Dog Gland Removal Pros and Cons

As a dog owner, you may have heard of anal glands and how they can cause your furry friend discomfort. But did you know that there is a solution to this problem? In this article, we will explore the possibility of removing a dog’s anal glands, its benefits, and its potential drawbacks.

Can a dog’s anal glands be removed?

Dogs have two small glands located just inside their anus, called anal glands. These glands produce a smelly, oily substance that is used for marking territory. Sometimes these glands can become clogged and infected, causing pain and discomfort for the dog. In some cases, the vet may recommend removing the anal glands.

Removing the anal glands is a surgical procedure that is typically performed under general anesthesia. The vet will make a small incision near the anus and carefully remove the glands. The recovery time for this procedure can vary depending on the dog’s overall health and the extent of the surgery. Some dogs may need to stay in the hospital for a few days, while others may be able to go home the same day.

Anal gland removal is considered a permanent solution and after the procedure, the dog will no longer produce the smelly, oily substance. This can be beneficial for dogs that have chronic problems with their anal glands, such as frequent infections or abscesses. However, the removal of anal glands may not solve the underlying problem that caused the glands to become infected or clogged in the first place.

This procedure carries risks like any surgical procedure, such as bleeding, infection, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Therefore, consult with a veterinarian with expertise in this area and weigh the pros and cons of the procedure before making a decision.

Pros and Cons of Dog Gland Removal

Relief from discomfort and pain: One of the main advantages of anal gland removal is that it can provide relief from discomfort and pain caused by infected or blocked glands. This can be especially beneficial for dogs that are prone to recurring anal gland issues.

Reduced risk of infection: Removing the anal glands can also reduce the risk of infection, as there is no longer a gland present to become infected. This can lead to a healthier and more comfortable dog.

Improved hygiene: Anal glands can produce a very unpleasant odor, and removing them can improve your dog’s hygiene and reduce the overall smell in your home.

Better quality of life: By eliminating the discomfort and pain associated with anal gland issues, your dog’s overall quality of life can be greatly improved.

Surgery risks: As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with anal gland removal. These can include bleeding, infection, and complications from anesthesia.

Cost: Anal gland removal can be a costly procedure, and it may not be covered by pet insurance.

Incontinence: In rare cases, dogs may experience incontinence after anal gland removal. This can be caused by damage to the sphincter muscles that control the release of urine and feces.

Recurrent issues: Although anal gland removal can eliminate the discomfort and pain caused by infected or blocked glands, it may not prevent the issue from recurring.

Risk of malignancy: As anal glands have a risk of malignancy, it is important to have an experienced veterinarian to diagnose and remove any malignant tumors.

How much does it cost to remove dog anal glands?

The cost to remove a dog’s anal glands can vary depending on the location, the veterinarian performing the procedure, and the dog’s individual needs. On average, the cost can range from $300 to $1,000. However, in some cases, the cost may be higher if the dog requires additional tests or treatment before or after the procedure.

The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia and involves the removal of the glands through a small incision in the dog’s anus. The recovery time for the dog can vary, but most dogs are able to return to normal activity within a few days.

Anal gland removal is considered a major surgery and should only be performed by a veterinarian with experience in the procedure. Additionally, it’s essential to follow post-operative care instructions provided by the veterinarian to ensure proper healing and recovery.

In general, it’s also recommended to consider other options before resorting to surgery, such as changes in diet, weight management, and regular expression of the glands by a professional groomer or vet.

My dog still scooting after glands removed

Here are some possible reasons why a dog may still be scooting after their anal glands have been removed:

1. Impacted or infected anal glands

Even though the glands have been removed, the area can still become impacted or infected. This can cause discomfort and the dog may continue to scoot in an attempt to alleviate the pain.

2. Sensitive skin

Some dogs may have sensitive skin in the anal area which can be irritated by certain types of food, grooming products, or even certain types of poop. This can cause discomfort and lead to scooting.

3. Allergic reaction

It is possible that the dog may have an allergic reaction to the surgery or the materials used during the procedure. This can cause itching and discomfort in the anal area, leading to scooting.

4. Post-surgery complications

In rare cases, there may be complications from the surgery such as an infection or wound that has not healed properly. This can cause discomfort and lead to scooting.

5. Behavioral issue

Scooting can also be a behavioral issue and not necessarily a medical one. In this case, work with a behaviorist to determine the underlying cause and address it.

If your dog is still scooting after their glands have been removed, consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan. This may involve additional testing or medications to alleviate discomfort and address any potential complications from the surgery. Proper follow-up care is crucial to ensure the best outcome for your pet.

FAQs about dog anal gland removal

To help you better understand this process, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions.

1. What are dog anal glands?

Anal glands, also known as anal sacs, are small sacs located on either side of a dog’s anus. These glands contain a foul-smelling liquid that is used by dogs to mark their territory and communicate with other dogs.

2. Why do dogs need to have their anal glands removed?

Dogs may need to have their anal glands removed if they become impacted or infected. Impacted anal glands can cause discomfort, pain, and even infection. In some cases, removal is necessary to prevent further health problems.

3. What are the signs of impacted anal glands in dogs?

Dogs with impacted anal glands may show signs of discomfort, such as scooting their hindquarters on the ground or licking their anal area excessively. They may also exhibit signs of pain, including whining or yelping when touched near their anus.

4. What happens during a dog anal gland removal procedure?

During a dog anal gland removal procedure, the vet will make a small incision near the dog’s anus and remove the impacted or infected gland. The dog will be under anesthesia during the procedure to prevent pain and discomfort.

5. Is dog anal gland removal a painful procedure?

The dog will be under anesthesia during the procedure, so they will not feel any pain. However, they may experience discomfort during the recovery period.

6. What is the recovery process like for a dog after anal gland removal?

The recovery process for a dog after anal gland removal can vary depending on the individual dog and the severity of the procedure. However, most dogs will need to wear a cone to prevent them from licking or biting the incision site. They may also need to take pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection. The dog will need to avoid strenuous activity and keep the incision site clean until it has fully healed.

7. Are there any risks associated with dog anal gland removal?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with dog anal gland removal. These risks include infection, bleeding, and reaction to anesthesia. However, these risks can be minimized by choosing a qualified and experienced veterinarian.

8. How can I prevent my dog from needing anal gland removal in the future?

Preventing anal gland problems in dogs can be done by maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Additionally, regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help identify any potential issues early on.


Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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