Anal Gland Blockage

Anal glands are two small secretory pouches located just inside the opening of the anus. They’re used in scent marking and to assist in communicating with other dogs. Anal glands usually empty while a dog is doing a poo, or sometimes when he or she is frightened, but sometimes they can become blocked. One theory is that some commercial foods cause dogs to produce smaller poos, and this may result in the glands not having enough pressure exerted on them to empty properly while your dog goes to the toilet. It can also be caused by intestinal worms, or infection. Signs your dog's anal glands could be blocked include dragging, or "scooting" their bottom along the floor, accompanied by much licking of the affected area.

Your veterinarian can empty blocked anal glands by placing a finger into your dog’s bottom and gently expressing them. In severe or persistent cases, anal glands can be surgically removed. Infected anal glands require antibiotics and sometimes need to be flushed out while your dog is anaesthetised.

Adding some extra bran or fibre to the diet is worth trying. Or, if you suspect a food allergy, changing to a low allergen prescription diet may help. Or talk to your vet about the diet most suitable for your dog. If you do not have a local veterinarian, why not use our handy 'Connect with a Vet' feature on the website?