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My poodle is 1.5 years old. Last week, she got a fish smell to her. When I googled it, it said she might need her anal glands expressed. I gently expressed them and some stuff came out. Mind you, it was my first time, but I read a lot on the internet and watch videos. I didn't squeeze too hard and they were about the size of an M&M. My poodle is 30lbs and is a moyen.

This week she had some diarrhea, not sure what caused it. But it resolved on it's own and has had regular bowl movements the past few days. Tonight, she has a VERY strong fish smell to her. It started about an hour after she came inside from having a bowl movement. Does this mean that her anal glands need to be expressed again? I have read, you don't want to do it too much as it could be bad. Could it mean there is an infection?

She is not scooting or licking. The only symptom is a very bad fish smell. Any advice would be appreciated as I have never had this issue before.

Thanks!
 

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I don’t know the fish smell answer, but many years ago when I work as an assistant to a dog groomer (bathing & brushing) it was customary to express anal glands everytime I was to give a bath. Needless to say it was not my favorite task. But you can do it again and see if it helps. I assume the person who grooms my dog is doing it, but now that you bring it up I’m gonna ask because I haven’t been doing it on the assumption that it’s part of what I’m paying for


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I just expressed them again because the smell was just so bad. They were definitely bigger than the last time and the smell of the liquid that came out was a very strong fish smell that just smelled up my entire house. It was definitely a liquid, and not solid.
 

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Sometimes anal glands don't get expressed 'naturally' if a dog's bowel movements are not solid or bulky enough to squeeze the anal glands when going poop. Also if you allow the area around the anus to get too hairy, sometimes anal fluid will cling to the hair and it doesn't take a lot of it to stink things up. You might check to see if poop is of a good consistency and the area is wiped down if hairy! Yeah, it's a horrible smell!
 

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I am a believer in not expressing the anal glands unless of course there is a problem. In fact any dog I've ever owned I told the groomer do not under any circumstance express the glands. Most dogs will do it na tally and I just feel once you start you will need to continue. Now this always can't be the case as I did have one dog who had problems glands and he had to hThat kept his stool full and firm allowing him, I guess to express naturally. You may want your vet to clear them to be sure your doing it correctly and then add pumpkin to her diet. My dogs eat 2x a day and get a teaspoon of pumpkin in each meal.
 

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I am a believer in not expressing the anal glands unless of course there is a problem. In fact any dog I've ever owned I told the groomer do not under any circumstance express the glands. Most dogs will do it na tally and I just feel once you start you will need to continue. Now this always can't be the case as I did have one dog who had problems glands and he had to hThat kept his stool full and firm allowing him, I guess to express naturally. You may want your vet to clear them to be sure your doing it correctly and then add pumpkin to her diet. My dogs eat 2x a day and get a teaspoon of pumpkin in each meal.
Agreed. Beckie is my first dog in 40 years to have that problem.
 

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I've been told by several vets and groomers that dogs should not have their glands expressed regularly or when getting groomed. You can damage the function of the glands by constantly doing this. My old groomer had two dogs which had to have their glands expressed regularly BECAUSE they were damaged by routine cleaning and now required it.

You should only express them if they are full - usually the dog will be scooting or they could be moving oddly as if something is uncomfortable or sore or you notice an unpleasant fishy smell. One vet told me if a dog looks like it hurt it's back, she always checks the glands and has found that expressing them relieved the "back" problem. My vet's techs showed me how to express them from the inside - they way they do it in the clinic. Keep an eye on your dog's behavior because you don't want them to get infected or blocked and burst. If you're unsure, see your vet.

I had a tpoo for almost 20 years and only had to express hers a few times. With my current minipoo I've only done it once.
 

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I just expressed them again because the smell was just so bad. They were definitely bigger than the last time and the smell of the liquid that came out was a very strong fish smell that just smelled up my entire house. It was definitely a liquid, and not solid.
If adding pumpkin or something similar to help form a good stool isn't resolving the anal gland problem, then I would take DixieMae to the vet to see if she had an infection in her anal glands.
 
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As much as I used to believe anal glands should be left alone - I am now a believer that it is just one of those things that is highly individual from dog to dog (a little bit like ears - some you have to watch like hawks or you have trouble and others you just need to check very infrequently because they are always fine). I think the diarrhea is to blame. If the glands were full-ish and you have a streak of liquid output it interrupts the natural emptying. If you have never emptied I would actually go to the vet - just to check that everything is a ok. You don't want an issue there, because from what I have seen anal gland issues can become chronic (maybe irritation?). When my dogs have any anal gland challenges I up the bone in my raw fed dogs diet, which firms up the poo tremendously. Actual stool from raw fed dogs is quite hard but on the smallish side - like large pebbles - so firming up your dog's output would be my first recommendation.
 

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Here lies the problem. I had no intention of doing it, however there was a VERY strong fishy odor. A week later, the odor was even stronger and her anal glands were even bigger. Liquid came out and it was normal colored per everything I read, and not solid. The smell immediately went away right after that on both occasions. She had diarrhea mid-week but was having hard regular bowel movements leading up to this. I just hope there isn't an issue there. I don't remember having this with any other dog I had growing up. Outside of the fishy smell, there are no other signs there is an issue. I plan on contacting the vet, but was just curious to others experiences with this. Thank you for sharing!
 

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Buck had to have his anal glands expressed by the vet. He was acting strangely, he stood up most of the night, instead of flopping on 3/4 of our bed. I made my amateur anal gland issue diagnosis thanks to Google, (never had anal gland problems with previous dogs), and sure enough... After they were expressed with that signature odor, he was fine. Hasn’t happened since.
 

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I was reading through the feedback and see that many are saying that regularly expressing anal glands can cause problems & that groomers should not be doing it unless requested.
In my previous post I mentioned that I had worked for a groomer in my youth bathing & brushing dogs and she had me express every dog’s anal glands who came in. (FYI It’s not a happy memory.)
What I didn’t mention is that this was 45 years ago. Probably this has changed since then, thanks for updating me on modern anal gland protocols & believe me when I say that Mimi thanks you too from the bottom of her, um..., heart.



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Have you considered a food sensitivity?

Found this with a search:
"Impacted anal glands/sacs

This is perhaps the most common cause of odor that won’t go away. Anal sacs are two small scent-sacs in the area of the anus. When a dog has a bowel movement, these sacs are normally squeezed and a very smelly, oily secretion is released with the feces. Many people associate this smell with rotting fish.

If these sacs become infected or impacted by a thicker secretion than normal, or if they can’t empty properly, problems result. It can be very painful for your poor pooch. If a dog is scared or overly excited, the smell can get on the surrounding fur, causing bad odor. This odor can then be passed onto places where your dog lies, and then it’s just unpleasant everywhere.

Cure: This is one for your vet to deal with. But, once again, diet does play a role. If your dog frequently has loose stools because he is sensitive to the food he eats, his anal sacs may not be emptying, which can lead to problems. A raw diet works wonders to not only reduce food sensitivities (and therefore diarrhea) and it also greatly reduces the smell and volume of output. "
http://globalpetfoodsnb.ca/2016/10/why-does-my-dog-stink-8-common-causes-and-cures/

Moni - I too up the bone in my raw dogs diet to firm up his stools. It really helps if occasionally he has soft stools.
 

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I can testify to how serious anal gland problems can be. A year before his death my beloved Rudi had a ruptured anal gland abscess. The anal gland secretions had become the consistency of mud. He already had hypothyroidism and Cushing's disease. He was one miserable pooch until the abscess healed.
 

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Sophy had a nearly completely asymptomatic ruptured abscess. I was aware of a slight smell and that she was licking more, and discovered a very small, very clean hole. She had shown no signs of discomfort, no scooting and no licking until that day (Sunday, of course), and didn't even seem particularly bothered by it - a short course of antibiotics sorted it in very quickly. She had had several weeks of diarrhoea and soft poops not long before, which the vet agreed was probably the cause - not enough pressure to void the glands.
 

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Hmm, I wonder if this is telling us to do something pretty soon if they have diarrhea and really soft stools?

Since we are on raw when his stools (very seldom) get that way I start feeding him a raw chicken leg with each raw meal until they are quite firm again.

He has only once in 9 years had his anal glands suppressed and that is by a groomer whom we decided to no longer use as he did not like her at all.
 

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Here lies the problem. I had no intention of doing it, however there was a VERY strong fishy odor. A week later, the odor was even stronger and her anal glands were even bigger. Liquid came out and it was normal colored per everything I read, and not solid. The smell immediately went away right after that on both occasions. She had diarrhea mid-week but was having hard regular bowel movements leading up to this. I just hope there isn't an issue there. I don't remember having this with any other dog I had growing up. Outside of the fishy smell, there are no other signs there is an issue. I plan on contacting the vet, but was just curious to others experiences with this. Thank you for sharing!
Beckie had hers expressed at the vet because she kept licking herself. No scooting. About 3-4 days later, she starts licking herself again so when I took her for her nails, I had the groomer empty them again.

3 weeks later (yesterday) I took her to the vet for a tummy issue and had the vet check her glands and this time they were fine. Hopefully it stays that way and I wish the same for your dog.
 
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