The Root of the Behavior
Bowel movements are not the only way his anal sacs are expressed. If he becomes excited, scared, or nervous his sphincter muscles will contract just as they do when he has a bowel movement and express the glands. He will immediately smell like rotting fish. If you are not sure if that horrible smell is emanating from your dog, you can look for other signs of fear that he may express including a hidden tail, licking of his lips, excessive drooling, stiff fur on his back, and a crouched or lowered posture. Also, when your dog is afraid, not only can he express his glands but dogs sometimes also urinate and defecate, making the smell even worse. Many owners are dismayed when they pick up their precious pup from the veterinarian or groomer, expecting a freshly cleaned fur-baby, and he stinks. While he undoubtedly had a bath, he also most likely expressed his glands because he was afraid of the grooming experience.
Encouraging the Behavior
A dog’s glands can get impacted and infected if they are not expressed often enough. A dog suffering from impacted glands will often scoot his bottom on the ground or lick and nip at his anus in an effort to relieve the discomfort. Dogs of any age or breed can suffer from impacted or infected glands, but the problem is more common in small breeds such as Lhasa Apsos, Miniature Poodles, Toy Poodles, and Chihuahuas as well as medium size breeds such as Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, and Basset Hounds. If you suspect your dog’s glands are impacted or getting infected, it is important to take him to the veterinarian for a complete exam. An infection will require treatment with antibiotics and perhaps compresses to relieve the pain while he heals. An abscess may need surgery to remove the damage and infected tissue as well as to drain the fluid. Dogs who frequently deal with infections should have their glands checked often to avoid further problems.