Is your Pug anal glands causing problems?

Some Pugs have problems with their anal glands. Is your Pug scooting around or dragging his butt across the floor? Does he lick his rectum frequently? Does he seem to strain when he defecate? Do you notice a foul odor coming from his rear? If you answer yes, then these glands may need expressing.

The anal sac, located near the anus, produces a small amount of fluid that is unique to each dog. It allows him to mark his territory. It also allows dogs to identify each other. When the animals meet, they become excited, releasing this secretion. The animals begin to sniff each other in recognition.


Normally, humans do not smell the fluid. Only when the glands become impacted and need expressing is there an odor. Some describe the secretion as having a “fishy smell”. It is very foul smelling.


These two small, oval shaped glands are about the size of a kidney bean. Positioned at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock on each side of the anus, whenever the animal defecates, he squeezes muscles in the anus. This causes the secretion to exit through tiny ducts that open into the anus.

Anal gland problems fall into several categories:

Impaction occurs when the anal sacs produces a thick secretion that cannot pass through the walls of the glands. This build up continues until the gland becomes enlarged and irritated.

Bacterial infection causes these glands to swell and become irritated. This type of infection is often difficult to treat unless the source is known. The treatment usually involves prescribing antibiotics. If one is not effective, then a different one is prescribed. In extreme cases, the glands are removed.

If the infection is left untreated or is not treated in time, it can lead to abscesses, and other return to health issues from anal glands health issues. As the infection progresses, pus builds up within the glands. Too much of a build up causes the glands to rupture, and the pus to drain. Your veterinarian can flush out the anal glands and prescribe antibiotics.

Tumors on the sacs are usually malignant. They should be surgically removed. These anal sac adenocarinomas can cause kidney and other major organs to failure.

The most opportune time to express these glands is when you are bathing your Pug. The easiest way to express is to hold up the dog’s tail with one hand while holding a tissue in the other hand. Place your thumb over one of the glands, and your fingers over the other one. Press in and apply pressure as you pull your fingers over the glands.

Any fluid expressed out of the anus is caught in the tissue. The fluid should be either slightly yellow or brown in color.

Many pet owners prefer to let either their groomer or veterinarian express these glands. It is easier,especially if the pet owner is somewhat squeamish. The smell can be very overwhelming.

You can help control anal glands problem by feeding your Pug a high quality food. Always read the pet food’s label to determine the contents. If the food contains mostly cereal fillers, consider changing brands. Your Pug needs a food that produces a firm, compact stool. A firm stool aids in a natural expressing of the anal glands.

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