Anal Glands, Superman, and Polyester Fleece

June 2015

What do anal glands and polyester have in common?  -More than you would think!  These are two very important factors that need to be considered if you are planning on taking your cat or dog to the veterinarian.

Did you know?

  •  When some animals are afraid they can (and often do) secret their anal glands.
  •  Anal secretion happens quite a bit a the veterinarian.
  •  This can create fear in pets.
  •  This fear can be prevented.


The Anal Area – What You Need to Know

Dogs and cats, as well many other small mammals, have a pair of glands located just under the skin on both sides of the rectum. These glands are located at about 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock just inside of the anus. These sacs are found in all carnivora. (Carnivora is the order of mammals that includes wolves, dogs, cats, raccoons, bears, weasels, hyaenas, skunks, seals, walruses, and more!)

These glands, commonly called “anal glands,” are actually scent glands. They are designed to secrete a substance that contains pheromones.  Sebaceous glands within the lining secrete a liquid that is used for identification of members within a species.  In fact, anal glands play a very important role in “butt sniffing”. That’s why it’s so common in cats and dogs.

Butt Sniffing 101:  Rather than labeling it as gross or rude, Rethink this behavior as “speaking with chemicals”. 


It’s how dogs learn about another dog’s diet, gender, and even their emotional state!


Fear Can Be Found In Pheromones!

Not only can pheromones be used to scent mark, attract mates, claim territory, find prey, and identify other animals, but they can be used as alarms.  Dogs and cats can smell when fear is present in these glands!  I refer to these as FEAR-amones.  When they smell fear, they instinctively know to Get The Heck Out of Dodge.

So what does this have to do your with pets?

The video below will explain why this matters.

Veterinary Medicine Editor, Mindy Valcarcel, shares three tips that she learned from veterinary behaviorist Dr. Radosta, at a recent veterinary behavior conference:

  • Dogs Don’t Want to Fly Like Superman.
  • Cats Prefer Polyester Fleece Bedding.
  • Fear Can Be Detected in the Scent of Anal Glands.


King Albert The Grey chooses polyester fleece over all other types of bedding.  Turns out, Albert is not unlike other felines;  Cats prefer fleece! 

Albert chooses polyester fleece over all other types of bedding. Turns out, he is like all other felines! Cats prefer the fleece!

Adding a fleece blanket to your cat’s travel kennel and while your cat is at the vet, can help your cat to feel cozy.

Speaking of fearless and cozy, don’t forget how powerful FOOD is for modifying emotions and behavior. Bring those yummy treats with you to every vet visit!  Food should be used properly from the moment you enter the lobby to the moment you leave.  We even use it for our senior cats during their acupuncture sessions! 


High-Value Food: Don’t Leave Home Without It!


Conscious Companion_fear Free Vet visit_training dogs_on scale at vet
No FEAR-amones here! Hocus Pocus has learned that going to the Vet results in safe and yummy Good Things!




I share this with you today so you can share these tips with your veterinarian team.  Becoming aware of the facts and the science is how we empower ourselves and our pets. This is being a Conscious Companion.


Speak UP!

We can create Fear Free Fridays, 365 days a year.  But we need to know the facts. And we need to share them fearlessly.  Don’t be afraid to tell your veterinarian what you learn!  They might learn something, too!   

Opening the lines of communication with your veterinarian team can help you and your pet to have a safe and pleasant experience together at the vet clinic.  It doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) a fearful experience!  Once you know the facts, you have the power to change their world, and yours.  You are your pet’s best advocate!


And just a reminder folks, despite what the Kinks may say, dogs do not want to fly like Superman.  😉

Superman, Superman, wish I could fly like Superman
I want to be like Superman
-The Kinks

Related Videos and Reading:

2 thoughts on “Anal Glands, Superman, and Polyester Fleece

  1. Pingback: Animal Emotions and That Icky Sticky Fear | Conscious Companion

  2. Pingback: Compassion and Calculated Creativity: Stepping Outside the Proverbial Pet Box – Conscious Companion

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