This is a question that many pet owners wonder about. My dog is licking his rear end a lot, is this a sign of anal gland problems or something else? The answer is that many things could cause your dog to lick excessively in this area, but irritation from the anal glands is very likely. Although many people associate "scooting" as the main symptom of anal gland problems, licking the area is also a very common sign of underlying anal gland problems.
When the anal glands are full, they cause some swelling and/or discomfort for your dog. This can cause your dog to focus on that area and many dogs will lick an area that is uncomfortable. Another reason why anal gland problems could cause excessive licking is that the anal glands may be leaking. If the anal glands are full some of the fluid can start leaking out and your dog may try to groom themselves by licking the area.
Although anal gland problems are commonly the reason why your pet may be licking near the anal area there can be many other causes. Other reasons why a pet may lick the anal area excessively include skin allergies, infection, internal parasites (intestinal worms), fleas, tumors, and/or other causes. If your dog is licking the anal region excessively it is recommended that they be examined by your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to determine if the problem is stemming from the anal glands or something else.
Dr. James Bascharon, D.V.M.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or to replace proper medical attention. If your dog is experiencing anal gland problems or any other health issues you should seek a medical exam from your veterinarian.
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