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Dog anal glands / Anal sacs

Anal glands / Anal sacs

If your dog smells in the hindquarters, it could be a problem with hair matted around the rectum, or with the anal sacs.

A dog’s anal glands are two small scent-sacs located on either side of the dog’s anus and empty their contents into the rectal area by way of a small connecting duct. They generally are called "marking glands".

Each sac fills up with a thick, foul smelling, brownish fluid which normally is expelled when the animal has a bowel movement. The odor produced by these sacs helps the dog mark his territory and may be responsible for doggy odor.

The sacs produce a sour or rancid-smelling, watery secretion that is brownish in color.
When a dog has a bowel movement, the sacs are normally squeezed, and a very smelly, oily secretion is released with the feces.

Sometime the sacs empty in an explosive way when the dog is frightened, stressed, or overly excited and these glands secrete the smelly, oily substance on the surrounding fur, causing bad odor.

Problems arise when the anal sacs can not easily empty their contents and become infected or overly full causing the dog discomfort and even pain. When this happens dogs often develop an offensive odor and try to relieve their discomfort (either an itch or a pain) through biting, licking under his tail, dragging his rear end along the ground, or scooting along the floor.

This is called anal sac disease.

If these sacs become infected or impacted (thicker secretion than normal, can’t empty properly), problems result. This can be a very painful situation when they become infected. Because bad odor coming from the anal area could signify an anal gland problem, please have your dog seen by your vet.

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