Impacted Anal Glands in Dogs
Basic Dog Hygiene
MetPet.com Staff Writer
When your dog is scooting across the lawn while sitting (otherwise known as scooting along on his rear end), many assume that it's caused by the discomfort of worms. Actually, it's most likely caused by impacted anal glands.
Two pea-to-olive-sized (depending on your dog's size) glands on either side of your dog's anus, deliver potent-smelling liquid probably to leave your dog's scent mark when he poops. When a dog is severely stressed or frightened, the glands can empty all at once creating a smelly mess.
These glands can become impacted and even infected causing your dog discomfort. Scooting across the lawn (or carpet) can help relieve the impaction. At other times, your dog may lick at his rear end.
If you want to empty the sacs yourself, hold your dog's tail straight up and then tilt it gently toward his head. Feel for one sac with your thumb and another sac with your forefinger. They are located to the side and somewhat underneath the anus.
Once you have located the sacs, using a paper towel, press firmly on the sacs. It can take a lot of firm pressure to empty them. Your dog will probably not appreciate this and you may have to have a friend hold onto him. If you don't have help nearby, you can sit on the floor and place a knee or leg in front of his back legs up against his pelvis. This will keep him from moving away from you.
If you cannot empty the sacs this way, you will have to don some thin disposable gloves (available at most supermarkets in the dish detergent aisle). Place your thumb over one sac as before, insert your finger into the anus and gently press the sac from both sides until it empties. Repeat with the other sac.
Normal fluid ranges in color from pale yellow to brown. Impacted fluid can be gray or black and can be more difficult to express. It can also become thick and pasty. If anal sacs are routinely impacted, they can become infected, may create abscesses on the outside of the skin and may even have to be removed.
If this procedure is confusing to you, ask your veterinarian or full service groomer to show you how.