Dogs have anal glands- that being said, these anal glands are their calling card to identify one dog from another, and is the key reason dogs typically greet one another by friendly bum sniffing. Dogs typically have no issues with their anal glands, and when they raise their tails high upon greeting one another, they are actually expressing minute liquids from their glands and expressing them naturally. Humans typically cannot detect the foul odor that comes from their dogs’ behinds when they do this, and dogs typically just express their anal glands on their own.
However, issues can arise, and every now and then, typically due to a poor diet where a dog is not producing hard enough stools, the anal glands can become irritated and infected, and become engorged with fluid and bacteria that doesn’t have enough pressure to expel on its own. A poor diet doesn’t create a stool firm enough to put natural pressure on the anal glands to express on their own when defecating (the anal glands are 2 glands located at either side of the opening of your dog’s rectum) and this leads to infection and irritation on your poor dog.
Your dog emitting a foul, fishy odor from its behind is usually the first sign that their anal glands may be infected. Humans typically don’t notice their dog’s anal glands until they actually become an issue. Your dog dragging its butt along the ground or carpet is another sign- as is the trail of sticky substance they leave behind that smells like rotting carcasses. This is their anal glands expressing on your carpeting, and you need to take action. Your dog may also chew or lick at its rectum more often, and have watery or runny stools in addition to dragging their butt on the ground. If your dog just plain stinks, it’s time to take them to the vet or professional to have their anal glands expressed.
Many vets will automatically express your dog’s anal glands manually whenever they go in for a checkup. My vet does this every time I take in my dog for shots or a visit, just to make sure her anal glands are healthy and expressing naturally on their own. Many dog groomers will express your dog’s anal glands upon request as well, and it’s a great way to help your dog out and keep their anal glands healthy to avoid actual issues. If your dog is having issues with their anal glands, take them to the vet or other professional, as leaving infected anal glands alone without treatment can lead to abscess in the body and cause serious damage to your dog. Your vet can also help you prevent your dog’s anal gland infections in the future.
personal experience with my vet