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Dogs have two small sacs located in their rectum. These are their scent glands and are meant to be emptied each time that they defecate. They use these glands to identify each other and mark their territory. In some dogs, most often if their stool is too hard or too soft, these glands will not empty on their own and need to be expressed manually. If the gland is left unemptied for an extended period, they become infected and abscessed. It is extremely painful for the dog! They will exhibit signs such as scooting, not wanting to be touched, not eating or drinking and becoming lethargic. Eventually the abscess will burst on its own, but ideally, the abscess should be lanced and flushed out. Either way, your dog should be brought in to the clinic so that we can prescribe antibiotics and pain medication.
Most owners are unable to express anal glands at home. Groomers will sometimes express them as part of their service; however, they often express the glands from the outside. Ideally, to ensure the contents are completely emptied, one finger must be inserted into the rectum. It is a relatively straightforward procedure and can be performed with a Registered Veterinary Technician while you wait.
If my dog scoots on the carpet, does this mean their anal glands are impacted?
Scooting on the carpet is usually one of the first signs that your dog is uncomfortable in their rectum. Owners whose pets need their anal glands expressed regularly use this as their guide to make their appointment to come in. It could also be a sign of other health concerns as well, such as parasites. If your dog is scooting regularly, it would be a good idea to have him/her examined by a Veterinarian.