So you observed something strange, and probably worrisome; a clear fluid dripping out of your dog’s rectal opening.
A clear discharge from the anus of a female dog is certainly not common, but before you decide whether to be worried or not, you first need to verify that it’s definitely coming from her anus.
Also, is the discharge smelly? And is there any change in the consistency and look of her stool?
It’s also possible that the discharge is coming from her vagina or urethra, but if you’re convinced that the discharge is from her anus, then read on to find out the possible reasons why that might be happening.
Why is my dog leaking clear fluid from anus?
A clear discharge from a dog’s anal gland could be one of a few things. If the discharge is entirely clear and has no discernible odor, it may be a fairly common mucoid discharge that forms in the colon.
The mucus formed in the colon coats the feces as a lubricant to aid in defecation. In addition to this, mucus secretion in the colon may also be the cause of the discharge you notice while she is lying down.
But first, it would be best to make sure that her vulva is not the source of this discharge. If she isn’t spayed, it might be vaginal fluid produced as part of her menstrual cycle or perhaps an indication of a minor infection. Or she may be mildly incontinent if she has been spayed.
But this shouldn’t concern you if you are certain that the discharge is coming from her rectum.
If she has a lot of clear discharge coming from her anus, this is not normal and should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Also, the discharge is much more likely to be from the anal glands if it has a strong smell. In any case, check in with your vet and have her anal glands checked and emptied. The veterinarian can also perform a full rectal exam to ensure that there are no abnormalities.
Is clear anal discharge normal in female dogs?
Both male and female dogs have two little glands on either side of the rectal opening, referred to as anal glands or anal sacs. A small amount of a dark, foul-smelling liquid fluid is stored in each gland, and each time your dog defecates, these glands experience a tiny amount of pressure to release some drops of fluid.
The majority of dogs live their entire lives without having any problems with their anal glands. Dogs often express their glands naturally when they poop, which releases anal gland fluid. They may also unintentionally express their own anal glands, when they are anxious or stressed.
However, fluid from the anal glands are not clear, but brown and smelly. A clear anal discharge may be normal mucus, which resembles a clear jelly-like substance.
Mucus is naturally produced by intestinal glands to keep the colon moist and lubricated, facilitating the passage of feces. However, heavy mucus secretion coupled with other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the stool, or other signs may raise some issues. It’s also possible that they might have a minor case of colitis; a mild inflammation of the colon.
An increase in mucus production is a common symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is a possible inflammation of the colon or large intestine.
When the intestinal tract is irritated, it decides to produce an added layer of mucus lining for protection. This irritation can be caused by an inflammation or a sudden change in diet, which is why it’s crucial to make dietary changes to dogs gradually so that their digestive systems can adjust to the new food.
It is advised to combine the old and new diets and gradually increase the proportion of the new food while also gradually reducing the proportion of the old food over the course of a week or two.
In a situation like this, the best course of action is to visit a veterinarian because some causes of excessive secretion of mucus in the colon can be serious, particularly if the dog also exhibits other symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, bloody stools, abdominal pain, fever, or lethargic behavior.
How do I stop my dog’s anus from secreting?
Normally, as stool travels through the rectum, it presses on the glands and causes them to release (express) fluid. The anal glands can also be expressed unintentionally when a dog is stressed or frightened.
The anal glands of a dog shouldn’t need to be expressed if their nutritional needs are fulfilled with high-quality food, and they maintain a healthy weight and get plenty of exercise. You don’t need to do anything if your dog isn’t experiencing any problems.
But if you want to perform routine expression, speak with your veterinarian first. If the anal glands are not causing a problem, your veterinarian may advise leaving them alone, or they may choose to routinely empty them to prevent a medical concern.
However, some dogs need to have their glands manually expressed. The anal glands in your dog won’t naturally express themselves if the texture of their feces changes.
If the glands are not naturally expressed often, the fluid they contain will thicken and become more difficult to express with time. Consequently, the glands may become irritated, inflamed, or infected.
How do I know if my dog’s anal glands are infected?
The first indication that your dog has problems with their anal glands is often scooting or dragging their butt over the ground.
You may also notice excessive licking or biting of the base of the tail rather than the anal region. Anal gland disease or infections can be excruciatingly painful, and even gentle dogs can be become aggressive due to the severe pain they feel.
Most times, pet owners first notice their dog’s struggle with infected anal glands when they find their pet dragging their rear on the ground, or straining to defecate.
If your dog develops anal gland infections or impaction, it is usually best to have their glands expressed every few weeks (typically 3-4 weeks) to prevent the problem from recurring.
Your veterinarian, or even your dog groomer, may express the anal glands of your dog.
If your veterinarian has concluded that your dog needs to have their anal glands expressed on a regular basis, they may provide you instructions to do it at home if you feel comfortable doing so. Verify that you are certain your dog won’t behave aggressively because of the pain, this is very important for both your safety and that of your pet.
Do not try to express your dog’s anal glands at home if you detect blood or pus in the area surrounding their anus or if they appear to be very unhappy and in pain. Schedule an immediate appointment with your veterinarian instead.
What dog breeds need their anal glands expressed?
There are certain dog breeds who are more susceptible to problems with the anal glands. Chihuahuas, Toy and Miniature Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Lhasa Apsos, Basset Hounds, and Beagles top the list of breeds that are more likely to require monthly, manual expression of their glands.
However, canines of all sizes and genders can experience anal gland difficulties (both male and female). The anal glands may swell up and become excruciatingly painful if they do not empty properly.
Additionally, an impaction, or blockage of the exit duct, can cause the glands to enlarge. An impacted gland is the ideal place for bacteria to thrive and cause an infection because anal glands are moist and warm. Impactions and infections of the anal glands cause your dog great pain.
How do you tell if a dog’s anal glands are full?
Unfortunately, some dogs’ glands don’t fully express themselves during defecation.
These sacs accumulate the substance.
Your dog feels the need to lick his bottom and/or move on the carpet as a result of the increased stress.
Watch out for these warning signs:
- Your dog is scooting around and dragging the rear on the ground
- Your dog is frequently licking his behind
- If your dog’s glands are overloaded, they may leak out a foul odor.
On occasion, you can notice brownish material stains in areas where your dog has sat, like on your carpet, or on the furniture. The glands will eventually burst. You’ll see some bleeding coming from there.
If your female dog is leaking a clear fluid from her anus, the discharge could be some of the mucus secreted in the colon. Dogs secrete a clear jelly-like substance in the colon to help smoothen the passage of feces. However, it’s not common for this fluid to leak out of a dog’s anus.
It’s also possible that the fluid is actually leaking from her vagina and not the anus. A clear vaginal discharge is part of the normal menstrual cycle of intact female dogs. And if your dog is spayed, the fluid may be because she is slightly incontinent.
If you’re certain that the clear fluid is indeed coming from the anus, then by all means take your dog for a close anal examination by your vet, to determine what this fluid is and why it’s leaking out.
¹ Photo by Cinci Csere on Flickr