You may be wondering why your dog or cat is dragging his bum across the floor. It may be an issue with their anal glands. Anal glands are two small glands just inside of your pet’s anus. They produce a thick, oily, smelly substance that in wild animals is used to mark territory or for self-defense. In some animals, these glands can become full and cause discomfort. Some animals will do the classic scooting across the floor to assist in expressing the glands, while other animals may lick, chew or bite at their rear ends.

Here are three commonly asked questions:

Why do anal glands become full?

Most wild animals are able to empty their anal glands voluntarily because they are used as for scent marking or in self-defense. Typically, defecation will aid in emptying the glands. In some domestic animals, the glands do not empty during defecation and the thick, oily, odiferous substance will build up in the glands.

How can an owner prevent them from becoming full?

As an owner you can help your pet to express their anal glands during defecation by feeding pumpkin, which is believed to bulk up the stools. When the bulkier stools are produced it should help to express the anal glands on their own.

What is an anal gland abscess and why does it happen?

An anal gland abscess can be seen as an open sore next to the anus. It may appear red and swollen and your pet will show signs of discomfort. Anal gland abscesses occur when the glands become overly filled with the thick anal gland substance. When not expressed the glands can become infected and abscess or rupture open.

If your pet has problems with their anal glands and you would like help to care for it at home, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our technicians today. They will be happy to give advice on how best to take care of this smelly problem.

-Meghan Burnell, AS
Veterinary Technician