How to Tell Something Is Wrong With a Dog’s Anal Sacs

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Dogs with anal sac problems with typically drag their rear on the ground.

Normally, anal sacs are emptied when a dog defecates. Some dogs with overactive anal glands may require occasional help. Your vet can demonstrate the procedure.

A common indication of trouble with anal sacs is “scooting” (dragging the rear on the ground).

  • Impaction: Occurs when the anal sacs fail to empty properly. This is more common in smaller breeds. Squeezing the sacs yourself as needed will control the problem.
  • Infection: Complicates impaction. There is blood or pus in the secretions, and the dog may scoot (drag their rear on the ground). It may be painful. Check with your vet for an antibiotic you can apply after you empty the sacs.
  • Abscess: Signs of anal infection, with a swelling at the site of the gland. It goes from initially red to a deep purple. You will have to have it lanced and cleaned by the vet.

Dogs whose anal sacs become repeatedly infected and/or abscessed will need to have the glands removed. Surgery is uncomplicated, although the dog will have poor bowel control for the next few days after surgery.

Try putting a pair of small boy’s underpants, with the dog’s tail through the third opening, on the dog to contain accidents.

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