by Gigi McWhirter
“Why is my dog dragging its bottom across the floor?”
“Why is my doggie or kitty licking at its rear end?”
These are questions that usually mean your pet is not just doing their version of the “Bootie Scootie Boogie” but is in need of having their anal sacs emptied (or that they may have parasites). Today, we’ll talk about anal sacs.
Anal glands are technically not glands but are scent sacs located on either side of your canine or feline’s anus. Animals of the same species use the substance produced in these sacs as a “calling card” to let others know they have been at a location and to mark their turf — kind of like signing a guest book. This form of marking has an even stronger scent than urine and is used by both males and females.
The sacs are usually emptied when an animal defecates or becomes scared — and boy, does it stink! Almost anyone who works with animals has received a shot of this “cologne.”
Sometimes, however, the sacs are not completely emptied and a build-up of the animal’s signature perfume builds up and causes discomfort to your pet. There is no rhyme or reason why some animals never need assistance in emptying the sacs while others are frequent flyers of the gelled glove. It tends to become more of an issue with aging animals because it becomes more difficult for the animal to get into the exaggerated posturing for a bowel movement.
Signs that show your pet needs assistance in emptying the sacs include, scooting the rear end, obsessive licking of the area under the tail, redness, or inflammation of the rectal area.
Without proper care, the sacs can become infected, or abscessed, and even rupture. In extreme cases, surgery may be required to remove the glands.
Please note: A groomer can only express the sacs by squeezing the sacs from the outside of the animal. A veterinarian or a veterinary team member, under the supervision of a doctor, may go inside the rectum for this procedure.
If you think your pet could use some relief from the “Bootie Scootie Boogie,” contact your pet’s vet and make an appointment. It is not recommended you perform this procedure so as not to cause an injury to your pet.
Happy Tails to You!