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“Fish Butt” – The Anal Glands Problem and What to Do About It

A dog’s anal glands are supposed to release, or “express,” when the dog poops. However, this doesn’t always happen. If your Bulldog wipes its butt on the ground or licks its butt it’s probably trying to express its anal glands. When they don’t express themselves they can become very irritating. If you don’t take care of the problem for the pup, he will succeed in releasing them and most likely in a very inappropriate atmosphere. A clear liquid will come out and it will instantly smell of rotting fish. It’s a very difficult stench to get rid of too. Following are some tips and tricks to help with the anal gland issue.

Vet Visits

It costs about $10 to get the anal glands expressed at the vet. Most puppies who have anal gland issues grow out of them as their bodies and stool matures. However, this isn’t always the case. You may find yourself taking your pup to the vet every couple of months for its lifespan. The good news is that it’s not an expensive venture, so it turns out to be about as annoying as any other standard errand.

Do it Yourself

All you need is some gloves and a paper towel. Most vets will tell those with little to no professional medical experience to stay away from handling this task themselves for fear of possibly hurting the dog, but there are plenty who’ve learned to express the glands at home. Some say the best area to do this is in the bathroom, which is typically well ventilated to rid of the smell easily, and is small enough to keep the dog from attempting to run free. Here are the steps:

1.      Point the dog’s rear end away from you and lift the tail to expose the anus. Pay attention to your dog’s body language to be sure he/she isn’t overly protective of the anus. If they are, you may want to have a professional do it, or grab a partner to help distract the dog from what’s happening so no one gets hurt.

2.      The glands are just below the hole of the anus at approximately 4 and 8 o’ clock. Feel around until you feel a slight bulge, similar to feeling the glands in your throat when you’re sick.

3.      While holding the paper towel in your hand to catch the liquid as it comes out, squeeze each gland gently. If you smell something terrible you’re doing it right and everything is normal. Keep gently squeezing until you get everything out.

You shouldn’t over express the glands. You’ll learn to notice when your pup is getting irritated with them, and you should wait for that sign to know when it’s time to get to work. Over-expressing them can have unhealthy effects.

Keeping Them Away

A simple way to keep the stool firm enough to express the glands on its own is to up the fiber intake of your pup. Blue Buffalo has a higher fiber content than most other dog foods. While mid-grade foods like Purina ProPlan have a standard 3.5% fiber, Blue Buffalo has up to 8%. Getting a small bag of high fiber dog food and mixing it in is a quick and simple way to attempt a fix. You could also purchase high fiber treats, or prepare and add leafy greens to your dog’s breakfast or dinner. Expect diarrhea until the Bulldog has adjusted to its new diet, and be careful to not overdo it when switching foods. Do so slowly and carefully overtime to look out for any allergies and avoid digestive damage. 

Photo credit: Johnny Dao/Shutterstock

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