So I had my first spa treatment last weekend. A treatment which I believe is similar to what you hoomans call a colonic irrigation. In our dog world its known as having your anal glands emptied. I’m not sure why I’m telling you my intimate details but as there may be others out there suffering in silence like me – I thought I’d ‘man up’ and share. This isn’t a problem shared by all dogs, many can go though life without having to think about their glands at all.
What are the signs of anal gland issues
In my case I wasn’t showing any of the typical signs of the disorder, which include:
- dragging your butt on the floor
- excessive licking and/ or biting of the behind
- sitting uncomfortably
- a foul smell
- chasing our tails
- licking paws, both front and back
But some of the above can result in fishy smelling breath and that’s when my pawrents realised something wasn’t right. After all I regularly clean my teeth!
Natural activities of the anal glands
Us dogs can’t voluntarily empty our anal glands. That happens naturally when we need to go, if you know what I mean. These glands excrete fluid that helps us mark our territory. Occasionally these glands fill up. A common reason for this is a result of a period of diarrhea. Glands fill due to insufficient pressure being excreted to empty the glands naturally. Some dogs can’t empty their glands and if the fluid is left to thicken they can get blocked. This isn’t a breed disorder so it can happen to the best of us.
Emptying anal glands
Full anal glands can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful if they become infected. Luckily I avoided an infection but if your dog is showing any signs of anal gland problems then contact your vet. Your vet will empty the fluids and if necessary, your vet can teach a pawrent how to do it if it becomes a chronic problem. Our anal glands normally need emptied around every 6 weeks. Be aware that applying pressure to an full or inflamed anal sac could cause the gland to rupture – that sounds painful – so should not be carried out without the right training to do so. There is a great article written by vet Marc Abraham published on the kennel club site www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/for-owners/anal-gland-impaction that talks about anal gland impaction in dogs: its treatment and prevention.
High fibre diet
The good news is I’ve discovered porridge and its good for me. My new high fibre diet should bulk me out and assist in the natural gland emptying process.