If your dog has ever had their glands expressed, you know that the smell can be pretty overwhelming. But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to get rid of the dog gland smell on your furniture.
Dogs and Their Glands
Dogs have two types of glands that secrete oils — sebaceous glands and apocrine glands. The sebaceous glands are located all over your dog’s body and produce the majority of the oil that keeps his skin and coat healthy. Apocrine glands are found in your dog’s armpits and groin area and their secretions mix with sweat to produce the distinct “doggie smell” that you may notice when your pooch gets wet.
Why Do Dogs Have Glands?
Dogs have two types of glands: anal sacs and scent glands. Each type of gland serves a different purpose.
Anal sacs are small, pea-sized glands located on either side of a dog’s anus. These glands produce a foul-smelling liquid that is used to mark territory. When a dog defecates, the liquid is released, leaving a smelly “calling card” for other dogs to sniff.
Scent glands are located in a dog’s skin, typically around the face, tail, and paws. These glands produce an oily substance that helps dogs spread their unique scent. When your dog rubs against you or your furniture, his scent is transferred to these objects.
The Function of Dog Glands
Many people are unaware that their dogs have glands located around their anus. These glands serve an important function in your dog’s health, but if they become full or infected, they can cause your dog a great deal of discomfort and may lead to serious health problems.
The primary function of the anal glands is to release a foul-smelling liquid when your dog defecates. This liquid contains pheromones that help your dog mark its territory and communicate with other dogs. In some cases, the liquid may also help lubricate your dog’s stool, making it easier for them to pass.
How to Tell if Your Dog Needs Their Glands Expressed
Anal sac disease is caused by a buildup of fluids in the anal sacs, which are two small glands located on either side of your dog’s anus. If these fluids become infected, they can leak out and cause a nasty smell. Your dog may also show signs of discomfort, such as licking their anus or scooting their bottom along the ground.
If you suspect your dog has anal sac disease, take them to the vet for an evaluation. The vet will be able to confirm the diagnosis and recommend treatment options, which may include expression of the anal glands.
The Gland Expression Process
The first step is to lift your dog’s leg and take a good look at the area around the glands. If you see any redness, swelling, or drainage, do not attempt to express the glands. These could be signs of an infection, and you should take your dog to the vet immediately.
If the area around the gland looks healthy, you can proceed with expressing the glands. The best way to do this is to use a cotton ball or gauze pad soaked in warm water. Apply gentle pressure to the area around the gland and squeeze until you see a small amount of thick, yellowish liquid being expressed. Wipe away any excess liquid and give your dog a treat for being such a good sport!
How to Prevent Gland Smells in the Future
You can prevent dog gland smells in the future by regularly cleaning your dog’s anal glands. This is a fairly easy task that you can do at home with some simple supplies. All you need is a mild soap, warm water, and a cotton ball.
First, wet the cotton ball with warm water. Then, add a small amount of mild soap to the cotton ball. Gently scrub your dog’s anal glands with the cotton ball until they are clean. Rinse the area well with warm water to remove all traces of soap. Repeat this process every week to keep your dog’s anal glands clean and free of odor-causing bacteria.
Other Ways to Prevent Gland Smells
- Groom your dog regularly. This will help to remove any dirt, debris, or potential sources of odor from your dog’s coat. Be sure to pay special attention to the areas around your dog’s glands.
- Keep your dog clean and dry. Regular baths with a mild dog shampoo will help to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy and free of any smells. After bathing, be sure to dry your dog thoroughly, especially in the areas around the glands. You may also want to consider using a pet-specific antiperspirant or deodorant in these areas.
- Feed your dog a healthy diet. A balanced diet can go a long way towards keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy – and free of odors.
- Give your dog plenty of exercise. Exercise helps to improve circulation and can also help to reduce stress levels, both of which can help to stave off glandular problems (and the smells that come with them).
When to Seek Veterinary Help for Glandular Issues
If your dog has never had his glands expressed and you are not comfortable doing it yourself, make an appointment with your veterinarian or groomer to have it done. Anal gland problems can also be a sign of other health issues, so if you notice your dog scooting or licking his back end excessively, make an appointment with your vet to rule out any possible medical causes.