Puppy sitting on carpet

No butts about it, anal glands are a sensitive topic! Have you ever seen a dog drag their butt across the floor? Or maybe you’ve noticed an awful scent coming from your cat’s behind? Does your pet keep licking their bottom? If so, chances are your pet has experienced anal gland issues. But what are anal glands and why are they important to your pet’s health? Read on to learn more about this stinky subject.  

The purpose of anal glands in dogs and cats

Both dogs and cats have two glands located below their anus which are called anal glands. These small sacs are filled with a foul-smelling fluid which is used to mark scent when your pet goes potty. A healthy dog or cat will be able to express this fluid from their anal glands naturally while having a bowel movement.

How to know if your pet is having an anal gland issue

If a dog or cat is unable to express their anal glands you will notice changes in the pet’s behavior. Here are some signs to look for:

Signs of anal gland issues in dogs:

  • Butt scooting
  • Tail chasing
  • Excessive licking or itching of the anal area
  • Pain or swelling in the anal area
  • Straining or difficulty pooping
  • Leaking anal gland fluid
  • Bloody stools or blood near your dog’s rectum
  • Also, watch out for matting of hair around the anus in longer haired breeds

Signs of anal gland issues in cats:

  • Pooping outside the litter box
  • Excessive licking under the tail
  • Butt scooting or dragging
  • Pain or swelling in the anal area
  • Bloody or sticky discharge

It’s always better to let your pet express their anal glands naturally, but for pets that experience issues expressing their anal glands, an external or internal expression can be performed by a veterinarian. Some groomers also offer external gland expression. Ignoring your pet’s anal gland issues may lead to impacted, abscessed or infected glands which will need immediate veterinary attention.

How to ensure healthy anal glands in your pet

Two key factors that lead to anal gland issues in dogs and cats are weight and diet. A pet that is exercised regularly and is kept at a healthy weight has an easier time expressing their anal glands.

Choose natural pet foods that are easy to process

The diet you feed your dog or cat also affects their ability to relieve their anal glands naturally. Feeding your pet ingredients they are unable to process, such as preservatives, plant material and grains, can cause loose stools.

Switching your pet to a raw diet, such as Vital Essentials, can benefit your pet by helping to produce firmer stools.  Just remember to switch to a purely raw diet slowly. If you take 10 to 14 days to gradually transition your pet’s diet it will give their digestive system time to adjust to the new food.

High bone content treats can help

Both dogs and cats can also benefit from feeding products with high bone content such as Turkey Necks and Duck Heads which can encourage natural anal gland expression.

Pet food with omega 3 can reduce inflammation

Supplementing your pet’s diet with foods high in omega 3 fish oils such as those found in Wild Alaskan Salmon Freeze-Dried Treats and Salmon Skins for cats, or Freeze-Dried Treats and Salmon Skins for dogs, can also help reduce inflammation leading to relief of anal gland issues in pets.

Anal gland issues affect many pets but, with dietary changes and exercise, you can help ensure your best fur-iend experiences relief through a healthy lifestyle. Always consult a veterinarian before treating anal gland issues at home. To learn more, check out our other Blog Posts, follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter or visit the Vital Essentials Website and enter your email to receive exclusive offers.

You can read about Dog and Cat nail clipping, Dog and Cat ear cleaning, Dog and Cat dental care, and Dog and Cat bathing in our other blog posts.