How to Tell If Your Dog’s Anal Glands Are Full?

How to Tell If Your Dog's Anal Glands Are Full

You might have heard about “anal glands” when talking about dogs, but what exactly are they? Well, think of them like little scent glands located near your dog’s bottom. These glands produce a special scent that dogs use to mark their territory and communicate with other dogs.

Keeping your dog’s anal glands healthy is very important for their overall well-being. If these glands get blocked or infected, it can be really uncomfortable for your dog. They might feel itchy, sore, or even in pain. Plus, if the problem isn’t taken care of, it can lead to more serious issues.

So, why are we talking about doggy bottoms? Well, this blog post is here to help you understand how to tell if your dog’s anal glands are full and what you can do about it. We’ll go over signs to look out for, how to check your dog’s anal glands, and some tips for keeping them healthy. It’s all about making sure your puppy stays happy and comfortable!

What are anal glands in Dogs?

Anal glands are small sacs located near your dog’s anus. They produce a smelly substance that helps them mark their territory and communicate with other dogs. Think of them like little scent glands.

Usually, these glands do their job quietly and without any trouble. When your dog poops, a tiny bit of the smelly substance comes out naturally along with their waste. This is normal and helps them leave their scent around.

Sometimes, these glands can get blocked or infected. When this happens, it can be really uncomfortable for your dog. They might scoot their bottom on the ground or lick around their tail a lot. You might also notice a really bad smell or even see swelling near their bottom. These are signs that something might be wrong with their anal glands and they might need some help from the vet.

Signs Your Dog’s Anal Glands Might Be Full

Anal glands are a natural part of your dog’s anatomy, but sometimes they can become impacted or infected, causing discomfort and irritation. Here’s what to watch for:

1. The Scoot:

This is the most common sign. Your dog will drag their rear end along the floor or ground in an attempt to relieve the itch or pressure. Look for scooting on carpets, furniture, or even grass outdoors.

2. Excessive Licking and Biting:

If your dog is fixated on licking or biting their rear end or around the tail area, it’s a strong indication that something is bothering them there.

3. Foul Odor:

Anal glands express a fishy or unpleasant smelling fluid naturally. However, if the glands are impacted, the odor can become much stronger.

4. Discomfort or Pain:

A dog with full anal glands might be generally uncomfortable or show signs of pain. This can include whimpering, whining, restlessness, or even aggression if the area is touched.

5. Straining to Defecate:

Full anal glands can sometimes put pressure on the rectum, making it difficult for your dog to poop. You might notice them straining during bowel movements.

6. Swelling or Redness:

In severe cases, the anal glands can become inflamed or infected. This can cause swelling, redness, and even discharge in the anal area.

How to Check Your Dog’s Anal Glands

Expressing your dog’s anal glands is not for everyone. If you are uncomfortable or unsure, consulting a veterinarian is always the safest option. They can advise whether this is a task you can handle at home and demonstrate the proper technique.

What You’ll Need

  • Lubricant: Petroleum jelly is a common choice.
  • Gloves: Disposable gloves are recommended for hygiene.
  • Paper towels: To catch any discharge.

Instructions for How to Check Dog’s Anal Glands

Prepare your workspace: Find a well-lit, ventilated area where your dog feels comfortable. Lay down disposable paper towels.

Position your dog: Have a helper hold your dog securely in a standing position, or gently coax them onto their side.

Locate the glands: The anal glands are located at about 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions around the anus if you imagine a clock face.

Apply lubricant: Apply a small amount of lubricant to your gloved thumb and forefinger.

Gently feel the glands: Using gentle pressure, feel around the indicated locations for small, grape-sized sacs. Avoid applying excessive pressure.

Expressing the glands: If the glands feel full, gently squeeze them together between your thumb and forefinger, pushing downwards towards the anus. A brownish, foul-smelling liquid should be released.

Cleaning: Use the paper towels to clean any discharge from your dog and yourself.

Important Notes

  • Not all dogs need regular expression: Some dogs empty their anal glands naturally during bowel movements.
  • Consult your vet first: If you are unsure about expressing your dog’s glands or if you notice any signs of infection (redness, swelling, pus), consult your veterinarian first.
  • Be gentle: Forceful expression can injure the glands.

Home Remedies and Preventative Measures

A. Diet and Nutrition Tips to Promote Healthy Anal Glands:

If you want to keep your dog’s anal glands healthy, it’s important to feed them a balanced diet. Make sure they’re getting plenty of fiber in their food, like from veggies or grains. This helps keep their poop firm, which can naturally express their anal glands when they go to the bathroom. Some vets might also recommend special foods or supplements that support anal gland health.

B. Techniques for Expressing Dog’s Anal Glands at Home:

Sometimes, your dog’s anal glands might need a little help to empty properly. You can gently express them at home, but it’s important to be careful and only do it if you’re comfortable. Your vet can show you how to do it safely. Usually, it involves applying gentle pressure to the glands near your dog’s bum. But remember, if you’re unsure or if your dog seems uncomfortable, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

C. Grooming and Hygiene Practices:

Keeping your dog clean and tidy can also help prevent dog’s anal gland problems. Regular baths can help keep the area around their bum clean and reduce the chances of infection. If your dog has long fur around their rear end, you might want to consider trimming it to prevent feces from getting stuck. Just be careful not to nick their skin!

D. Regular Veterinary Check-ups:

Don’t forget about regular vet visits! Your vet can check your dog’s anal glands during their check-up and make sure everything looks healthy. They can also give you personalized advice based on your dog’s breed, age, and health status. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to ask any questions you might have about your dog’s anal gland health. So, make sure to schedule those appointments regularly to keep your pup happy and healthy!


Taking care of your dog’s anal glands is an essential part of being a responsible pet owner. By keeping an eye out for signs of full anal glands and learning how to check them, you can help prevent discomfort and potential health issues for your dog.

Remember, it’s okay to seek help from your veterinarian if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with checking your dog’s anal glands yourself. Regular check-ups with your vet can also ensure that any problems are caught early and treated promptly.

By following the tips and advice outlined in this blog post, you’ll be better equipped to keep your dog happy, healthy, and comfortable. So, take the time to care for your dog’s anal gland health—it’s worth it for their well-being and happiness!


Hello there! I'm Madhav Mantri, the person behind this PetSavvy Solution blog. I'm a digital marketer and a pet enthusiast too! I spend my time making sure everything here is interesting and helpful for you and your pets. I love sharing cool stuff about pets, from the latest trends to heartwarming stories and useful tips to keep our furry friends happy and healthy.

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