It’s bad enough already that your dog is pretty much an automatic poop machine.
But now, it seems a new wrinkle has been added to the equation: cloudy, white liquid that seems to be leaking out of your dog’s rear end!
So, what exactly is the white stuff that is coming out of your dog’s bum?
There are two most probable possibilities as to what it might be: Pus (resulting from an existing infection), or anal gland fluid.
It’s usually pretty easy to distinguish between the two.
For instance, while both substances smell borderline rotten, anal sac fluid has a can’t-be-mistaken fishiness to it that will make your neck hairs (and nose hairs) literally stand on end.
Pus may also be tinted with yellow or green coloration, while anal gland secretions typically appear white with a slight brown tinge.
Finally, overflowing anal gland liquids will usually be accompanied by other signs, such as an increased difficulty with bowel movements, excessive licking of the anal area, ‘scooting’, and visible hardened, raised lumps on either side of the anus.
Treatment of white anal emissions in a canine will depend on the specific causal factor.
Compacted or blocked anal glands may need to be manually expressed by a trained vet or groomer (or even yourself if you’re game!), while pus resulting from infections or cysts are usually treated with antibiotics.
In rare circumstances, a biopsy or surgical procedure may be suggested to deal with a chronic, recurring issue.
So, let’s get it completely out in the open: There’s white stuff coming out of your dog’s bum!
A few things can cause this problem, and for the most part, it isn’t time to worry just yet.
Some of the issues are minor, so let’s go over what may be causing the white discharge- as well as what to do once you see it.
There are two main possibilities that can result in white stuff coming out of your dog’s rear.
The first manifests itself in the form of a suspicious, pale-to-cloudy discharge. In this scenario, anal gland fluid may be what’s leaking out of your dog as they move around.
The second possibility is that white substances are seen only in the dog’s bowel movements/poop, indicating an anomaly in the dog’s diet that warrants attention.
Here are some of the most common white fluids that you may see leaking out of your dog’s behind:
When it comes to white fluids coming out of your dog’s bum, pus is one of the primary suspects. Pus is a clear, white, yellow, or green fluid that results from dead white blood cells fighting off an existing infection.
If the white liquid is indeed pus, then it will more than likely smell pretty bad. It will also have a tendency to leak more from the rear end area when your dog goes to the toilet.
Pus is a sign of an ongoing infection, and it would be best to treat the problem by making a quick vet visit.
Another common fluid that may leak from your dog’s backside is anal gland discharge.
Frequently a slightly brown fluid, anal sac fluids can also be clear or white at times. This fluid will have a strong, sometimes fishy odor.
Canines usually use this discharge to mark their stool when they defecate, but sometimes the glands can become blocked and leak at random times as a result.
If a dog is having chronic anal gland issues, it can result in discomfort and subsequent difficulties when going to the bathroom as well.
If you only find the white stuff in your dog’s poop, there are a couple of different possibilities of what it may be.
For one, the white substance could be foreign substances or something that your dog has been chewing on previously.
This problem will usually go away on its own a few days after as the substance works its way out of the dog’s system.
If instead the white stuff seems to be a thin layer that is coating the poop, it could potentially be mucus.
Mucus helps waste from the body to move through the digestive tract, but an overabundance of it in loose stools may indicate stomach issues in your dog.
If it only happens occasionally, you may want to check what dog foods you are feeding your pup during those times and adjust its diet accordingly.
Finally, if the white material appears in the form of dots, it might very well be worms. In this case, you should collect a stool sample and contact your vet immediately for the appropriate worming solutions.
If white substances are leaking from your dog at random times (even when they aren’t pooping), this can be a clear indication of a few different potential problems.
If white, fishy-smelling discharge is leaking from your pup’s butt, I would wager that the most likely cause is anal gland issues.
Anal sac disorders are usually characterized by anal glands that have trouble emptying automatically like they should.
This is usually due to the anal glands being blocked or impacted, either by reason of faulty functioning or an inadequate diet.
Additional risk factors that can increase the likelihood of compacted anal glands and anal sac disease include:
- Size- Smaller dog breeds (Poodles, Chihuahuas, etc.) are more likely to experience this affliction
- Senior age
- Food and environmental allergies
- Lack of muscle tone
- Bacterial or yeast-related skin infections
Gastrointestinal issues culminating in a few days of diarrhea can also cause the glands to fill up excessively. This is due to the fact that softer stool is unable to exert the necessary pressure required to empty the sacs of the liquid.
Dogs that have anal gland problems are often found constantly licking at the anal area. In many cases, they will also scoot on the floor in an attempt to scratch at and relieve pressure from the glands.
Infections can be caused by a variety of different reasons.
For example, they can result from an illness or injury to the area. In the case of anal sac infections, you will not be able to see the actual wound as it will be situated in the anal region or digestive tract.
A dog that has a current infection may appear to be more lethargic and may also have little or no appetite.
A cyst that has formed on a dog’s skin can fill up with pus at times and then discharge when the pup licks at it or rubs it in a certain way.
You may see this discharge as your dog moves around, or when they get up or sit down.
If your dog has a cyst, you may need to get it removed or looked at by a qualified vet to ensure they aren’t a more significant issue.
Let’s rephrase this question:
How do you not know when your dog’s glands are full?
Seriously, it’s that bad.
The first sign you will likely notice when your dog’s anal sacs are full to the brim is the undeniable, all-powerful, room-consuming smell. Think rotten-fish-bomb levels of stench.
While dogs are absolutely ok with sniffing these gland secretions (that are usually released along with poop, no less) to learn more about the fellow canines that frequent the park, us humans don’t take as kindly to the aroma.
Therefore, unless you’re a seasoned sailor, the odor will likely hit you with the full force and nuance of a decomposing whale.
However, the smell is not the only sign that you may observe if your pooch’s anal ducts are overflowing. You may also detect your dog:
- Having increased difficulty with bowel movements
- Excreting bloody, pus-covered poops
- Engaging in loud vocalization while trying to pass stool due to pain
- Scooting on your beloved carpet
- Biting and licking repeatedly at its rear end
- Having discoloration around the anal opening
- Having red, firm-looking bumps around the anus
- Reluctant to have their tail touched or lifted
- Being in a more depressed mood than usual.
It is usually a clear indication that a dog’s anal glands are not emptying by themselves as they should if you see any or a combination of these symptoms.
However if you don’t don’t particularly spot any of these signs and there’s no signature fish-like scent wafting around your dog, then there’s a good possibility that its anal glands aren’t the culprit.
In this case, any white substance that may be emitting from your dog’s behind is likely to be caused by other factors- namely an infection or cyst as discussed above.
Regardless, it would be a good idea to make an appointment with your vet so that your dog can be properly examined and evaluated.
The method that is used to treat white discharge coming out of your dog’s bum will depend on the specific problem that your dog is facing.
Here are some of the most common treatments that can help your dog stop leaking:
A vet or groomer- or even yourself if you want to get in on a bit of DIY– can express your dog’s anal glands if this is discovered to be the source of the problem.
The procedure of having the anal glands expressed involves manually massaging the glands around the anus in order to coax the fluid out.
Do keep in mind that anal sac fluid has the flowery aroma of rotten fish, and that the process can make a significant mess.
Therefore, make sure you carry out the process somewhere easy-to-clean (or at least lay down plenty of paper towels!).
Your dog may not like the process of anal gland emptying (can’t really blame them), and many dogs will try to nip and bite when it is happening.
If you are not comfortable with the prospect of being bitten while simultaneously sprayed by dog butt juice, enlist the paid help of your vet or qualified groomer with the procedure!
This video below will give you a pretty decent overview of how to properly express a dog’s anal glands:
If the origin of the white substance coming out of your dog’s bum is infection and pus, your pooch will likely be prescribed an antibiotic by the vet to help fight the infection.
When taking antibiotics, dogs will usually have to take multiple pills in order to complete a full course. If your dog isn’t good at taking medications, there are many tricks out there that may be able to help you out.
If pills are too miserable, ask your vet if there is a liquid option that you can pour into your dog’s mouth or add to its food. These can sometimes be much easier to give.
If your dog has a cyst, the vet may want to take a sample via biopsy and send it to the lab to make sure that there isn’t a bigger problem afoot.
A cyst could be a warning of a worse issue, but in most cases it usually turns out to be benign. If the vet thinks that a biopsy is the best move going forward, they will help you understand what concerns they have for your dog.
In very rare circumstances, your dog’s anal glands or cyst may need to be surgically removed.
This option is not common (and will usually be avoided) for issues around a dog’s anal region, and your vet will go over the procedure and why it may be necessary after examining your dog carefully.
It can be scary, worrying, and frankly downright disturbing to see things leaking from your four-legged buddy, but you definitely want to find out exactly what is going on when it happens.
Whenever you encounter white stuff coming out of your dog’s bum, the vet should always be the first port of call so that your pet can be kept as safe and healthy as possible.
*IMPORTANT*: Not every dog needs their anal glands expressed!
In fact, the majority of pooches will never need to have their anal sac manually expressed.
This is because the emptying process is usually automatic for healthy canines with adequate diets.
Manual extraction when it is not strictly necessary can actually do more harm than good to the pup, as the force exerted can easily result in irritation, inflammation, scar tissue formation, and even infection.
Therefore, it is always vital to double check with a vet first before carrying out any emptying procedure on your dog.
Keep in mind that unless your dog has a confirmed glandular issue, any dog groomer/handler that tries to sell you anal gland expression services casually or as part of a ‘grooming package’ is most likely just doing so for a few extra bucks. Run for the hills if this is the case!
Assuming that your dog has been professionally diagnosed and does need its glands expressed one-off or intermittently, it is then important to establish a suitable schedule for this to happen.
If a dog’s anal glands don’t get expressed when they truly need to be, the secretions will continuously build up and thicken.
Impaction will occur, and if left unresolved can subsequently progress to infection, cellulitis (surrounding tissue inflammation), and abscess formation/rupture.
This will of course result in a great deal of pain and discomfort for a pup, and will likely need to be treated through topical antiseptics and oral antibiotics. Instead of ending up in this situation, it’s always best to stay ahead of the known problem!
When you encounter white stuff coming out of your dog’s bum, there’s no need to immediately work yourself into an inconsolable panic!
White liquid emissions leaking from a dog’s rear end usually signify one of three possibilities, the majority of which are quite easily treated. These include:
- Anal gland disorders
- Infection or cysts, resulting in pus
- Foreign object ingestion by the dog.
While you may be able to guess at what the substance is (for example, via the appearance or smell), the best course of action when you first notice this discharge is of course to take your pup to the vet for a thorough examination.
They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the best treatment for the situation, whether that be getting your dog’s anal glands expressed, a course of antibiotics, surgery, or simply monitoring further.
Heather Abraham is a professional blogger who owns two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and a leopard gecko. She has a connection with animals since she was a child. She shares her love for all pet breeds and provides information on pet food, toys, medications, beds, and everything else.
She is committed to learning about the internal workings of animals. Her work permits her to work closely with knowledgeable vets and obtain practical expertise in animal care. When she is not working, her love of animals continues in her writing. Her goal is to educate and uplift readers who also have a passion for animals through her writing.