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Grooming - Anal Glands

 Maltipoo Anal Glands


All dogs (both male and female) have anal glands, also known as scent glands. Many owners do not pay attention or even notice these glands until there is a problem.

Proper care and grooming of your Maltipoo must include the care of these glands. With many dogs, one time or another, the glands will need to be expressed. This will be due to them engorging with fluid or becoming impacted in which case the liquid will turn into a paste-like substance and causing discomfort and a trip to the veterinarian.  

Also, many Maltipoo owners see their puppy or dog scooting, which is the action of rubbing their behind on the floor or ground. Some do not understand what this means. However, it often means that the dog's glands are bothering him or her and that behavior is their way to release the pressure. 
About Anal Glands

These are found on all dogs of both genders. There are actually 2 of them, found right under the skin that surrounds the Maltipoo’s anal muscles. There is one on each side. They hold a liquid that is secreted in very small amounts when dogs encounter each other. For this reason, they are also referred to as scent glands. Only a minuscule amount is released during these events; however this is all that is needed for one dog to 'read' the scent of another. It relays information including the dog's gender, health status and even his mood.  Additionally, a small amount may be released when a dog pushes out a bowel movement. 

If Anal Sacs Swell and Break Open

The glands may fill up with too much fluid. If so, this is referred to as being engorged. If you know what your dog's anal glands normally look like, you will be able to take note if they appear swollen. When this happens, it stretches the sensitive anal skin and can cause itching, discomfort or both.  When they are swollen in this way, they may break open. This may happen when the dog scoots or if he pushed out a large and/or stool.  

Scooting - Scooting is the motion that a dog makes when they rub their rear end across the floor or ground. Many dogs will do this on either carpeting or grass since this provides a rough textured surface to scratch the 'itch' of swollen glands. The roughness of the surface and the motion that the dog makes can cause the skin to rip open.

Licking - When the skin stretches and the area is itching and uncomfortable, dogs may lick their butt as a method to scratch at it.

Bowel movements- Sometimes, when a Maltipoo eliminates, if the bowel movement is very hard or large, it will press against the swollen sacs and cause the secretions to come out. 

If the glands burst open in this way, the oil will spill out. It has an exceedingly overwhelming bad odor. Some equate this to a skunk smell and others describe it as a thick, musty smell. In any case, it is strong enough to make the most composed person swoon. The liquid itself will be a dark brown color and strong cleanser will need to be used if this has happened on carpeting. 

If the skin breaks in this way, a Maltipoo will feel relief since the pressure is released. However, that skin will now be quite vulnerable to infection until it heals closed. You may wish to dab this with some antibiotic gel right before your dog lies down for the night. Also, keep an eye on the area. This should be checked by a veterinarian is the skin becomes red, swollen or otherwise shows signs of infection. 
Impacted Glands

Troubles can arise if the oil builds up to the point of being engorged but the glands are not expressed either manually by an owner, groomer or vet or by the dog due to scooting.  For this reason, as soon as you notice that they are filling up or you see that your Maltipoo is rubbing his rear across the floor, they should be expressed.  If not, the fluid may congeal and turn into a thick, paste-like substance that some compare to the consistency of peanut butter. 

In these instances, a veterinarian will need to perform a minor surgical procedure. Dogs are first given a sedative.  A small incision is made on each sac and a catheter will be put into the duct of the gland. The vet will then slowly inject water into the gland until the thickened substance is removed. They are then flushed out with water and fluids to prevent infection. Most veterinarians will then inject an antibiotic ointment into the glands to protect against any possible bacterial infection. A prescribed oral antibiotic may be given for 7 to 10 days afterward. 
Expressing the Anal Glands

Some dogs are prone to engorgement issues and for others it will be a random, infrequent problem. In all cases, as soon as they are noticeably swollen or the dog is scooting, they will need to be expressed to avoid having them break open which can be very unhygienic. 

This involves 'popping' them, which is similar to how a human may pop a pimple; though it must be noted that this should be done in a sterile environment.  This can be done by an owner, a groomer or by a veterinarian. Since this is not the easiest task, a dog rarely stays still for this and due to the oil having an overwhelmingly noxious odor, most owners choose to have the groomer or vet perform this not-so-pleasant task. The normal cost of this in the US will range between $10 and $20 USD. It is a fast procedure (for those experienced in doing this) and usually takes no longer than 10 minutes start to finish.  

If you did decide that you wanted to express your Maltipoo's anal glands yourself, you would want to place your dog in the bathtub to contain the mess and be best able to clean up afterward and rinse the oil away. As if “popping a pimple”, you will want to put a finger on each side of the sac. You then will press upwards and inwards towards the rectum. If you do not see the fluid come out, you will then want to have your dog's vet or groomer take care of this. If you want to learn the exact technique, the vet or groomer should be able to show you how they perform this action and then you may wish to try on your own again.

Unless the anal glands are surgically removed (which is only done in extreme cases of a dog having chronic, severe problems with them), you cannot stop them from filling with fluid. You can, however, make sure that they do not fill to the point of becoming a health problem

Check the glands at least each month to see if they have grown enough to be visible. You can also have your dog’s vet or the dog groomer check the glands at each visit. Many dog groomers express the sacs as part of the normal dog grooming process and for dogs that are prone to fluid build-up, keeping appointments to have them routinely expressed should prevent any issues. This may need to be done as often as once every three months. 
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