How to Tell If Dogs Anal Glands Are Full

Written by Dr. James Bascharon

Keeping your furry friend happy and healthy is a top priority for every pet owner. One often overlooked aspect of your dog's well-being is the health of their anal glands. Understanding when and why these glands might become full is crucial in ensuring your dog's comfort and preventing potential health issues. 

Signs Your Dog’s Anal Glands are Full

Identifying the signs that your dog's anal glands are full is the first step in addressing this issue. Some common signs include:


Scooting is a peculiar behavior where your dog drags their bottom along the floor or ground. It's a clear sign that they are experiencing discomfort or irritation in their anal area. This behavior is often an instinctual attempt by your dog to relieve the pressure or itchiness caused by full anal glands. If you notice your dog scooting, it's a strong indication that their anal glands need attention.

Excessive Licking or Biting

When dogs excessively lick or bite their rear end, it can be a response to the discomfort caused by full or irritated anal glands. This behavior may manifest as persistent licking or chewing at their hindquarters. Pay close attention to this behavior, as it can lead to skin irritation and further complications if left unaddressed.

Foul Odor

If you suddenly notice a strong and unpleasant odor emanating from your dog's rear end, it's a clear and often unmistakable indicator of anal gland issues. The foul odor is a result of the contents within the anal glands becoming impacted or infected. This odor can be quite pungent and is usually more noticeable when your dog sits or passes gas.

Discomfort or Pain

Dogs that have full anal glands may display signs of discomfort or pain. This discomfort can manifest as whining, whimpering, restlessness, or pacing. Additionally, your dog might frequently turn around to look at or bite at their hindquarters, as if trying to relieve the discomfort.

Swelling or Redness

Swelling or redness around the anus is another concerning sign that your dog's anal glands may be in distress. These symptoms can indicate inflammation or infection of the anal glands. If you notice any swelling or redness in this area, it's crucial to address it promptly, as untreated inflammation or infection can lead to more severe complications.

Why Do Dog Anal Glands Get Full?

  • Stool Consistency

    Soft or loose stools can't apply enough pressure on the anal glands during bowel movements, causing them to become impacted. Learn what healthy stool should look like.

  • Breed Predisposition

    Some dog breeds are more prone to anal gland problems due to their gland size and shape.

  • Diet

    Poor-quality diets lacking in fiber can lead to irregular bowel movements, contributing to anal gland issues.

How to Help Empty Dog Anal Glands When They Are Full

External (Manual) Expression

In some cases, you can manually express your dog's anal glands at home. However, it's essential to learn the proper technique from a veterinarian or experienced groomer to avoid injury or infection.

Dietary Adjustments

Incorporate fiber-rich foods like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and green beans into your dog's diet. These can help regulate bowel movements and promote natural gland expression.

Glandex Supplements

Glandex is a reputable supplement designed to support anal gland health in dogs. It contains insoluble and soluble fibers that help firm and bulk up the stool, facilitating natural gland expression. Many veterinarians recommend Glandex as a convenient alternative to manual expressions.

The Secret Vets Recommend to All Pet Parents - Glandex

At Vetnique, we believe in providing holistic solutions for pet health, including maintaining optimal anal gland function. Our Glandex products are formulated to support dogs with anal gland issues, ensuring they find relief from discomfort and itchiness.

Glandex Soft Chews

Our Glandex Soft Chews are vet-recommended and specifically designed to promote healthy anal gland function. With a combination of natural ingredients, including pumpkin seed, digestive enzymes, and probiotics, these chews help support digestive health and regular bowel movements.

Glandex Powder

For dogs who prefer a powder supplement, our Glandex Powder offers the same potent benefits as our soft chews. It can be easily mixed with your dog's food, making it convenient and hassle-free.

Glandex Wipes

Glandex Wipes are specifically designed to assist in cleaning the anal region after anal gland expression as well as to help support healthy anal glands. They contain DeoPlex® natural enzymatic deodorizers that don’t mask, but eliminate bad odors.

Glandex Topical Spray

Our Glandex Topical Spray offers targeted relief for your dog's itchy butt. With its medicated formula containing hydrocortisone and lidocaine, it helps soothe inflammation and provide immediate comfort.

Holistic Anal Gland Health

Your dog's anal gland health is integral to their overall well-being. By being vigilant about the signs of full anal glands, understanding the causes, and implementing preventive measures like dietary adjustments and supplements like Glandex, you can ensure your furry friend's comfort and prevent potential health issues. Consult your veterinarian for expert guidance on maintaining your dog's anal gland health and addressing any concerns.

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