4 Ways to Reduce Anal Gland Smell From Your Dog

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dog owner is trying to reduce her golden anal glands smell

Key Takeaways:

  1. Modified sweat glands produce a pungent fluid for territory marking and communication between dogs. 
  2. When you notice a fishy smell coming from your dog’s anal glands, you may be able to try a few simple approaches to reduce the odor.
  3. A fishy odor is usually a sign that your dog’s anal sacs aren’t emptying properly.
  4. When you notice a fishy odor or other signs of anal gland issues, call your vet.

Face it. No one likes the fishy odor of dog anal glands. So, what can you do if your furbaby starts stinking, And why do your dog’s anal glands smell so bad in the first place?

The pungent odor that might come from your dog’s butt is caused by the fluid produced by modified sweat glands known as anal glands. The liquid helps to lubricate the feces, mark your furbaby’s territory, and send messages to other dogs. Normally, you won’t smell the fluid, but if your pup has  The problem occurs when you can smell a fishy odor coming from your dog’s glands…

In this article, we’ll look at X things you can try to reduce the odor coming from your dog’s glands. After that, we’ll talk about dog anal glands and give you some tips for removing the anal gland smell from your house. We’ll finish by sharing signs that your dog’s anal glands need veterinary care.

Pet Wipes

If your dog’s derriere stinks, you can try cleaning it with pet wipes.  By using a hypoallergenic, deodorizing product such as Vetnique Labs Glandex Wipes, you can remove anal gland fluid from your dog’s rear and surrounding hair.

When selecting a pet wipe, look for products that include soothing ingredients like Vitamin E and aloe vera to help reduce inflammation. Pet wipes tend to work best on dogs with short hair. If your pup’s fur is long, there can be a residual odor because the oil might cling to the hair.

You can use pet wipes to clean your dog’s butt when he has some anal gland smell. Choose hypo-allergenic products with soothing ingredients. This option usually works better on dogs with shorter hair.

Ear Cleaner

Another way to clean your dog’s rear end and remove the anal gland odor is by using an ear-cleaning solution. These products contain ingredients that break down and remove oily materials. They also help to neutralize odors. Fortunately, many dog parents have ear cleaner on hand.

To wash your dog’s anus with ear cleaning solution, soak a clean cloth or a gauze pad with the fluid. Then, use the moistened cloth to wipe around the anus. Products like Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser are pH-balanced for your dog’s skin and made to be non-irritating.

Ear cleaning solutions include ingredients that break down oil and neutralize odors. You can soak a cloth in the cleanser and use it to wipe your dog’s butt. Choose products that are non-irritating and pH-balanced for canine skin.

Human Deodorant

After you wipe or wash your dog’s anus, you might still smell residual anal gland odor. If this happens, you can use human deodorant to help neutralize the smell. This may not be a long-term solution, but it should temporarily reduce the odor.

However, don’t apply these products directly to your furbaby’s butt. Some products may contain ingredients that are harmful or irritating to your dog.

Here’s what you can do: apply your deodorant to some gauze. You can use spray or stick products, but choose something that’s natural and unscented. Then, hold the gauze against your pal’s anus for a few minutes. Make sure to wipe the area afterward to prevent irritation. 

You can use human deodorant to help neutralize the anal gland smell. Don’t apply the product directly to your dog’s butt, and wipe the area when you’re done. This may work as a temporary way to reduce or neutralize anal gland odor.

Wash Fido’s Butt

You can use bathe your dog or at least wash his butt. Use a quality dog shampoo to remove any lingering anal gland fluid and eliminate odors. Some pet parents automatically bathe their dogs after having their anal glands expressed at the veterinarian to eliminate the fishy smell.

Wash your dog’s hind legs and rear end to make sure you get all the oils. Remember to thoroughly rinse all the soap residue from your dog’s skin and hair.

Bathe your dog’s butt with quality dog-safe shampoo to remove oils and odors. If you don’t wash the whole body, focus on your furbaby’s rear end and hind legs.

Understanding Dog Anal Gland Smell

If you’ve ever dealt with dog anal gland odor, you know it’s unpleasant, to say the least. Who wants a fishy odor wafting through the air? But why can dog’s butts get so stinky?

All members of the canine family have modified sweat glands known as anal glands that secrete an oily liquid. This fluid is stored in small sacs on either side of your dog’s anus. When your furbaby poops, the firm feces naturally express the anal glands from the inside. The liquid has a pungent odor because it serves to mark territory and leave a scent message for other dogs.

Normally, you won’t smell your dog’s anal gland fluid because it comes out when your dog poops. When your pooch has a condition that prevents proper gland emptying, things can change. The liquid builds up in the sacs, and some may leak out onto your dog and the environment causing a fishy odor.

Anal gland odor is unpleasant, but it can happen. All canines have modified sweat glands that produce liquid for marking territory and communicating with other dogs. When the sacs don’t empty properly, the fluid builds up and may leak onto your dog and the environment leaving a fishy odor.

Cleaning Dog Anal Gland Smell From Household Items

If you address the fishy odor coming from your dog, but the house still stinks, there may be traces of anal gland fluid on your dog’s bedding, the furniture, in the carpeting, or on other household items. It’s not practical to use pet wipes or shampoo on many household items, but there are some tricks you can try.

  • Wash bedding and slipcovers to eliminate the odor from the fabric.
  • Spray affected areas with pet odor eliminators 
  • Spray affected areas on the furniture with fabric freshener like Febreeze
  • Sprinkle baking soda on affected areas of the furniture or carpeting. Let it sit overnight to neutralize the odor and absorb the oils. Then, vacuum up the powder in the morning.
  • Steam clean your carpets to lift stains and remove deep-seated odors
  • Wipe the furniture fabric with hydrogen peroxide to eliminate odor
  • Use enzymatic cleaners to remove stains and odors from the carpet and furniture fabrics
  • Mix powdered laundry detergent with about ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and apply to spots on your furniture to lift stains and neutralize the odor
  • Unless you have expensive furniture(there is a risk this will leave a stain), you can try some pineapple juice to remove odors

Addressing your dog’s butt may not be enough to eliminate odors in the house. If he leaves fluid droplets in bedding, furniture, carpet, or other household items, you need to address the smell. There are some tricks you can try to tackle the fishy stench.

Warning Signs of Anal Gland Issues

A fishy odor is one symptom that tells you your dog has anal gland issues. Others include:

If you see signs of anal gland issues, you should contact your veterinarian to set up an examination.

A fishy odor is one symptom of anal gland issues. Some other signs include licking/chewing the anus, scooting, redness/swelling, and spotting. Call your vet if you see signs of anal gland problems.

The Final Woof

Dogs have modified sweat glands called anal glands that produce a fishy-smelling liquid. If your dog’s glands are stinky, you may be able to reduce the odor. Some things you can try include wiping the anus and surrounding area with deodorizing pet wipes or a cloth soaked with ear cleaning solution. You may also be able to hold a cloth with human deodorant against his anus for a few minutes as a temporary fix. Another thing to do when your dog’s butt smells is to wash the area with pet shampoo.

You don’t normally smell dog anal gland fluid unless the glands don’t empty properly. When the sacs retain the pungent liquid they may concentrate and leak causing a fishy odor. Once you address the odor on your dog, you may need to deal with odors on furniture, bedding, and in carpeting. Fortunately, there are some tricks that may help. The telltale fishy odor is one sign that your dog has anal gland issues and should see a veterinarian.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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