What Are Anal Glands And What Are They Good For?
There are glands in the rear end of every dog that are known as the anal glands. When you pass a stool, the stool presses on the anal glands, which causes the anal glands to secrete an oily material that takes the form of a liquid and is often a light brown colour. This glandular material carries a fragrance that dogs use to indicate their territory; it is similar to a personal perfume in that it allows other dogs to identify whose area they are entering based on the scent.
Because of this, you will almost always notice dogs sniffing about the area where another dog has defecated. On a more practical level, it performs the role of a lubricant, allowing stool to flow more smoothly and protecting the rectum from being torn while in motion. Under typical conditions, it is impossible for a dog to have any issues with their salivary glands (anal glands).
The emptying of the anal glands has unfortunately become a fairly prevalent condition owing to a combination of inbreeding and poor diets. Both of these factors have contributed to the problem. Because it is now such a regular occurrence, the majority of groomers now include the emptying of the anal glands as part of the grooming service they provide.
There are ways to aid healthy anal glands, which apart from the fact that it will save you money, it will also make your dog feel a whole lot better. If engorged anal glands are left untreated, your dog will become miserable and unwilling to have a bowel movement. At worst, one or both glands will burst through the anal wall which will mean hospitalisation with a combination of surgery/medication.
Due to inbreeding, some breeds have problems with their anal glands all the time. This is due to the location of the gland which have moved. While taking all the precautions may not cure their problems fully, it will alleviate it and keep it from bursting, allowing you to manage it.
If your dog is prone to gland problems, keep a good eye on signs and have them emptied regularly before it gets to bursting point!
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1-2-3 Aid For Anal Gland Problems
- 1 High fibre
Increasing the fibre content of your dog’s diet means that the stool will be firmer. A firmer stool will put more pressure on the anal glands when passing through which means the glands has less chance to become engorged.
- 2 Less fat
Try to limit the amount of scraps you feed. If you are able not to give in and feed only food high in fibre content you will be amazed at the results.
- 3 Exercise
Regular exercise has a whole lot of benefits. For the purpose of helping healthy anal glands, when you exercise you also stimulate the digestive system. Give your dog plenty of fresh air and activity.
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Anal Gland Warning Signs
Look out for the following signs which are all give-aways that your dog are suffering from anal gland problems:
- Dragging bum
- Fierce licking
- Foul sweet smell
- Excessive farting
- Leaking fluids
- Crying when going toilet
- Blood or puss
Dog’s with a chronic anal gland problem should be watched very carefully. Breeds particularly prone to anal gland problems are Cavalier King Charles, Beagles, Pugs.