Smelly Butts (and these aren't cigarettes)

What is all this stuff about anal sacs? Everyone talks about the need to empty their dog's anal sacs. I have never had male dogs (females for over 20 years) and now have two. Is this something else I need to be concerned about? What in the world are they and where? Of course I assume they are on the butt somewhere but I don't exactly know where to go looking... should I be looking?

Anal sacs are located just inside the rectum to either side of the anus. Males and females both have them. They extrude a wretched-smelling liquid with each bowel movement the dog has and are added into the feces. It's what makes a dog's butt so interesting to smell by other dogs (and really weird people :-) as well as their feces. It's a nice little signature odor that personalizes each dog and its droppings. As long as the stool is firm enough to press against the sacs on the way out, they will empty normally. Sometimes they get infected or impacted if the stool is too loose for a long enough period or there is a physical problem with the sacs. Ever scare your dog on accident (or on purpose .... I don't know) and get that foul-smelling odor filling the air? That's from the anal sacs that have emptied by physical pressure from the dog contracting its muscles suddenly. It doesn't wash off and lingers in the air for what seems like days. Thank your lucky stars if you don't experience this regularly (it's very different than gas - hey you asked!).

If your dogs don't have a problem with their anal glands, say a thanks to whatever deity you choose to thank and forget about it. Do NOT go probing your dog looking for them. On behalf of dogs everywhere, I say - let sleeping dogs lie.... and leave their butts alone :-)

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