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How to Get Rid of Dog Anal Gland Smell (5 Easy Steps)

vet cleaning anal glands of a dog

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

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With a scent often described as “fishy,” anal gland smell is not one you’ll want hanging around your dog or house. Whether your dog has persistently leaky glands or is dealing with the aftereffects of a recent anal gland expression, you’ll want the scent gone fast. Here’s how to get rid of dog anal gland smell in 5 easy steps, both from your pet’s body and surfaces in your home.

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Before You Begin

Prevention is the best cure for anal gland odors. Most dogs naturally expel the stinky fluid from these sacs on either side of their anus when they poop. Help keep this process working normally by feeding a diet that keeps your dog’s poop firm enough to naturally express the glands.

Ask your vet for diet or supplement suggestions if you feel your dog’s poop could use some firming up. Some dogs simply need to have their glands expressed by hand regularly. Groomers or your vet’s staff can generally perform this task quickly and easily. Regular anal gland expression can reduce the smell by keeping excess fluid to a minimum, reducing leakage.

Supplies and Materials

Whether you’re cleaning the anal gland smell off your dog or your couch, you’ll need some basic supplies to accomplish this task. Depending on which method you use for your clean-up, you may need one or more of the following items:

  • Pet cleaning wipes
  • Ear cleaner
  • Gauze or a cloth
  • Enzymatic pet stain and odor cleaner
  • Deodorant
  • Dog shampoo

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How to Get Rid of Dog Anal Gland Smell

1. Use Pet Cleaning Wipes

person wiping off yorkshire terrier's butt
Image Credit: Robert Petrovic, Shutterstock

If your dog’s rear smells like anal glands, try using deodorizing pet cleaning wipes for a quick cleanup. Pet wipes are available in many scents, as well as hypoallergenic options. They’re a quick and convenient solution.

However, pet cleaning wipes are less effective on dogs with long hair near their anal glands. For these dogs, wipes may be insufficient to remove the smell and liquid clogging the long hair thoroughly.


2. Use Dog Ear Cleaning Solution

a bottle of pet ear cleaner
Image Credit: Maria Jose Silva Jimenez, Shutterstock

Because it’s usually conveniently on hand, many veterinarians use a dog ear cleaning solution, such as Epi-Otic, to remove the anal gland smell. Soak gauze or a cloth in the ear cleaner and use it to wipe your dog’s rear end. You can also use Epi-Otic on clothes and surfaces where the anal gland smell is present. Apply a generous amount of cleaner to the area and let it soak for a few minutes or until the smell is gone.

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3. Use Human Deodorant

Deodorant stick
Image Credit: Reda G, Shutterstock

If you’ve removed all the visible anal gland liquid, but the scent still lingers on your dog, try using a human deodorant, like Speed Stick, to deodorize your pup. Don’t apply the deodorant directly to your dog, but place some on a piece of gauze first.

Hold the deodorant gauze against your dog for a few minutes to help remove the odor. As a precaution, wipe the area with water or a pet cleaning wipe afterward to ensure no deodorant remains on your dog’s skin or coat.


4. Give Your Dog a “Butt Bath”

puppy beagle takes a bath in the backyard
Image Credit: Easy Morning, Shutterstock

Sometimes, especially for long-haired dogs, there’s no escaping the fact that your dog will need a bath to remove the anal gland smell. In most cases, you can get away with just giving your dog a “butt bath,” using water and dog shampoo but only on your dog’s rear end and legs. Make sure to rinse all the soap out thoroughly and dry your dog completely.


5. Use an Enzymatic Pet Cleaner

hand spraying the gray couch
Image Credit: y_seki, Shutterstock

To get rid of the anal gland smell on furniture and carpets, try an enzymatic pet cleaner, such as Nature’s Miracle. This cleaner breaks down the odor and removes it rather than just masking the scent. Follow the directions on the specific cleaner you choose for the best results. It’s a good idea to test the cleaner on the surface before using it to ensure it doesn’t bleach or stain it.

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Concerning Anal Gland Signs to Watch Out For

Full or leaking anal glands aren’t a cause for concern, just a stinky nuisance. However, dogs can develop tumors in and near their anal glands. Anal gland infections or abscesses are other common problems. Here are some signs to watch out for that could indicate your dog has a more serious anal gland issue:

  • Redness and swelling near the anus
  • Bloody discharge or pus from the glands
  • Constant scooting or chewing of the area
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Fever

If you notice these signs, have your dog checked out by your veterinarian. In extreme cases, your dog may need to have one or more anal glands surgically removed.

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Conclusion

Dealing with an anal gland smell is just one of the many joys of owning a dog. Fortunately, you can take steps to help prevent the odor. These five steps will help eliminate the smell if your prevention efforts are ineffective.  If you’re feeling bold, ask your groomer or vet to show you how to express your dog’s anal glands using pressure from the outside. This technique can save you time and money if your dog suffers from chronic anal gland issues.


Featured Image Credit: Yekatseryna Netuk, Shutterstock

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