Dog Gland Removal: Pros and Cons

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Dog gland removal, also known as anal gland removal or anal sac removal, is a surgical procedure in which the anal glands are removed. The anal glands are located on either side of the dog’s anus and produce a fluid that is used for marking and communication. While the procedure is often performed to treat anal gland problems, there are both  dog gland removal pros and cons  to consider before deciding whether to have it done.

Pros of Dog Gland Removal

  1. Relief from Anal Gland Problems: One of the main reasons for performing the surgery is to provide relief from anal gland problems such as impaction, infection, or abscess. These conditions can cause discomfort and pain for the dog and can lead to other health problems if left untreated.
  2. Improved Quality of Life: By relieving the dog of the discomfort and pain associated with anal gland problems, the surgery can improve the dog’s quality of life. The dog may be more active, playful, and happier after the surgery.
  3. Reduced Risk of Complications: By removing the anal glands, there is no longer a risk of complications associated with anal gland problems. This can include infections, abscesses, or even the formation of tumors.
  4. Lower Maintenance: Dogs with anal gland problems may require frequent manual expression of the glands, which can be uncomfortable for both the dog and the owner. By removing the glands, this maintenance task is no longer necessary.

Cons of Dog Gland Removal

  1. Surgical Risks: As with any surgery, there are risks associated with dog gland removal, including infection, bleeding, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. These risks are relatively low, but they should be considered when deciding whether to have the surgery done.
  2. Changes in Bowel Movements: After the surgery, dogs may experience changes in bowel movements. This can include diarrhea, constipation, or even fecal incontinence. These changes may be temporary or permanent.
  3. Possible Long-Term Health Risks: While the risk is relatively low, there is a small chance that the removal of the anal glands can lead to long-term health problems such as fecal incontinence or urinary incontinence.
  4. Cost: Dog gland removal can be expensive, and the cost may vary depending on the dog’s size, age, and overall health. This can be a barrier for some pet owners who may not be able to afford the procedure.
  5. Potential Behavioral Changes: The anal glands play a role in a dog’s communication and marking behaviors. By removing them, there is a possibility that the dog’s behavior may change, which could be a concern for some pet owners.


Dog gland removal is a procedure that can provide relief from anal gland problems and improve a dog’s quality of life dog ownership. However, there are both pros and cons to consider before deciding whether to have the surgery done. Pet owners should discuss the procedure with their veterinarian and consider the potential risks and benefits before making a decision. It is also important to ensure that the surgery is performed by a qualified and experienced veterinarian to minimize the risk of complications.

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