Dog Diarrhea After Glands Expressed: Identifying Causes and Solutions

Dog Diarrhea After Glands Expressed: Identifying Causes and Solutions

an image of a dog with diarrhea accident

When your dog experiences diarrhea after having their anal glands expressed, it can be a distressing time for both you and your pet. Expressing anal glands is a common practice aimed at relieving discomfort that arises when these glands are full or impacted. Though it’s primarily a routine procedure, diarrhea can sometimes occur as a post-expression complication, causing concern for many pet owners.


Understanding the link between anal gland expression and subsequent diarrhea is essential. Anal glands, located on either side of your dog’s anus, secrete a smelly fluid used for marking territory. Occasionally, these glands do not empty properly during regular bowel movements, leading to discomfort or even infections which require manual intervention. If diarrhea follows this expression, it suggests your dog’s digestive system is reacting to the process or that the anal glands were irritated during the procedure.

Key Takeaways

  • Anal gland expression can lead to temporary diarrhea in some dogs.
  • Diarrhea may indicate a reaction to the expression process or irritation of the glands.
  • Consulting with a veterinarian is recommended if your dog’s post-expression diarrhea persists.

Understanding Dog Diarrhea

Diarrhea in dogs can be distressing for both you and your pet. Recognizing the causes and symptoms, knowing dietary adjustments, identifying common health issues, and learning about various treatments can support your dog’s recovery.

Causes and Symptoms

Causes of dog diarrhea can range from simple dietary indiscretions to serious medical conditions. Common causes include food intolerance, infections, and ingesting toxins. Symptoms to watch for include watery stool, increased frequency of bowel movements, dehydration, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Diarrhea may also be accompanied by vomiting.

Diet and Nutrition

Your dog’s diet is pivotal. Dietary changes and certain foods can trigger diarrhea. Fiber is essential in regulating bowel movements. If your dog is experiencing chronic diarrhea, consider a diet with appropriate fiber levels or introducing diet change as a solution. Food intolerance can also cause diarrhea, so pay attention to your dog’s reactions to new foods.

Common Health Issues and Concerns

Long-term diarrhea can lead to dehydration and nutrient deficiencies, so it’s important to address persistent symptoms promptly. Common health concerns related to diarrhea include inflammatory bowel disease and food allergies. Always consult a veterinarian if you suspect an underlying medical condition.

Treatment Approaches

Treatment for dog diarrhea could include home remedies for dog diarrhea such as a bland diet or probiotics (like DiarRice) to restore digestive health. However, more serious cases might require antibiotics or other medications prescribed by a veterinarian. Supplements may also be recommended to support the gastrointestinal tract.

Anal Gland Health in Dogs

Understanding anal gland health is crucial for the well-being of your dog. It involves recognizing signs of discomfort and the importance of regular checks to prevent complications.

Anal Glands Basics

Anal glands, also known as anal sacs, are small glands located on either side of your dog’s anus. They produce a smelly secretion that serves as pheromones for marking territory. Normally, these glands express naturally when your dog defecates.

Impacted Anal Glands and Complications

Impacted anal glands occur when the glands don’t empty properly. Signs of impacted glands include your dog scooting, irritation around the anus, or discomfort. If not treated, this can lead to infections, abscesses, or even more serious conditions like tumors or cancer.

Expressing Anal Glands

Expressing the anal glands involves squeezing the glands gently to release the buildup of secretion. This can often be performed at home; however, improper technique can cause harm, so it’s important to learn the correct method or leave it to a professional.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you notice signs of discomfort, such as excessive licking of the anal area, scooting, or a foul smell, seek veterinary care promptly. A professional can provide treatment for impacted or infected anal glands, which may involve expressing them or administering medication for inflammation or bacterial infection. Advanced conditions such as abscesses or tumors require immediate professional attention.

Preventive Measures and Home Care

Managing your dog’s health after their anal glands have been expressed is important to prevent diarrhea and other complications. Adequate dietary and lifestyle adjustments, proper hygiene practices, and the use of certain home remedies can contribute to your dog’s comfort and well-being.

Dietary and Lifestyle Management

To maintain a healthy weight and improve stool quality, feeding your dog a high-fiber diet helps to ensure normal bowel function and anal gland expression. Regular exercise not only keeps your dog fit but also aids in maintaining regular bowel movements. Monitoring your dog for any sensitivity to foods, and making dietary changes accordingly, can prevent incidents of diarrhea after gland expression.

Hygiene and Regular Check-Ups

Maintaining good hygiene is crucial. Ensure that your dog’s anal area is clean to prevent infections that can cause complications. Scheduling regular check-ups with your veterinarian allows for early detection and prevention of any issues related to the anal glands. Consistent veterinary care ensures that any need for manual gland expression is addressed properly.

Home Remedies and Supplements

Some home remedies and supplements can support your dog’s digestive health. Probiotics and prebiotics might enhance the gut flora, thereby improving digestion and stool consistency. However, before you administer any over-the-counter remedies, seek guidance from your veterinarian to ensure their safety and suitability for your dog’s specific health needs.

Professional Care and Intervention

When your dog experiences diarrhea after having their anal glands expressed, it’s essential to seek professional veterinary care. This section will guide you through the necessary steps for diagnosis, available treatments, and how to handle severe cases.

Veterinary Diagnosis and Treatment

Your veterinarian will first perform a thorough examination to determine the cause of your dog’s diarrhea. This may include palpation of the abdomen, checking for signs of inflammation or infection, and evaluating for possible tumors. If the glands were not emptied properly or if they became infected, immediate treatment is required. This might involve antibiotics for an infection, anti-inflammatory medications to reduce inflammation, and fluid therapy to address dehydration.

Advanced Treatments and Therapies

In certain cases, traditional treatment may not suffice. If your dog’s condition doesn’t improve, advanced treatments such as surgery may be necessary to resolve abscesses or remove tumors. Alternative therapies might include approaches like acupuncture to manage pain. Rest assured, professional veterinary care will utilize the most appropriate therapy for your pet’s specific needs.

Handling Severe Cases

For severe or unresponsive cases, your vet may need to use more aggressive treatment methods. This could involve surgery under sedative to treat infected or inflamed anal glands. Post-surgical care is critical to ensure a safe and swift recovery. If your pet is severely dehydrated, they may also require hospitalization to receive intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes. Your dog’s health and comfort are the top priorities when managing serious complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, you’ll find specific answers relating to common concerns after your dog’s anal gland expression, encompassing side effects, treatment, normalcy of certain reactions, and ways to ease discomfort.

What are common side effects after expressing a dog’s anal glands?

After anal glands are expressed, it’s not uncommon for dogs to experience temporary diarrhea or discomfort. Some may even have a temporary change in their bowel habits or stool consistency.

How can I treat my dog’s diarrhea following anal gland expression?

If your dog’s diarrhea persists after gland expression, ensure they stay hydrated. Consider a bland diet and consult your vet, who might suggest diet changes or medication to ease symptoms.

Is it normal for my dog to leak after having their glands expressed?

Slight leaking might occur temporarily post-expression. However, if leakage continues or worsens, contact your vet to rule out an infection or an improperly done expression.

What remedies help with gas in dogs after gland expression?

Gas after gland expression can be alleviated with an appropriate diet and possibly probiotics. Always consult your vet before giving any remedies to ensure they’re safe for your dog.

Can expressing a dog’s glands cause them pain, and how can it be alleviated?

Expressing anal glands may cause brief discomfort. If you’re concerned about pain or discomfort, talk to your vet about pain relief options, and use gentle techniques for expressing the glands.

Why might a dog develop diarrhea after a grooming session involving anal gland expression?

Diarrhea may occur after grooming due to stress or a reaction to the gland expression process. If the grooming session was stressful, it could result in a temporary gastrointestinal upset manifesting as diarrhea.

Dr. Jeff Kordell, DVM is a practicing veterinarian in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois Veterinary School. Dr. Kordell owns Animal Medical Center at Fort Sheridan and has had his own private practice for over 30 years. He is the co-founder of K&S Veterinary Labs LLC the maker of DiarRice.