About Dog Anal Glands

A Stinky Subject We Need to Discuss

The dog anal glands, also known as their scent glands, are located on either side of their anus or rectal opening. You can easily locate them on your Miniature Schnauzer by placing your thumb and index finger on either side of the anal opening at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions.

These glands accumulate a watery, brownish fluid in the rectum which produce secretions that serve 2 main purposes to the dog.

As a Lubricant One purpose they serve are for lubricating the passageway during regular bowel movements. When your Schnauzer defecates, the anal glands receive a bit of pressure and the secretion is released. This is how the glands normally express or empty on their own.

As a Greeting Card The second purpose they serve is as an exchange of information between canines. The secretions are your dog's personal scent and the odor (or scent) produced by the secretions inform one dog about another.

2 Schnauzers greet by sniffing anal glands
A chance encountering of another dog is a very exciting event. So much so, the rectum begins slight contractions causing a tiny bit of this fluid to be secreted. It's a dog's way of saying to another dog:

"This is who I am and what I'm about"

Your Schnauzer will undoubtedly want to sniff the butts of all the pups he meets. It helps dogs determine the sex of the other dog and kind of gives them the low-down on who they are. It's for this same reason that your Schnauzer insists on making a gazillion stops to smell some other dog's poop during walks. It's just how dogs exchange information about one another.

Symptoms of Dog Anal Gland Problems

Most Miniature Schnauzers never suffer with any swollen glands or have any kind problems whatsoever with them. And if they are working properly, it is best to leave them alone (ie. it is not necessary to manually express them). But if the glands fail to empty on their own and become impacted, that's when you'll need to intervene.

If the glands become clogged, the anal sacs may enlarge and begin to bulge from the retention of fluids and bacteria. This can cause pain and discomfort to your dog. To avoid this from happening, heed the warning signs below and check with your veterinarian if you think your Miniature Schnauzer's anal glands need to be manually expressed.

    Warning Signs of Impacted Glands

    • Your Schnauzer frequently licks or bites at his anus.
    • Your Schnauzer begins scooting or dragging his butt across the floor.
    • Your Schnauzer tries to chase his tail.
    • Your Schnauzer has a foul smell coming from his back end.
    • Your Schnauzer is somewhat listless or lethargic due to the pain of having impacted glands.
    • Your dog's stools have become soft and mushy.
    • You dog may develop constipation.

Expressing the clogged anal glands will usually bring the dog relief.

WARNING: Before attempting to express your dogs anal glands, it is best to talk it over with your vet. If not done properly, further irritation or complications may occur causing a much more serious problem.

Dog Anal Glands
It's worth noting that dog anal gland problems are believed to be linked to the quality of food your dog eats. So check the nutritional information on your dog's food and make sure it's not loaded down with cereal fillers which can cause loose stools in dogs. If it is, you need to switch brands.

Also, check the label for the amount of fiber in the dog food. You want there to be enough fiber to produce good firm stools. Firm stools help by producing enough pressure to the anal glands during elimination, so they empty on their own.

If your need to add a bit more fiber to your dog's diet the following 10 foods are excellent sources rich in fiber:

Fiber Rich Foods Okay to Feed Dogs

  1. Canned Pumpkin (not pie filling but 100% pumpkin)
  2. Oatmeal
  3. Cooked sweet potatoes
  4. Apples
  5. Bananas
  6. Brown rice
  7. Carrots
  8. Lima beans
  9. Split peas
  10. Lentils

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Schnauzer Dog Care
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