Four Signs Your Dog May Need Its Glands Expressed

Many dogs cannot empty out their anal glands properly — small glands at the base of their tail that are used for marking. The thought of a dog's anal glands is far from pleasant, but not being able to empty them is a legitimate problem that many dogs have. When this happens, the glands can become impacted or infected. Some owners may never be aware of this problem because the symptoms can be vague.

1. Chewing Or Licking Its Tail

If your dog is chewing or licking around its tail, it may be experiencing irritation around its glands. As this irritation progresses, your dog may eventually begin pulling out the fur around the base of its tail. Because dogs tend to chew on their tails rather than their rump, many owners may not realize that the issue is with their anal glands. Some dogs may continue scratch their back and their legs as well.

2. Scooting on the Carpet

Carpet scooting can mean a few different things. It can mean worms, food allergies, general irritation, or glands need to be expressed. If your dog has begun scooting suddenly and has already been treated for worms — and its food has not recently been changed — it may be likely that the glands are the issue. If there is an oily or dark residue left behind the dog, it's more likely that there is a glandular problem.

3. Straining to Defecate

A dog that has impacted glands may feel as though it has to use the bathroom but may not be able to. Because of this, you may see your dog straining to defecate or looking as though it is going to even though it ultimately does not. You may also see your dog going several times in a row rather than going all at once. 

4. Having Redness and Irritation

Finally, a dog that as issues with its anal glands may have redness or irritation surrounding the area. It may also appear to have some swelling around its rump. The glands themselves are located offset from the base of the dog's tail and slightly lower, so issues with the anal glands may cause swelling in the entire area. 

Getting glands expressed doesn't have to be a difficult process. A groomer or veterinarian can generally show you how to do it. But it's very important that this medial issue be treated quickly. If it isn't, it can become very serious.

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