My dog keeps sniffing his bum. What is the cause and treatment?

Original Question: Hello! Ace Ventura my 10.5-year-old Beagle is mostly sniffing his tail/rear end throughout the day. Can you please help me to learn what’s causing this? Any solutions? - Alexandra

My dog keeps sniffing his bum. What is the cause and treatment? Apr 24, 2018

Hi Alexandra,

Without a physical exam and consultation, I can’t be certain about anything here but I have some ideas.

My first thought is that the anal glands may be full. Anal glands are located on either side of the anus. When a firm bowel movement comes out, it puts pressure on the anal glands and expresses them physically. When this doesn’t occur, the anal glands can become impacted. They can start to irritate the dog and they will often rub their bum on the ground or try to lick at it often. The anal glands can also leak so there can be a pretty unsettling odour that comes with it. I recommend you visit your veterinarian to have them examined and ‘expressed’. This could be the source of the problem.

During that visit, a thorough examination of the hind area can be performed. It’s possible that a wound is present that is bothering your dog. They can also grow perianal tumours that can irritate them. A urinary tract infection may be present that could cause an irritation in the area and some urine tests (a urinalysis with a culture and sensitivity) could be considered. Allergies also have to be considered as well along with a skin infection or skin parasites.

I think anal gland impaction fits this description the best but consulting your veterinarian and letting them perform an examination should get you a little further ahead on a diagnosis.

Good luck and thanks for the question.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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My dog keeps sniffing his bum. What is the cause and treatment?
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My dog keeps sniffing his bum. What is the cause and treatment?
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My first thought is that the anal glands may be full. Anal glands are located on either side of the anus. When a firm bowel movement comes out, it puts pressure on the anal glands and expresses them physically. When this doesn’t occur, the anal glands can become impacted.
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Healthcare for Pets
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