WARNING! DO NOT EAT WHILE READING THIS POST!
Your dog is trying to express its anal glands when they drag their butt across your carpet, also called, scooting. Also, if you suddenly smell something foul (and fishy), they have achieved their goal. Although gross, it is important to learn about anal glands for both dog and cat owners. Many owners may already be familiar with this gland, located on either side of a dog, or cat’s, rear end (in very close proximity to the anus). Owners have to bring their pet into the vet’s office every 3-4 weeks to have them expressed because their pet can’t do it on their own. When a pet is unable to express their anal glands, owners often find out when they have a burst, or abscessed, anal gland, which looks like a cut right next to their butt. When this happens, the vet needs to flush out the gland to make sure it isn’t still impacted, and sometimes they prescribe antibiotics.
Why can’t my pet express their own glands?
Normally these glands are naturally expressed during defecation. Typically, large dogs don’t have a problem with this, but small dogs are very susceptible to “Anal Sac Disease”, or the inability to express their anal glands.
According to the Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health, anal sacs can become impacted (clogged), infected, abscessed, or cancerous in both dogs and cats. The inability to express the glands causes them to become impacted. Before your pet reaches the point of them being infected, or abscessed, you will need to get them expressed at your veterinarian’s office. This can happen because the glands don’t express during defecation, lack of muscle tone in obese animals, and frequent, or excessive, secretion of these glands.
How do I know if my pet has this problem?
If your pet is “paying a lot of attention” to that area, it may be time to have them expressed. IF, this is the first time your pet has had a problem, its ALWAYS a great idea to have them expressed by a veterinarian to be sure there isn’t a tumor and the discharge is of normal consistency and color.