Dog Anal Glands Bleeding [Solutions and Prevention]

Zack Keithy, our author, has been a certified veterinarian technician for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers. Learn more about us here.

Anal gland bleeding in dogs is a concerning condition that can be indicative of various underlying issues.

When these glands become impacted, infected, or irritated, they can lead to discomfort, pain and even bleeding.

Shockingly, at least to me, about 15.7% of dogs suffer from anal gland diseases.

If you see your dog’s anal glands bleeding, you would want to read this article to find out what you should do next and how to prevent it too.

Medical Questions? Talk to a Veterinarian 24/7.
Connect one-on-one with a licensed vet who will answer your questions in minutes.

Ask a Vet Now or Schedule a home visit

*Article may contain affiliate links to retailers like Amazon and Chewy. Learn more on our disclosure page.

What Causes a Dog’s Anal Glands to Bleed? 9 Potential Reasons

What Causes a Dog's Anal Glands to Bleed?

There are a few factors that can contribute to a dog’s anal glands bleeding, making it a distressing issue for both pets and their owners.

This is why having pet insurance for dogs can be immensely beneficial in such situations, as it can help cover the costs of veterinary visits, treatments, and surgeries, ensuring that your furry friend receives the necessary care without straining your finances.

This financial support can provide peace of mind and enable you to prioritize your dog’s health and well-being.

Hopefully, you are covered, and now let’s dive into the reasons.

1. Infection

Infection in a dog’s anal glands can be a significant contributor to bleeding and discomfort.

When the anal glands become infected, it typically results from the accumulation of bacteria within the glands, leading to inflammation and potential abscess formation.

The infection can cause the glands to swell, become painful, and eventually rupture, releasing purulent material and blood.

How do you know if your dog’s glands are infected?

Common signs of an infected anal gland include redness, swelling, foul odor, excessive licking or scooting, and difficulty defecating.

This can be due to various factors, including underlying health conditions, poor gland function, or blockages that trap bacteria.

What’s important now is to take prompt veterinary attention when infection is suspected, as untreated infections can lead to more severe complications and prolonged discomfort for the dog.

2. Impaction

Anal gland impaction in dogs occurs when the anal sacs do not empty properly, leading to the accumulation of thickened secretions within the glands.

When this happens, they can put pressure on the surrounding tissues, causing irritation and sometimes bleeding.

Dogs with anal gland impaction may show signs such as scooting their rear end on the ground, excessive licking or biting at the anal area, discomfort when sitting or defecating, and a swollen or distended appearance near the anus.

In most cases, this is often attributed to factors such as obesity, poor gland function, or dietary issues that affect stool consistency.

3. Abscess

An anal gland abscess in dogs is a painful and potentially serious condition that can lead to bleeding, among other symptoms.

It occurs when an infection within one of the anal glands progresses to the point where it forms a pocket of pus.

This abscess can cause severe discomfort, swelling, and pain around the anal area, making it painful for the dog to defecate or sit comfortably.

If it’s not untreated, the abscess can rupture, resulting in the release of foul-smelling, purulent material and blood, as well as the risk of the infection spreading to surrounding tissues.

Anal gland abscesses often require immediate veterinary attention, which may involve draining the abscess, administering antibiotics, and addressing any underlying causes to prevent recurrence.

4. Tumors or growths

Tumors or growths in a dog’s anal region can be a concerning and potentially serious issue that may lead to bleeding.

These growths can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), and they can originate from various tissues in and around the anal area, including the anal glands themselves, the rectum, or nearby soft tissues.

Symptoms may include bleeding, swelling, pain, changes in bowel movements, and difficulty defecating.

Early diagnosis through veterinary examination and diagnostic tests such as biopsies will help to determine the nature of the growth and allow for planning an appropriate treatment strategy.

While benign growths can often be managed with surgical removal, malignant tumors may require more aggressive treatments like surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.

5. Trauma

Trauma to a dog’s anal area can result in bleeding and a range of other health issues.

Such trauma can occur due to various factors, including accidents, falls, aggressive encounters with other animals, or even excessive or forceful cleaning of the anal area (which is why I usually don’t recommend owners express their own dogs!).

Injuries can vary in severity, from minor abrasions to more significant wounds or fractures.

In severe cases, trauma may cause internal injuries, such as damage to the anal glands or rectal tissue.

Symptoms may include visible bleeding, pain, swelling, difficulty defecating, and changes in behavior.

Depending on the extent of the trauma, treatment may involve wound care, pain management, antibiotics to prevent infection, and sometimes surgical intervention. 

6. Anal gland hyperplasia

Hyperplasia typically occurs when the cells within the anal glands multiply excessively, causing them to expand in size.

This condition may be linked to chronic inflammation or irritation of the glands.

Dogs with anal gland hyperplasia may display symptoms such as scooting, licking the anal area, discomfort during defecation, and visible swelling near the anus.

Veterinarians can diagnose this condition through a physical examination and, if necessary, may recommend treatment options such as gland expression, dietary changes, or medications to manage inflammation.

If these don’t work, surgical removal of the affected glands may be considered. 

7. Anal sacculitis

Anal sacculitis, also known as sacculitis or inflammation of the anal sacs, is a painful condition that can lead to bleeding and discomfort in dogs.

It occurs when the anal glands, located on either side of the dog’s anus, become inflamed due to various factors, including infections, allergies, or blockages.

Inflamed anal sacs can cause a range of symptoms, including scooting, excessive licking or biting at the rear end, discomfort when sitting, and occasionally, visible bleeding or discharge from the anal area.

Left untreated, anal sacculitis can progress to more severe complications, such as abscess formation or rupture.

A trip to the vet would involve a physical examination, and treatment may include expressing the anal sacs, antibiotics to treat any underlying infections, dietary adjustments to improve stool consistency, and medications to manage the inflammation and pain. 

8. Allergies or skin conditions

Allergies and skin conditions in dogs can sometimes contribute to bleeding in the anal area due to the dog’s excessive licking or biting in response to itching or discomfort.

Allergies can be triggered by various factors, including food, environmental allergens like pollen or dust mites, or contact allergens.

These allergies often manifest as itching, skin redness, rash, and hair loss.

When a dog with allergies incessantly licks or chews the anal region, it tends to lead to abrasions or raw spots, which may end up bleeding.

Similarly, underlying skin conditions such as dermatitis, fungal infections, or parasitic infestations can also cause itching and irritation, prompting the dog to scratch or bite the affected area.

9. Straining during bowel movements

Straining during bowel movements in dogs can sometimes lead to bleeding from the anal area.

When a dog experiences difficulty or pain while passing stools, it may push too hard or strain excessively.

This can put pressure on the delicate blood vessels around the anus and cause small tears or bleeding, a condition known as rectal bleeding or hematochezia.

Several factors can contribute to straining during bowel movements in dogs, including constipation, dietary issues anal gland problems, or underlying medical conditions like colitis or tumors in the rectal or anal area.

If this happens to your dog, dietary adjustments, increased fiber intake, hydration, and medications are all ways to manage and resolve the issue.

Hey there, sorry to interrupt but I wanted to tell you about an online vet service I’ve been using for years.

An in-person visit with one is great, but it’s not always an option.

Now, thanks to technology, you can speak to one without leaving your home.

Remote access
Avoidance of travel
Reduced stress for pets
Immediate access to experts
Quick response time
Schedule appointments easily

Got something to ask a vet?
Talk to one anytime, 24/7.


* Don’t use this service for emergencies.

Alternatively, a vet can come out to you instead (exclusive to our readers: use THEVETS15 for 15% off).


Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.

How To Know If Dog Has A Problem With Its Anal Glands?

You’re cuddling with your furry buddy when suddenly, they start scooting their bottom on the carpet.

It’s not just an odd dance move; it could be a sign of TROUBLE with their anal glands. 

Let’s explore how to know if your dog has a ‘behind-the-scenes’ issue with those sneaky anal glands. Keep an eye out for these clues:

  1. Scooting: Your dog might do the ‘scoot and drag’ across the floor as if they’re moonwalking in reverse.
  2. Excessive Licking: If they’re constantly licking their rear end, it could be a hint.
  3. Fishy Odor: A strong, fishy smell around their tail area can be a giveaway, especially if your dog’s bum still smells after having its glands expressed.
  4. Swelling or Redness: If you spot any visible swelling or redness near the anus, it’s time to investigate.

Our fur babies can’t talk, so they rely on us to notice these signals and take action.

Let’s keep in mind these signs to keep our dogs happy and healthy.

What Should You Do if Your Dog’s Anal Glands Are Bleeding?

What Should You Do if Your Dog's Anal Glands Are Bleeding?

I can’t stress this enough: Contact your veterinarian without delay to schedule an examination and receive professional guidance.

And please avoid attempting any home treatments or expressing the glands yourself, as this can lead to further complications.

Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for treatment and care to a tee, which likely includes administering antibiotics or other medications and providing wound care if necessary.

How Will Your Veterinarian Treat Infected Or Ruptured Scent Glands?

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the clinic?

Since I’ve worked at one for years, I’ve got a pretty good idea of how your veterinarian will treat those pesky glands, ensuring your dog gets back to their tail-wagging best.

  1. Examination: Your vet will start by giving your furry buddy a thorough check-up. They’ll look at the affected area and assess your dog’s overall health. This examination helps them understand the extent of the issue.
  2. Antibiotics: If there’s an infection, your vet may prescribe antibiotics. These medications combat the harmful bacteria causing the problem. 
  3. Warm Compresses: To ease discomfort and promote healing, warm compresses may be applied to the area. Think of it as a warm, soothing towel for your pup’s rear end.
  4. Anal Gland Expression: Sometimes, your vet might need to manually express the anal glands. This procedure clears out the built-up fluids, providing relief. 
  5. Pain Relief: If your dog is in pain, your vet may prescribe pain relief medication. This helps your furry friend feel better during the healing process. 
  6. Follow-Up Care: Your vet will guide you on at-home care. This could include cleaning the area or giving medications. You become the hero’s sidekick, helping your dog recover.

How to Prevent Dog Anal Gland Problems?

It’s a touchy subject and one that lots of dog owners are unaware of.

The simple fact is that preventing dog anal gland problems involves a combination of good hygiene practices, dietary considerations, and regular veterinary care.

Here are my top tips:

  • Maintaining your dog’s overall health through a balanced diet rich in fiber can help regulate bowel movements, reducing the risk of impaction. Does pumpkin help dogs express glands? You bet it does.
  • Ensuring your dog stays at a healthy weight can also contribute to normal anal gland function. Remember, obese dogs will have a ton of problems, not just this.
  • Regular exercise can help maintain muscle tone, which aids in natural gland expression. You should provide your dog with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and playtime!
  • Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior and any signs of anal gland issues, such as leaving brown spots on the bed or if you notice your dog still in pain after having their glands expressed, as early detection can prevent more severe problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What if your dog continues scooting after anal glands treatment?

If your dog continues scooting after receiving treatment for anal gland issues, it could indicate that the underlying problem hasn’t been fully resolved or that there may be additional complications. While anal gland treatment often provides relief from discomfort and reduces the urge to scoot, persistent scooting could mean that the glands are still impacted, or infected or there may be other issues like allergies, skin irritation, or parasites contributing to the discomfort. In such cases, you need to revisit your veterinarian for a follow-up examination. 

Will removal of dog anal glands have any adverse effects?

Removing the anal glands can result in complications such as fecal incontinence, where the dog may struggle to control bowel movements. This is because the anal glands play a role in maintaining the rectal tone. Also, surgery carries inherent risks, including infection, anesthesia-related complications, and the need for a longer recovery period.

Are anal gland issues likely to recur?

The recurrence of anal gland problems in dogs can differ based on the underlying cause and the effectiveness of their management. While some dogs may have occasional anal gland issues that resolve with treatment and do not frequently return, others may develop chronic and recurring problems.

In Conclusion: Dog Anal Glands Bleeding

As you now know, dog anal gland bleeding can result from various underlying factors, and recognizing the signs of anal gland issues and seeking prompt veterinary care is your best bet to diagnose and address the problem effectively.

I highly recommend that you pay more attention to preventive measures, such as a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and regular veterinary check-ups, all of which can help reduce the risk of such incidents arising.

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

Share this post!
Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

no more bad dog breaths banner