Boston Terrier Anal Glands

We have two Boston Terriers that we’ve raised since they were puppies. They’re both five now and the best-behaved dogs you could ever imagine. Despite that, they do come with some pretty big responsibilities.

Boston Terrier anal glands can be slightly problematic because they need to be expressed. You can attempt to do this at home or rely on the professionals to do it for a nominal fee. Anal gland infections are another common problem that affects this breed.

If you are curious about how to properly care for your Boston Terrier’s anal glands, then you should read on. We are going to discuss the expression of anal glands and infections as well as treatments. We will also discuss the possible alternative of anal sac removal.

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The Butt Scoot: Boston Terrier Anal Glands

You might be wondering what, exactly, are anal glands? Specifically, they are glands located on your Boston Terrier’s rectum. They are two small, grape-shaped glands just under the skin and are typically located at 4 and 8 o’clock.

Normally, these glands will express themselves when your dog has a bowel movement to add scent to your dog’s stool as a way to mark their territory. However, in the case of your Boston Terrier, it’s common for this material to build up in these sacs. 

This will cause increased pressure, which causes your dog to want to scoot across the floor or lick their bottom. 

How To Tell If Your Boston Terrier Needs Their Anal Glands Expressed

If your Boston Terrier is displaying any of the following signs, they may need their anal glands expressed: 

  • Scooting on the carpet
  • Licking their bottom
  • Anal glands leaking a stinky, pungent smell
  • Spots of brownish material left behind where your dog was sitting

Make sure you act on these signs as the anal glands will eventually rupture, causing bleeding from the area. 

Treatment Options for Full Anal Glands

Full anal glands need to be expressed and many times this can be done without a complete veterinary appointment. Vet techs and groomers often perform anal gland expressions and the cost typically ranges between $10 and $30.

You can also try expressing your Boston Terrier’s anal glands at home, but be warned, it is a very messy process. You’ll need to apply pressure from the inside of the gland to milk the secretions from it through the duct opening near the anus. 

You’ll need latex gloves, some form of lubrication, and a lot of paper towels to get through this process. At the end of the day, it may just be easier to let the professionals handle it.

Adding fiber to your Boston Terrier’s diet may help decrease the frequency in which you need to express their anal glands. Pumpkin is a great option, but make sure that it’s plain. Add 2 tablespoons to each meal. 

As an alternative, you can start your Boston Terrier on a pumpkin probiotic supplement. This will work just as well as raw pumpkin.

Anal Gland Infections

Your Boston Terrier can also suffer from anal gland infections. This can also lead to impactions. When your dog has this condition, it’s very painful with swelling that may result in anal gland rupture.

Be on the lookout for these symptoms:

  • Bloody discharge
  • Pain in the area
  • Excessive bottom licking
  • Liquid discharge with a foul odor
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite

Anal Gland Infection Treatments

You must take your Boston Terrier to their veterinarian to be treated for an anal gland infection. It will not go away on its own. The common treatment is antibiotics. 

However, extreme cases may require your dog be sedated, the infected gland be lanced, and the entire area be flushed out.

Anal Sac Removal

For domestic dogs like your Boston Terrier, anal glands technically aren’t a requirement. They’re more for wild dogs that need to mark their territory. For this reason, some dog owners choose to have their dog’s anal glands removed.

Like any major surgery, this procedure will require general anesthesia. There are risks involved, such as nerve damage. It can also lead to fecal incontinence and should never be the first step in managing anal gland problems.

Anal sac removal is a remedy for Boston Terriers who have chronic anal gland infections even with confirmed high-fiber diets, firm stools, adequate exercise, managed weight, and no allergy problems leading to biting or trauma of the affected area.

Common Side Effects of Anal Gland Expression

While anal gland expression is necessary for your Boston Terrier, there may be some side effects from the procedure. You’ll want to watch out for these symptoms.

Your dog may continue to scoot their butt for up to a whole day following the expression of their anal glands. They may also lick the area. Don’t be alarmed as this is completely normal due to residual irritation in the area.

Yelping, suddenly turning to chew at their tail area, and crying when trying to defecate are all indications that your Boston Terrier is in pain. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian for advice. 

You can try compresses to ease inflammation if your dog is willing to let you near the affected area.

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Post Anal Gland Expression Care

There should not be any special care following a routine anal gland expression unless your Boston Terrier had impacted glands or an infection requiring medication. In these situations, your veterinarian may recommend diet changes, including the addition of pumpkin. 

Anal Gland Rupture

While it is a very rare occurrence, your Boston Terrier’s anal glands can rupture during an expression. This is more likely to happen if they are impacted or abscessed. If your veterinarian believes that this is a possibility, they may suggest anesthesia. 

This will reduce the risk while also allowing the vet access to providing prompt treatment and cleaning of the site. If you see blood on your dog’s stool, their elimination is painful, or they cannot eliminate, call your veterinarian immediately.


Keeping your Boston Terrier healthy is a great responsibility. You have to maintain their diet, establish routine healthcare, and keep them safe, among other things. Expressing their anal glands is one more very important task to make sure you take care of.

Boston Terriers need their anal glands expressed routinely to prevent them from rupturing. While you can do this at home, it’s a very messy task that is best left to the professionals. This breed is also known for experiencing anal gland infections.

By taking care of your Boston Terrier’s anal glands, you will keep them from painful situations and ensure they are healthy. If your dog continuously suffers from anal gland infections, you can opt for an anal sac removal to prevent further problems.

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