A dog’s anal sacs

by Vivien Richardson on February 2, 2010

The least pleasant chore a dog owner probably has is checking their pet’s anal sacs, otherwise known as anal glands, to see if they are full or need emptying.  Here, we explain what these are and how to make sure your dog stays healthy in this regard.  It isn’t the nicest of subjects, but a good idea for dog owners to understand – just don’t read it over breakfast!

What are a dog’s anal glands?

The anal sacs are two cavities that are located on each side of the dog’s anus. They are lined with a cell that secretes pungent liquid and attracts attention from other dogs.

In the wild this smell would be used to mark their territory but domesticated dogs do not have to mark a territory or let other dogs know of their private space.

Most breeds of dog are able to get rid of the liquid while they are defecating. If this does not happen the sacs become full and painful and in the worst cases it can lead to cancer.

How to tell if your dog needs his anal glands emptying

If your dog keeps dragging his behind along the floor, then this could be a sign that your dog is not managing to empty the sacs by himself.  Anal sacs that are full can feel hard and your dog may even be in some pain if you touch that part of his body.

To avoid this happening to your dog ask your local vet to check him or her out.

In some cases you will find that your local dog groomer will empty the anal sacs for you – they should be properly trained in how to do this.

If your dog is in pain then take your pet to your vet to check him out immediately.

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