Anal Glands (Sacs)

Anal gland disease is a common problem in dogs. The anal glands can become blocked and infected. Affected dogs may lick the anal area or scoot along the floor. If your Westie's glands become blocked you need to take him to the vet for them to be emptied.

The anal glands are located on each side of the anal opening. A tiny duct leads under the skin to an opening directly beside the anus. Dogs use them for territorial marking or as a form of communication. When you Westie passes a stool, it will put pressure on the anal glands and they will deposit a secretion on the surface of the stool. Other dogs will then able to tell who has been in that location.

Anal glands that become blocked can cause infections, the softness of the stool will dictate how much the gland will deposit. If the stool is too soft, very little is deposited and this can lead to them becoming blocked.


Treatment and prevention, If the glands become blocked, a vet will clean them out, or 'express' them. This empties the glands of all material.  If your Westie has this problem regular, you should try to increase the amount of fibre he eats. The fibre makes the animal's stool more bulky. The stool will put more pressure on the anal glands and hopefully the glands will express themselves when he defecates.