What are anal glands?
Anal glands are two small pouches of watery to sticky material that exists just inside the anus of all dogs. They sit at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock on the anus of the dog, if you visualise a clock, as you look from behind, under the skin and below the last inch of the rectum.
What do anal glands in dogs do?
Anal glands in dogs are used in the complex scent communication life of a dog. A dog’s stool in itself tells a sniffing friend a lot about the dog – what they’ve eaten, how healthy they are and how recently they deposited the turd, usually marking out territory.
In addition, the anal glands put a smear of anal gland material, juice, stuff on the stool which gives more information about the previous owner of the stool – individual identifiers, like a finger-print, pheromones to indicate if bitches are in season or how mature a male is or, again, how healthy they are and therefore how much of a threat they may represent.
I always describe anal gland material in dogs is like a man wearing a fancy or whacky tie, or a woman a discreet brooch or flamboyant scarf – it’s all to do with communicating who you are and what you may be able to do. Maybe you could call it the start of the advertising industry? It’s still (advertising that is) a pretty mucky business to this day!