How To Deal With Dog Anal Gland Smell?

Are you also annoyed with the solid metallic or rotten fish-like smells from your dog’s rear end? The prime reason for this smell can be the leaking anal sac fluid. You may even smell the same odor in your pet’s mouth when your dog licks the secreting liquid from their anus.

Dog anal gland smell is a common concern, but luckily, there are ways to deal with this problem. With your efforts and patience, you can resolve this issue in no time.

In today’s article, you can learn a lot about dog anal gland smell and how to deal with it. So, keep reading below to learn more.

What Are Anal Glands In Dogs?

Dog’s anal glands or anal sacs are small pouches located at the four o’clock and eight o’clock positions of the anus. The sac size may range from a pea to a large grape. These sacs contain special sweat glands that discharge nasty fluid, filling up the sacs. The anal sac fluid is released into a small duct inside the anus in the form of yellow to brown and oily to creamy secretion.

The anal gland smells are common in small and overweight dogs, and exercise and routine excretion can resolve this problem in most cases. These anal smells also serve as a scent marker for your dog.

The secretion passed out with the feces helps other dogs to get chemical information about your dog. Anal sac secretion is why dogs are so interested in other dogs’ poop and have the habit of sniffing each other’s tails when they meet.

The Problem With Anal Gland Smell

The anal sacs empty naturally when the dog poops, the issue arises when the sac becomes impacted and cannot drain properly on its own. The accumulated secretion in the glands causes an unpleasant smell whenever the dog is around. With time, the secretion will thicken, and the smell will get stronger and unbearable.

Here the smell is not the only ugly problem. The secretion in the anal gland becomes super uncomfortable and painful for the dog. If left untreated, the dog’s anal sacs can rupture, worsening the situation.

Causes of Anal Gland Problems

Impacted anal sacs are often experienced in overweight or senior dogs whose mobility is affected by arthritis or joint inflammation. However, some dogs are born with abnormal glands causing the secretion problem. In contrast, some dogs develop narrow ducts due to trauma or scar tissue formation.

Some of the significant factors that can impact the anal gland include:


Obesity is often reported to cause anal gland problems. Although the exact phenomenon is unknown, it is proposed that excess body fat creates a cushioning effect that hinders the body from applying adequate pressure on the glands during defecation.


Dogs with underlying food or environmental allergies can also develop anal gland issues due to inflammation. The inflammation can result in a narrow duct or increased anal secretion, which is terrible for the anal gland as it affects the proper secreting process.

Diarrhea Or Soft Stools:

Diarrhea or chronic soft stools are also reported to impact the anal glands adversely, as the feces are not hard enough to express the anal glands adequately.

Other Reasons:

Chronic skin infections involving yeast or bacteria and physical abnormalities can become the reason for this discomfort. However, atopic dermatitis, obstruction of the anal gland duct caused by muscle inflammation or tumor, and infestation by Demodex, Sarcoptes, or other skin mites can also lead to anal gland problems.

Preventing Anal Gland Complications

Preventing anal gland complications is not always possible, but there are a few things that you should try. If your dog has no physical abnormalities, there are two main ways to avoid this problem.

Lose Weight:

Consider shedding some pounds if your dog is overweight. Take help from your vet and decide on a suitable diet plan and exercise for your pet.

Even in dogs, obesity can pose severe health concerns. From diabetes to heart problems, joint conditions, and anal gland problems, obese dogs are more likely to get affected and suffer. At the same time, the brachycephalic dog tends to develop severe breathing problems in hot weather.

Follow A Balanced Diet:

Dogs with sensitive digestive systems tend to get upset stomachs and diarrhea quickly. Dog breeds such as Goldendoodles are most likely to be food sensitive and develop impacted anal sacs. Therefore it is advised to maintain a properly balanced diet for your dog.

The diet must consist of plenty of fiber and food items that will not upset your dog’s stomach. The best way is to take suggestions from your vet and look for specially formulated food for dogs.

Luckily, dog anal gland smells are easy to treat. Once you resolve the underlying problem, the unpleasant smell will automatically disappear. However, if you have to express your dog’s anal gland often, it’s better to visit the veterinarian’s office soon.

Indicators Of Impacted Anal Gland

For some reason, dogs are an easier target for anal gland issues than cats. Anal gland or related problem makes the dog drag their bums along the floor, commonly known as Scooting. Or they will furiously scratch, bite or lick their bottom or tail.

Your precious little friend will also have a distinct smell at the back end and leave a liquid trace wherever it sits. Also, your dog will be in pain, look depressed, and will not allow anyone to touch its back end.

Some more indicators of an impacted anal gland may include:

  • Chewing the tail base
  • Blood in dog’s poop
  • Swelling around the rectum
  • Bloodstains wherever they sit
  • Do not wag their tail much

Dealing With Anal Gland Impaction

Dog anal gland smell is a perfect indicator that your dog’s gland needs to be expressed or emptied manually. Some dogs, usually small ones, need to be communicated with regularly. You can avail of this service from your veterinarians and groomers or learn to do it on your own.

Expressing the glands manually often can cause inflammation and scar tissue; therefore, it should only be performed when the glands cannot empty naturally. However, the compacted glands require professional treatment because sometimes a softening agent or saline rinse is needed when the compaction is dry.

For the infected anal sacs, vets use antiseptics and antibiotics. There are several successful surgical procedures to remove untreatable anal sac diseases.

Once the veterinarian removes the compacted material, a fiber-rich diet is suggested. Special anal gland wipes and supplements are also available to deal with underlying gland issues.


Your furry friend might suffer from anal gland problems if there is a strong, pungent smell around their rear end and the dog continuously scoots or licks their backside.

An affected anal sac can cause significant discomfort to your beloved pet and even lead to severe complications in case of infection or tumor. But fortunately, there are excellent treatment options to remove this distress from your dog’s life. Just try to maintain a healthy weight and balanced diet to avoid future complications.

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