This article was updated on September 23rd, 2023
It’s never normal for your furry friend to have discharge from their anus, and if you’ve noticed your dog’s rear end is leaking, it’s time to call a vet. This issue is something I see with relative frequency in my clinic and it can cause a lot of worry for owners.
The discharge may come out randomly or when a dog is passing feces. The owner might notice a foul stench, or their dog may be leaking odorless fluid from the anus. Thankfully, for the majority of patients, this is an issue that is easily remedied.
Bottom leak in dogs: Is it serious?
Though it will be unsettling to find your dog is leaking from their anus, you can rest assured that it is not uncommon and rarely serious. There are a range of causes, including anal gland disease and diarrhea.
Let’s take a closer look at the top contenders and the treatment options available.
Why is there a leak from my dog’s bottom? Top potential causes.
1. Anal gland impaction
Blocked anal glands are really common and we generally see them in smaller breeds and dogs who are obese. Normally, the dog would express their own glands each time they pass a solid poop. When this doesn’t happen, the anal gland fluid may leak out of the bottom onto your furniture or the floor.
Anal gland fluid is quite easily identified as it has a strong, fishy smell. The colour ranges from yellow to dark brown and it can be a watery liquid or a thick paste. If your dog’s glands are full, you may notice they are dragging their bottom along the ground and quickly looking behind at the irritated area. Usually, there is no swelling that is visible on the outside, so your dog’s butt should look normal when examined.
Can I help my dog with anal gland impaction?
A more seasoned owner may feel comfortable expressing glands at home. This can usually be done with the help of one person to hold the dog still. However, a groomer or vet will always be happy to help out if you’re uncomfortable doing this or aren’t sure you’re emptying the gland fully.
2. Anal gland infection/abscess
In cases where anal glands haven’t been expressed when full, this can sometimes lead to an anal gland infection developing and a painful abscess forming.
This can cause blood, pus, and anal gland contents to leak from small holes on either side of the anus. You can also see significant swelling and redness on the affected side.
What do I do if my dog is bleeding from their anus?
It can be alarming for an owner to notice their dog bleeding from their bottom for no apparent reason, but the dog is no real danger here. We should bring them to the local vets, where their glands can be emptied and they can be prescribed some antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and pain relief. More serious abscesses may need to be drained and flushed under anesthetic.
From home, we’re a bit limited but we can gently bathe the area with salt water to keep it as clean as possible. It can also help to trim the fur short to allow better ventilation. If your dog is trying to lick or chew their abscess, protect it by using a buster collar.
3. Diarrhea and overflow
If your dog has diarrhea, you may find that they aren’t always able to hold it in. With severe diarrhea, we can see temporary fecal incontinence. If your dog has diarrhea and is also leaking brown fluid from the anus that smells like feces, this is likely the case.
The treatment here would be addressing the underlying cause of the diarrhea. There can be a wide range of causes, including parasites, an infection, a food intolerance, or an endocrine disorder.
How can I help my dog with diarrhea?
Take a trip to the vet, where they will examine your dog and take a medical history. They might also run some initial diagnostic tests, such as a blood test and stool analysis, to get a clearer idea of what’s going on.
From home, it helps to feed a bland diet of chicken and rice alongside water and a rehydration solution. There are also over-the-counter anti-diarrhea pastes (such as Pro-Kolin) that can be given to solidify the stool. Do give your pooch plenty of opportunity to toilet outside and, remember, don’t discipline them for these indoor ‘accidents’ as they really have no control over them.
Colitis is an inflammation of the colon or lower gut. As well as fluid leaking from the anus, we can see blood in the stool and loose stools. Your dog may be feeling out of sorts and you might pick up on some lethargy as well as a reduced appetite.
One of the hallmarks of colitis is a mucus discharge, which can appear like clear or yellow jelly. We can also see fresh red blood leaking from the butt. This discharge is most often seen right after the dog passes stool.
Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.
Colitis is incredibly common, with most dogs suffering at least one bout in their lifetime. For some unlucky individuals, they can be prone to more frequent bouts. For these dogs, there is often an underlying issue, such as a food intolerance or generalized anxiety.
What can I do if I suspect Colitis?
At home, we can feed a low-residue or hypoallergenic diet and keep our dog well hydrated by mixing water with meals and offering them a rehydration solution. Most patients also benefit from prebiotics and probiotics.
Do visit your vet, who can examine your dog to check for the underlying cause. In some cases, dogs need more specific treatment, such as antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatories.