How to Get Rid of Dog Anal Gland Smell

Updated: January 19, 2024

Owning a dog comes with a lot of many wonderful things! Unfortunately dog anal gland smell isn’t one of them.

What do dogs anal glands smell like? Your dog can smell like many things, depending on where they have rolled on lately. But, one of the more unpleasant aromas your dog may commonly develop is one of fish. What you are smelling is their anal gland.

"Dogs expressing anal glands on their own may be because they are scared or excited"

anal glands in dogs, how to get rid of dog gland smell

Dog anal glands smell is common for many dogs but it is a problem that will require some effort, time, and patience. In this article, learn more about the functions of the anal gland, how to express anal glands in dogs, and how to get rid of the dog anal glands smell.

What Are Anal Glands in Dogs?

Anal glands on dogs, also known as anal sacs, are sacs that are found on each side of your dog’s anus. Anal glands are comprised of different sweat glands that secrete unpleasant smelling secretion that serves as your furbaby’s marker. According to the American Kennel Club, when a dog poops, these various secretions are passed on to the poop, serving as a guide for other dogs to identify and learn essential information about your dog and vice versa. This is why dogs love sniffing each other’s butts and why they are always curious about other dog’s poop!

Why do dogs anal glands smell bad? Sometimes, the anal glands may get excessively full and will express naturally, resulting in a stinky mess. Dogs expressing anal glands on their own may be because they are scared or excited and that is completely okay. When the anal gland becomes too full, it will start to stink badly. There are a few reasons a dog’s anal glands may not be properly functioning on their own, including obesity and an unbalanced diet. It is not something that goes away just like that. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways how to get rid of dog anal gland smell.

How to Get Rid of Dog Anal Gland Smell

We know you love your furbaby no matter what, but the anal gland smell is not something you want to deal with. The anal gland begins to excrete a pungent, sometimes fishy-smelling fluid. Though it can be completely normal, there are a lot of ways to prevent it from causing a bad smell in your home. Here are some ways to prevent the gland smell:

Call Your Vet

If you notice a pungent smell, you may call your vet. Your vet may find the need to manually express your dog’s anal glands which should eventually solve the problem. However, if the odor persists, your vet may run some tests on your furbaby to check if there are any impacted sacs or if your dog is suffering from any underlying anal sac disease, such as infections and tumors.

Express Anal Glands in Dogs

One efficient way of getting rid of dog anal gland smell, as mentioned, is expressing dog anal glands. As a matter of fact, you can even express anal glands in dogs on your own. So, how do you express dog anal glands? Before, starting, keep in mind that manually expressing your dog’s anal the wrong way or too often may cause inflammation and may eventually scar tissues around it and clog the anal sacs even more. Expressing your dog’s anal gland must only be done when they are not emptying it intrinsically and if there is a smell already. You can consult your vet to see if you should be expressing your dogs anal glands and how often.

How to Express Dog Anal Glands: Expressing anal glands in dogs is easier done with two people present. Before starting, make sure both people know how to express dog anal glands so that the process can be as quick and efficient as possible. Have one person secure the dog standing and hold up their tail. Meanwhile, put on gloves and apply lubricant to your index finger. Gently insert your finger into your dog’s anus and use your tub to rub the outside of the anus. According to River Road Veterinary Clinic, the anal glands are located at approximately the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock area and are typically the size of a grape.

Once located, express your dog’s anal gland by gently squeeze your thumb and index finger. You will notice fluid will start to expel just inside the anus. It is important not to block this with your index finger, but you might want to place a paper towel in front to prevent unpleasant surprises from squirting backwards onto you. Look out for thick or discolored fluid which can be a sign of a deeper problem. Be sure to clean the area afterwards with pet wipes or a pet-safe shampoo and water after you express anal glands in dogs.

Use Pet Wipes for Dog Anal Glands

When your dog secretes the fishy-smelling liquid, you may use pet wipes or dog wipes to clean the anal area. While using general pet-safe wipes can get the job done, it is recommended to use gland specific pet wipes to clean anal glands. Quality gland pet wipes are specifically designed to address the underlying problems of anal gland smell in dogs and help prevent it in the future.

How To Get Rid Of Dog Anal Gland Smell

To get rid of that anal gland smell and provide the proper clean, use Pet WiPees™. These may seem like ordinary pet wipes, but Pet WiPees™ Gland Wipes are specifically designed for your furbaby's anal glands that actually reduce irritation in impacted glands, draw out irritants, and reduce the bad bacteria population.

Pet WiPees™ Gland Wipes are formulated to gently cleanse and remove smell without irritation. Filled with soothing, cooling ingredients and anti-inflammatories to help soothe irritated glands, and Epsom salt to help draw out painful irritants, Pet WiPees™ will help your dog inside and out!

What's even better? You can use Pet Parents® Pet WiPees™ in your everyday routine cleaning, a freshen up between diaper changes, use after every trip outside, or to relieve irritated bums due to gland issues.​ These dog wipes will actually provide additional benefits with every use, strengthening your dog's barrier for maximum support with every day use.

Consider Having the Anal Glands Removed

Though expressing the anal glands in dogs basically solves the problem, there are cases where the vet will advise the removal of one or both sacs. Removal of the anal sacs is usually only in cases that can no longer be resolved with treatment plans. Examples include anal sac tumors, scarring and narrowing of the ducts, and cancer.

While there are possible complications after the anal gland removal, such as incontinence, the majority are successful surgeries and do not cause any remarkable negative effects that may affect your dog’s quality of life after.

Preventing the Dog Anal Gland Smell

Aside from learning how to express dog anal glands, there are several things you could do to prevent the anal gland smell in dogs, including:

  • Provide your dog with a healthy diet filled with the right amount of dietary fiber they need. According to World Dog Finder, high fiber in what your dog intakes increases their stool volume and promotes the natural emptying of the anal glands in dogs.
  • Offer your dog Probiotic SoftSupps® to help promote gut health, intestinal well-being, and healthy digestion.
  • Make sure your dog has access to clean water all day long. Don’t forget to regularly clean your dog’s bowls.
  • Make it a habit to check your furbaby’s poop from time to time. According to PetMD, the ideal poop is a solid and segmented stool whose shape is like that of a caterpillar and feels like Play-Doh when pressed but still maintains its form. Poop problems can be an indication of health issues.
  • Exercise your dog and make sure they get enough physical activity. This helps them maintain a healthy weight and avoid any further development of dog anal gland smell.
dog gland wipes, anal gland dog wipes

"Pet WiPees™ Gland Wipes are specifically designed for your furbaby's anal glands that actually reduce irritation in impacted glands, draw out irritants, and reduce the bad bacteria population."

Takeaways For Dog Anal Gland Care

Dogs naturally have the ability to express their anal glands on their own, but sadly there are others that cannot. This is why they will need your help to express anal glands in dogs. To help you get rid of the anal gland smell in dogs, there are steps that can be taken at home or with the help of a vet. Learning how to express dog anal glands is the key for learning how to get rid of fishy smell from dogs butts. Remember to keep watch on your dog’s overall health and well-being before serious issues begin to arise.

Most healthy dogs naturally express their own anal glands

Anal gland expression can be done at home on a regular basis

Keeping the area clean is essential to prevent a anal gland smell