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dog swollen anus treatment at home

Dog Swollen Anus Treatment at Home: 5 Natural Anal Gland Remedies

Treatment for you dog's swollen anal glands needn't be complicated - here are some practical home remedies for your dog's swollen anus that actually work.

As a veterinarian, I see dogs in discomfort from anal gland issues and swollen anuses on a regular basis. It’s a distressing problem that our furry friends often suffer silently, but one that deserves our full attention and care.

Anal gland issues and a swollen anus often come together, and I’ve seen firsthand how these issues can lead to more severe health problems if not properly addressed. That’s why I’m here to share some effective home remedies that can help your dog feel better and steer clear of recurring anal gland problems.

In this article, we’ll discuss effective home remedies for treating a swollen anus in your dog and turn this foul-smelling issue into a breath of fresh air!

Key Takeaways:

  • 1

    Learn effective home remedies for treating dog anal gland issues

  • 2

    Understand the importance of maintaining your dog’s anal gland health

  • 3

    Recognize symptoms and seek veterinary advice when needed

Incorporate some of the suggested methods, like increasing dietary fiber or applying a warm compress, into your dog’s routine to help alleviate discomfort. Remember that seeking veterinary advice if anal gland issues persist is crucial; for instance, scooting or licking their butt may indicate an infected gland. While we will provide some options for dog ruptured anal-gland abscess home treatment, these don’t replace the need for veterinary intervention. By staying informed and attentive to your dog’s needs, you’ll be able to maintain their well-being and comfort.

Dog Swollen Anus Treatments at Home

1. Increase Dietary Fiber

dog eating broccoli

One of the most effective ways to keep a dog’s anal glands healthy, in my experience, is by increasing dietary fiber. High-fiber diets bulk up the poop, making stools firmer, which in turn applies more pressure on the anal sacs when your dog poops. This stimulates the natural expression of the glands and reduces the likelihood of a swollen anus due to impacted or infected anal glands.

Some great sources of fiber include:

  • Pumpkin – Fresh or plain pureed pumpkin (avoid pumpkin pie filling).
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potato
  • Fiber supplements – I’ve found Glandex chews to be particularly helpful in preventing anal problems in dogs – these packed with fiber for firm, bulky stools, allowing the anal glands to empty naturally.
dog anal gland supplement

2. Regular Exercise

dog exercising

As a veterinarian, I can’t stress enough the importance of regular exercise for maintaining your dog’s anal gland health (and overall health!). Taking your dog on daily walks, play sessions, or other forms of exercise can help prevent issues like swollen anal glands. A few shorter walks may be better than one long one each day for this reason!

Why is exercise so crucial? It promotes healthy bowel movements, enabling dogs to pass poop reguallry and thus express their anal glands more naturally. When dogs are sedentary, they may have less frequent or irregular bowel movements, potentially leading to gland build up and blockages.

Not to mention all the other benefits of exercise, such as maintaining a healthy weight – obesity can put extra pressure on their anal glands and disrupt normal functioning. I’ve definitely noticed a pattern that that healthy dogs with a regular exercise routine are less likely to suffer from anal gland issues.

3. Apply a warm compress

One of the simplest yet effective remedies you can try at home is applying a warm compress to your dog’s swollen anus. A warm compress can help soothe the affected area, reducing inflammation and helping your furry friend feel more comfortable.

To create a warm compress, soak a clean cloth in warm water, ideally within the range of 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Wring out the excess water and gently hold the compress against your dog’s anal region for about 10-15 minutes.

Feel free to repeat this process several times throughout the day, but remember to monitor the temperature of the compress to avoid burns. Avoid applying the compress directly to open wounds or abscesses.

Using a warm compress can also relieve a dog suffering from itchy skin. There are other home remedies that can also help alleviate itchiness in dogs, such as herbal tea, aloe vera, fish oils, and oatmeal baths.

4. Probiotic supplements 

probiotic dogs

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which can have a positive impact on your dog’s overall health, including the functioning of their anal glands.

Probiotics support healthy poop production, resulting in firm stools that can naturally express a dog’s anal glands. I’ve seen some great results with implementing these supplements, and some owners can even see an improvement within a few days.

One product I recommend is FortiFlora by Purina Pro Plan, which is specially formulated to promote normal intestinal microflora in dogs, helping to keep their stools firm and, thus, supporting anal gland health.

dog probiotic

5. Manual Anal Gland Expression

As a veterinarian, I can’t stress enough the importance of regular expression of your dog’s anal glands to prevent issues like anal gland impactions. I’d only recommend expressing a dog’s anal glands when they are showing symptoms however, if your dog isn’t showing any signs of discomfort, it’s best to leave them alone.

I know what you’re thinking: this task seems rather unpleasant. Trust me, with a little patience and care, you can do this at home. First, make sure your dog is calm and relaxed. A walk or playtime usually does the trick.

Wearing gloves, apply gentle pressure to the sides of the anal opening, being mindful not to squeeze too hard. Remember, if you’re feeling uneasy or your dog shows discomfort, it’s time to call your vet.

For a visual guide on how to relieve a dog’s anal glands at home, check out this video.

What are anal glands in dogs? And why does your dog have them?

dog anal gland anatomy

Now that you have some at-home tactics for dealing with your dog’s swollen anus, let’s explore what dog anal glands are in the first place.

Located on either side of a dog’s anus, the anal glands, or anal sacs, are two small sacs at four and eight o’clock positions. They play various roles, including canine communication and acting as a lubricant when a dog poops.

Each time your dog defecates, these glands should naturally express a foul-smelling liquid that marks their bowel movements. It has an unpleasant, fishy smell, which humans can easily notice! Not only do these glands help in marking territory, but they may also diffuse pheromones and lubricate the pooping process.

The anatomy of these glands is quite interesting, as they are nestled between two layers of muscle near the anal opening, ideally positioned to empty as the stool passes over them. However, problems can arise when these glands don’t function properly. If your dog’s stools are too soft or your pet isn’t regularly defecating, the glands may not empty completely. This situation can lead to blockages, discomfort, infections, and severe health problems.

I’ve seen the complications that can arise due to malfunctioning anal glands, and it’s not pleasant for you or your dog. Monitoring your pet’s bowel movements and ensuring they’re defecating regularly is crucial, preventing any potential health issues. So, keep an eye on your furry friend’s bathroom habits and consult your vet if you notice anything unusual!

Causes of anal gland problems in dogs

There are several factors that can contribute to anal gland problems, which I’ll briefly explain below.

  • Obesity

    Obesity often leads to weakened muscles around the glands, making it difficult for dogs to naturally expel secretions during defecation. Ensuring a healthy weight for your dog can help prevent this issue.

  • Diet

    Diet plays a crucial role in preventing anal gland problems. Poor quality diets can lead to soft stools, preventing dog anal glands from being sufficiently emptied during defecation. Making sure your dog has a well-formulated and balanced diet can help maintain healthy anal gland function.

  • Changes in stool consistency

    Changes in stool consistency can also cause anal gland problems, specifically soft stools or diarrhea. It becomes difficult for the glands to express naturally without enough pressure during defecation.

  • Lack of fiber

    Lack of fiber in the diet can impact anal gland health. As a veterinarian, I’ve seen improvements in dogs’ stool consistency and overall digestive health with increased dietary fiber. This, in turn, can help with anal gland expression.

  • Lack of exercise

    Lack of exercise can also lead to issues since it affects your dog’s bowel movements. Regular physical activity helps stimulate bowel movements and aids in the natural expression of dog anal glands.

  • Scooting

    Scooting is a common behavior in dogs trying to relieve anal gland discomfort, but it can actually worsen the situation by causing further irritation and inflammation.

  • Allergies

    Allergies, whether food or environmental, can cause anal gland issues. Dog food allergies, for instance, might cause inflammation in various parts of the body, including the anal glands. Addressing these allergies with appropriate treatment or dietary changes, such as hypoallergenic or hydrolyzed protein diets, can greatly improve anal gland health.

  • Tumors or masses

    Tumors or masses around the anal glands can cause blockages and discomfort, leading to impaction and potential infection. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can prevent these issues for worsening.

anal gland mass dog

Which dog breeds are at most risk for anal gland issues?

Breeds like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Cockapoos, Shih-tzus, Bichon Frise, and Cocker Spaniels tend to have an increased risk of developing anal sac disease.

Small breeds such as Chihuahuas and Toy Poodles often produce smaller, softer stools, which provide less pressure against the anal glands, making it harder for them to express naturally. This can increase the likelihood of the glands becoming impacted or infected.

Breeds like Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds can be more prone to allergies. These allergies can cause inflammation in the anal glands, contributing to issues. Also, let’s not forget that obesity plays a significant role in increasing anal gland issues, as it puts additional pressure on the glands and disrupts their normal functioning.

Although these breeds might be more at risk, it’s essential to remember that any dog can develop anal gland issues. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian are crucial for early detection and treatment. As a vet, I’ve seen how proper care can significantly reduce the occurrence of these problems in all breeds.

What are the symptoms of anal gland problems in dogs?

signs of anal gland problems in dogs

There are some tell-tale signs of anal gland issues in dogs, watch out for:

  • Scooting: If you notice your dog dragging its rear end along the floor or lawn, this can often indicate discomfort in the anal area.
  • Excessive licking or itching: A dog that frequently licks or bites at their hind end might be experiencing irritation from anal gland issues.
  • Swollen anus: Inflammation of the anal sacs can cause enlargement, making your dog’s bottom look swollen.
  • Straining to defecate: Dogs with impacted or infected anal glands may have difficulty during bowel movements, resulting in excessive squatting or constipation.
  • Visible discharge: In severe cases, such as an abscess, look for signs of infection like red, hot swelling, or greenish-yellow or bloody pus near the anus.
  • Behavioral changes: Dogs in pain or discomfort from anal gland problems may exhibit changes in behavior, like acting fearful or aggressive.

Remember, observing these symptoms can help you identify anal gland problems in your dog early, allowing for timely intervention and treatment.

How often do dogs need their anal glands expressed?

dog empty anal glands

As a veterinarian, I often get asked this question. The frequency can vary greatly based on a dog’s health, diet, and breed. Most dogs will naturally express their anal glands without intervention, but some may require assistance every few weeks to a few months. A groomer or a veterinarian can help with this process.

In my experience, it’s best to perform anal gland expression only on an as-needed basis. Overdoing it can lead to potential issues. Maintaining a balanced diet can help with prevention, ensuring your dog’s comfort and health. So, watch your furry friend closely for any signs of discomfort and address the issue accordingly.

Dog Anal Gland Complications and Diseases

Anal Gland Infection

If the anal sacs can become impacted or plugged they can become inflamed and trap bacteria, leading to anal gland infection. Dog’s suffering from an infection might show symptoms like discomfort, dog scooting, and licking at the rear.  Anal sac infections can on on to form an abscess, causing significant pain for your pet.

Treatment for an anal gland infection typically involves antibiotics and pain medication; in severe cases, surgery may be required. The good news is that many cases of anal gland infections will resolve within 1-2 weeks with the right treatment.

Ruptured Anal Glands

Problems arise if an anal gland abscess is not promptly treated; if left, it can rupture – causing extreme pain for your dog. Typically, treatment for a ruptured anal gland involves antibiotics and pain medication while the wound heals. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove any infected tissue and stitch the wound closed.

The symptoms of a ruptured anal sac include a large lump or red swelling beneath your pet’s tail, bleeding or pus, and noticeable discomfort. A wound overlaying your dog’s anal gland might be visible, there the gland has ruptured through the skin.

With proper care and treatment, most anal gland ruptures can heal within 10-14 days.

Impacted Anal Glands

Anal gland impaction occurs when the anal sacs become plugged or blocked with thickened material. The contents of your dog’s anal glands should be a runny liquid texture. But if left to build up, this material can harden, developing a thick paste-like consistency.

This results in inflammation and further thickening of the secreted material within the sacs. The impacted material is usually brown or grey and may contain traces of blood or even pus if there is also an infection present. If left untreated, impacted anal glands can go on to form abscesses – resulting in all the complications listed above.

Impacted anal glands are very uncomfortable for you dog. Factors such as diet, particularly a lack of fiber, can contribute to this issue. Thankfully, impacted anal glands can often be treated by gently emptying or expressing them – but this should always be performed by a vet, squeezing too hard can lead to rupture.


Seasonal or food allergies in dogs can often manifest as anal gland disease. An allergic response results inflammation in various parts of your dog’s body; this inflammatory reaction can affect the anal glands and the sensitive skin surrounding your dog’s rear end, resulting in itchiness and a swollen anus. The more your dog licks and rubs at this sensitive area, the more damage they can do, resulting in many of the conditions listed above.

Dog ruptured anal-gland abscess home treatment

While a ruptured anal gland abscess is a serious condition that usually requires veterinary intervention, there are a few things that owners can do at home to help speed up their dog’s recovery. These include:

  • Keep the infected area clean by gently bathing it with warm water and an appropriate antiseptic solution.
  • Holding an ice pack on your dog’s anus can help reduce swelling and provide temporary comfort for your dog.
  • If your dog is excessively licking at the area then they will need an Elizabethan collar; licking will only irritate the area further and slow the healing process.
  • Ensure that your pet is eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of rest for their body to heal itself.

I can’t stress enough that these are not substitutes for veterinary intervention but should be used in conjunction with whatever treatments your vet prescribes.

Contacting Your Vet if Anal Gland Problems Persist

While home remedies might offer temporary relief, it’s always important to consult a professional, particularly when it comes to sensitive areas like your dog’s bottom. If you notice any signs of inflammation (such as redness), infection (pus discharge), extreme discomfort, or bleeding from your pet’s rear end, it’s essential to consult with a vet as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that not all cases require expressing; sometimes, doing this unnecessarily can lead to complications. So, let the professionals handle what needs to be done. In extreme situations, your dog may need a procedure to flush its anal glands, which involves catheterizing the small holes where the anal glands empty and filling them with sterile saline.

For dogs with recurrent anal gland problems, it’s even possible to have their anal glands removed. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified veterinarian when you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, as we are here to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy.

Dog ruptured anal-gland abscess treatment cost

The cost of treating a ruptured anal-gland abscess in a dog can vary depending on the severity of the condition and time it takes to heal. But in general, costs can range from anywhere between $100-300 for medical treatment. If your dog needs a procedure to flush out their anal glands under general anaesthetic then the costs could be more.


Can I treat my dog’s swollen anus at home?

There are some at-home treatments that can provide temporary relief for a dog’s swollen anus, such as applying warm compresses and increasing their dietary fiber intake. However, more severe cases require veterinary intervention to ensure proper care.

How can I soothe my dog’s anus?

To soothe your dog’s swollen anus, gently apply a warm compress on the affected area or give your dog a lukewarm bath with Epsom salts. These methods have provided relief to many of my patients in the past.

Can you treat a dog’s swollen anus at home with Epsom salt?

Yes, Epsom salt baths can be an effective at-home treatment for a dog’s swollen anus. Just make sure the water is lukewarm and not hot for your furry friend’s comfort.

What if my dog’s anus is swollen?

If your dog’s anus is swollen, it could indicate a problem with their anal glands. It is important to seek veterinary advice immediately if symptoms persist or worsen.

How to tell if a dog’s anal glands are full?

The symptoms of full anal glands in dogs include licking at their rear end, rubbing their bottom along the ground (scooting), looking at their rear end frequently and straining to poop.

Do cats have anal glands?

Cats do indeed have anal glands similar to dogs, and although they’re generally less prone to issues, cats can suffer from full, impacted or even infected anal glands.

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