Last Updated on July 6, 2021 by adrienne hardwick
If your dog has an itchy bum or is scooting across the floor, it could be a sign of something a little more serious – like impacted anal glands.
While it is best to have them emptied at the vet, you can do it at home too. But how can you ease their pain while their bum is sore?
A warm compress is one of the best treatments for your dogs sore bum as well as Sudocrem or an antimicrobial ointment.
Just make sure you stay away from harsh treatments like Vaseline or anything petroleum jelly based.
Don’t let us stop you here, though. Below is a detailed look at the signs of a sore bottom, the causes, and how you can treat it at home.
Signs Your Dog Has a Sore Bottom
If your dog has a sore bum there are a few key symptoms that you need to keep a close eye out for:
- A bad smell (fishy) or gassier than usual
- Blood in poo or around the bum
- Constipation or straining to poo
- Wounds or sores near their bottom
- Swelling around the anus
- Licking their back end excessively
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it is best to give your VET a call so that your pup can be checked over.
Better safe than sorry (and better than the smell of your dog self-emptying their glands all over the living room… not good memories).
What are Anal Glands?
The anal glands are a small pair of sacs that sit just inside the anus and they contain a foul-smelling liquid that is used for marking territory. When your dog poops, the glands are emptied naturally.
However, there are some cases where the glands will overfill and become blocked. For some dogs, this is a regular occurrence and for others, it will happen rarely.
When they are blocked, it is both irritating and painful for your dog. However, the treatment to clear them is relatively quick and easy.
You should always contact your vet to have them cleared immediately as leaving them blocked can lead to further health issues.
You can empty them yourself at home, but you should only do this if you have been professionally trained to do so.
If you empty them incorrectly, it can do more harm than good. Plus, it’s pretty gross and that is what your vet is there for.
Anal Gland Impaction
Usually, anal gland impaction is caused by a lack of pressure to empty the glands. This is likely to be because your dog is not producing stools that are firm enough to clear the sacs. When this happens, they become blocked, impacted, and swollen.
If they are left impacted for too long, there is a risk that they will become infected as a result.
This is because bacteria build up in the glands, causing your dog pain as well as increased swelling. It can also lead to the formation of abscesses and your dog developing a fever.
Any type of dog can develop impacted anal glands, and around 4% of dogs are affected by it.
The risk of this condition is higher in senior dogs as well as certain small breeds such as the bichon frise, cocker spaniels, cavalier King Charles spaniels, and King Charles spaniels.
Generally speaking, the treatment is simple. Your vet will express the glands and prescribe antibiotics and pain relief as well as a soothing cream or ointment that can be put on the area. They may also need to have their glands emptied regularly as a result.
In very severe cases where the glands have become cancerous or there is a tumour, the glands may have to be removed surgically.
Since there are many complications that can accompany this surgery, it is only available in emergency situations.
Anal Gland Risk Factors
There are a few conditions that can increase the risk of your dog suffering from impacted anal glands. These are as follows:
- Being overweight or obese
- Food allergies
- Environmental allergies
- Chronic skin infections with bacteria and/or yeast
- Inability to contract the anal sphincter normally
- Obstruction of the anal gland duct
- Skin mite infestations
If your dog suffers from any of these, make sure you check their glands regularly and ensure they see a vet for a once-over every now and again to check things are in working order.
How to Prevent Problems with Anal Glands
There are a few things you can do to try and prevent anal gland problems in your dog, and you should also make sure they are insured as issues with the anal glands can become more serious. Insurance is better than forking over several thousand in cash.
Make sure you keep your dog in good shape. A slim and healthy dog is LESS at risk of anal gland issues than an overweight one.
Overweight dogs also tend to have weaker muscles around their anus, which can lead to gland emptying becoming more difficult.
Add a little extra fibre to their diet to bulk up their poo and make it firmer. This will help your dog to keep their anal glands clear every time they go to the toilet.
Speak to your vet to discuss the best options, one of the most popular choices is sugar-free bran flakes.
Check out what I have found out about which foods you should choose for high fibre dog food for anal glands.
Check your dog over regularly, especially if they are prone to developing impacted anal glands.
You’ll find that you become a QUICK expert at spotting what’s right and wrong. Have your vet check them over regularly as well to ensure everything is good down there.
What cream can I use on my dogs sore bum?
If you use a cream on your dog’s sore bum it is best to use an antimicrobial cream and avoid things like vaseline (which can be too harsh and cause flakey skin). Speak to your vet first as they will likely want to prescribe an anti-inflammatory.
Can I put Sudocrem on my dog’s bum?
Absolutely, you can put Sudocrem on your dog’s sore bum. It should be used in small amounts as it can be harmful if too much is applied. A little fingerful is all you need.
Why is my dog’s bum red and swollen?
Your dog’s bum may be red and swollen because they are suffering from impacted anal glands.
You may notice that the glands have become swollen and distended, hence their bum looks so large and red. It is important to get this treated before it becomes anal sac disease.
No matter their size, any dog can be affected by anal gland problems. They can be uncomfortable, painful, and some dogs may find that they are a regular problem.
We hope that this guide has helped you to find some soothing home treatments for your pup.
Wondering what else there is to look out for with your dog? We have a detailed series of canine care guides that are sure to pique your interest as well as answer your most pressing questions.
For over a decade, Adrienne has been a freelance content writer and blogger who’s passion lies in anything related to dogs. Growing up, dogs were a very important part of family life in the Hardwick household. Now, Adrienne is the proud parent to two Swedish Vallhunds called Moose and Pumpkin.