Signs & Symptoms of Dogs Anal Glands Needing Expressed

Anal sac woes are especially prevalent in smallish pooches.
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If your dog's anal glands are all clogged up and in dire need of emptying, he'll probably make it pretty obvious to you via his uncomfortable body language. Although the problem seems kind of embarrassing and weird, it's actually pretty standard in canines. Anal glands are frequently called "anal sacs," too.

About Anal Glands

Even if you never think about it, all dogs are equipped with a set of anal sacs. These little pockets make their home surrounding your pet's anus. Every time your dog goes "No. 2," these sacs let off a tiny dab of a markedly dense and bad-smelling substance. When this doesn't happen successfully, often due to overly runny fecal matter, it can lead to clogged anal glands -- and a serious need to get them expressed. If you're unsure how to do this yourself, your veterinarian can handle the task for you. She can also give you a lesson on how to manually do it yourself, should you ever need to in the future.


Anal glands that are packed to the gills don't sound too pleasant, and they probably don't feel lovely to your dog, either. The mounting tension of the clogged glands can lead to extreme discomfort in your poor pooch. Your pet might display that discomfort by conspicuously dragging his derriere over your floor. If you all of a sudden see that Maximus prefers to scoot his body across your kitchen floor rather than scurry across it as normal, it might be time to investigate his anal gland situation.

Licking and Chewing

Dogs often attempt to deal with the clogged glands by constantly licking and chewing at their rears, all in efforts to express their glands by themselves. If you notice inordinate chewing and licking in conjunction with other actions such as scooting, it probably isn't a case of basic grooming you're observing. The skin surrounding your dog's anus might even take on a swollen and irritated look.

Severe Odor

If your dog's anal glands need to be expressed, you might catch yourself wrinkling your nose all of the time -- a natural reaction to the yuck-inducing smell coming out from your pet's backside. If the odor is extremely reminiscent of old fish and a lot more heightened than anything you pick up on the ground when you take him outside, you likely know exactly what's going on.

Problems Passing Stools

If your dog seems hesitant about passing stools, it could be an effect of the impaction discomfort. Your pet might even behave oddly if you accidentally brush against his rear. Dogs with impacted anal glands tend to exhibit a lot of noticeable symptoms. Put them all together and waste no time in relieving the little guy -- get him to the vet. Note, too, that some dogs might have this issue without giving off any hints of it.