Happy Wednesday!

A few years ago, my pup Abby had an anal gland issue. We were out of town and found a vet to care for her. Unfortunately, her anal glands were impacted and she had to have surgery. It was painful for her. After this incident, she had scar tissue and a vet technician had to express her glands for her. I wish i had known about anal glands and what to watch for prior to Abby having this incident and the post complications. I saw her 'boot scooting, but didn't know that could potentially be a sign of anal gland issues.

Does your pup kick up the grass after s/he potties? Do they 'boot scoot' on your rug or floor?

And for our kitties.....
Does your kitty potty outside the litter box? How many litter boxes does my cat(s) need?

This edition of Weekly Scoop addresses these questions and more!

A huge thanks for your continued support and feedback!

Terry Richardson
Dog Behavior:
Why Do Dogs Kick Their Feet After Pooping?
Alison Birken, DVM | PetMD
Featured Image: Rob Kemp/Shutterstock.com
While it may appear that dogs are doing this to cover up their mess, this is in fact not the case. This dog behavior is a way to mark their territory.

By nature, and in the wild, canines are territorial. Marking an area with scents from urine, feces and their paws sends the message to other canines that this is their territory.

In fact, canines have scent glands in their feet that secrete pheromones, a chemical that triggers social reactions and interactions amongst other canine species.

The scents released from dogs’ feet is more pungent and lasts longer than the scents of urine and feces. When a dog kicks the ground after defecating, they are releasing pheromones onto the ground.

In addition to the scents from feces and urine, these pheromones relay territorial claims, sexual availability, possible food trails and warnings of danger. This act of releasing pheromones as a form of communication also affects a dog’s behavior as well as their overall body functions, involving organs, hormones, behavior and makeup.

Should I Be Concerned That My Dog Is Kicking Back After Pooping?

Why You Should Watch Your Dog Pee
Reading the 'Pee Leaves'
Did you know that the way your dog is peeing — or not — can give you some important information about their urinary, and even overall health. This article will highlight some of the signs you may notice when your dog pees that could indicate that a vet visit is needed.

Straining While Peeing
If your dog is struggling or straining while they’re peeing, it could actually be a very serious emergency condition. Both male and female dogs can have their urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to the outside world) blocked by a urinary stone, scaring, inflammation, or even a tumor. Male dogs can also suffer a urethral blockage from an overly enlarged prostate (more of a problem in male dogs that haven’t been neutered, as the prostate grows under the influence of testosterone). You should always err on the side of caution if you see your dog straining to pee and bring them for immediate veterinary evaluation. Even if they’re not “blocked,” your dog will be happy that you had them checked to be sure.

Does your dog have problems with their anal glands?
Unfortunately lots of dogs have problems with their anal glands. Some anal gland impactions get so bad that they become abscessed and rupture, causing pain for the dog, and quite a nasty mess for their people (as well as the costs associated with having the infection and abscess treated). So if anal glands are such a pain in the butt — both literally and figuratively — why do dogs have them and what can you do to help your dog if they suffer from regular anal gland problems?

What anal glands are and why dogs have them
Anal glands are scent glands — some people refer to them as “anal sacs.” They are located between the layers of muscles that make up the rectum and, when all is working right, they are naturally expressed, through the duct that connects the gland to the “outside world,” each time a dog poops. This is another way that a dog can mark their territory and leave a “smell signal” for any other dogs that may pass by their little (or big) “poop present.”

When and how do anal glands become a problem?

House-soiling, inappropriate urination/defecation, spraying. A cat’s use of locations other than the litter box comes under many names. Why do our cats do this? First and foremost, it is critical to ensure that there is no medical component to the behavior. Urinary tract-related disease can lead to death in less than 48 hours. The diseases are painful and debilitating

Consult your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY if house-soiling commences. Waiting to see what happens could mean the difference between life and death. Once your veterinarian assesses the cat for health problems, discussions about diets and behavioral problems can follow. Many times, the veterinarian will identify multiple factors contributing to the problem, including medical, diet and behavioral problems. We are here to work with you and your cat to resolve these concerns.

Litter-Box Care
Location Location Location
Provide more than one location in the household for litter boxes. Consider having one on each floor if space allows. Avoid moving boxes around.

Depth Matters
Experiment with different depths of litter. Most cats prefer 1-1.5 inch depth while others may prefer deeper litter. Add a new litter box if attempting to try different litter depths (or types). Try not to alternate the litter depth or type within existing litter boxes. Take note of which litter boxes get used the most and choose that depth of litter for the majority of the boxes.

Cat Urinary Issues
Symptoms and Identification
A thorough physical examination and history-taking of a cat can help a veterinarian determine whether a feline has a urinary problem. Ultrasonography, radiography (X-rays), and testing of both blood and urine can help a veterinarian arrive at a diagnosis.

Here are some signs of a urinary problem:
  • Frequent trips to the litter box, with or without productive urination
  • Urinating outside the litter box or in unusual places
  • Blood in the urine
  • Crying or straining when urinating
  • Inability to urinate
  • Urinating in small amounts
  • Disinterest in food or water
  • Hiding
  • Disinterest in being handled
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

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