Ask Seth: Recurring problem with my dog's anal glands

My Miniature Schnauzer has a recurring anal gland problem. We have him groomed about once a month or so where he has his anal glands cleaned out, but he seems to begin having problems again about every two weeks. He will continually lick until he saturates anything that he is lying on and the odor is unpleasant. Is there something that can be done to help alleviate or eliminate this problem? I am not sure what causes this; is it dietary or just something that a particular dog may just have to deal with on a continual basis? I have never owned a dog before and want to make sure he is as comfortable as possible. Any help would be much appreciated.

Sulphur Springs, TX

I recommend that you start by visiting your veterinarian. Anal sacs are located at 5 and 7 o’clock in relation to the anus and as the pet defecates, these sacs squeeze against the HARD passing feces, allowing the sac to release and put the anal secretion onto the feces.

One of the causes of the anal sacs not releasing properly is feces that are not hard enough to express the anal sacs. Without this release, the fluid becomes thicker in consistency and the sac becomes uncomfortable to the dog. The anal sac can become impacted (unable to be released) or even infected if this condition is not alleviated. Your veterinarian can determine if they are infected and will prescribe a treatment plan to remedy the issue. Treatment may include changing the diet to one that has more protein and less vegetables. If the anal sacs continue to be a problem, your veterinarian can perform anal sac surgery to remove the anal sacs since they do not have a functional use for the dog.

Your dog is scooting for a reason and you should determine why. Is it the anal sac? Can it be an intestinal parasite such as tapeworms or round worms?  Anal sac problems are common and can very painful for pets. Early detection and treatment can save money and also spare your pet from discomfort.

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