pups have no issues with these glands, they can sometimes become clogged with the thick, oily fluid they contain, and your pup won't be able to empty them. If they can't be emptied, the glands become impacted with the material inside. Impacted glands end up swollen and may become infected or abscessed, leading to pain and discomfort for your pup.

Signs and Symptoms

Watch your pup for signs that his anal glands are bothering him. The most common sign of anal gland issues is if he drags or "scoots" his bottom along the floor, to scratch at the itchy glands, according to Dogster. He may also begin licking or biting at his anal area, which can lead to infections or abscesses. In some cases, you might notice blood or swelling in the anal area and your pup may have difficulty eliminating. If your pup has loose stools, he could wind up with anal gland issues. Diarrhea or loose stool won't press against his anal glands when he eliminates and the glands will fail to empty, leading to impacted anal sacs.

Veterinary Treatment

At the first signs of anal gland issues in your pooch, you need to take him to the veterinarian for treatment, which will provide him with relief for his irritated behind. Your vet will manually empty the glands by gently squeezing them with her fingers to expel the fluid inside, eliminating the impaction. She may also prescribe oral antibiotics to eliminate infections in the anal glands. If either gland is abscessed, your vet may need to lance, drain and clean the abscess out. She may even inject antibiotics into the sacs themselves to deal with infections. For dogs with chronically impacted anal sacs, your vet may perform surgery to remove them permanently and stop the problem, according to PetMD.


While any dog can experience impacted anal sacs, small breeds such as beagles, Chihuahuas, miniature or toy poodles and lhasa apsos are more prone to anal gland issues than larger breeds, according to WebMD. Overweight dogs are also more prone to anal gland issues than those at a healthy weight. To prevent anal gland problems, feed your pup a high-fiber diet to keep his stool bulky so it will press on the anal glands when he eliminates, naturally emptying them. Your vet or groomer may also manually empty the glands on a regular basis for you if your pup is prone to impactions.