Every dog and cat has two anal glands or sacs (one on each side of the anus). These glands are also known as "scent glands", because they enable the pet to mark its territory and to identify each other.

The anal sacs are normally expressed (emptied) by rectal pressure during defecation. The sacs can also be emptied by involuntary contraction. This involuntary contraction my be due to the pet being upset, frightened or under pressure.

When the anal glands fail to empty normally, the result can be impaction. Impaction is most common in small dog breeds, but can occur in any dog. In this case, the anal glands must be emptied both manually and regularly.

What to look for:

First sign of impaction is when your pet begins to scoot his/her rear along the carpet or floor.

Licking of the anal area can also signalize impaction.

Not only is impaction very frustrating and uncomfortable for your pet, but it can lead to an abscess or if necessary, complete removal of the anal glands.

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