The illustration above shows the relative size and position of the anal glands in dogs (often referred to as anal sacs). Note that the anal glands are internal and cannot be seen when viewing the rear end of a dog. When the anal glands become blocked or swollen they can enlarge which creates discomfort for your pet. Your pet may try to relieve this pressure by scooting or licking the area. This illustration shows only one enlarged anal gland but in most cases both anal glands are affected.
Symptoms of Anal Gland Problems in Dogs
If your pet's anal glands fill up excessively it can create pressure which can be very uncomfortable for your dog or cat. When this happens your dog might display symptoms of anal gland problems, the most common of which is scooting their rear end across the floor. Besides scooting, other symptoms of anal gland problems in dogs include a fishy or foul odor from your pet, excessive licking of the rear end, discomfort while walking or sitting, straining to defecate, or redness/swelling near the rear end.
Symptoms of Anal Gland Problems in Cats
In cats, it may be difficult to pinpoint any symptoms as cats are very good at masking their illness. One of the few signs that could indicate that your cat is having an anal gland issue is defecating outside of the litter box.