how to express anal glands in dogs

How To Express Anal Glands In Dogs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Is your furry friend turning into a carpet surfer or can’t stop fussing over their rear end? Chances are, they might be dealing with some pesky anal gland issues. It’s not the most glamorous part of dog ownership, but hey, it’s a thing!

Dogs have these little glands near their behind that can get clogged up sometimes. When that happens, it can be pretty uncomfortable for them and might even lead to infections.

One little-known fact about our canine friends is that their anal glands are located precisely at the 4 and 8 o’clock positions around their rear-end—a nifty piece of trivia to whip out during your next dog park visit!

In this guide, we’ll teach you how to express anal glands in dogs right at home, saving you a trip to the vet or groomer.

With step-by-step instructions and tips for preventing future problems, we aim to provide relief for both you and your pooch.

Ready for some hands-on pet care? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs have anal glands that can get clogged and cause discomfort. Signs include scooting, licking, or a fishy smell.

  • Expressing your dog’s anal glands at home involves gloves, paper towels, and gentle pressure near the anus.

  • A high – fiber diet and regular exercise help prevent anal gland issues in dogs.

  • Watch for signs of trouble like swelling or redness near the anus which may need vet care.

  • Some breeds are more prone to anal gland problems and might need regular checks by a vet.

Understanding Dog Anal Glands

how to express anal glands in dogs

Dive into the lesser-known territory of your dog’s anal glands. These little guys are super important for your pup’s health. Find out why these scent-marking tools sometimes need a bit of help to keep your furry pal comfortable and avoid any health problems.

What they are

Dog anal glands, also known as anal sacs, are small scent glands located on either side of a dog’s rear end. Each gland holds a smelly fluid that dogs use for identification. Think of it like a canine ID card; when your dog poops, the pressure of pooping normally squeezes out some of this fluid onto the feces.

This is how dogs can learn so much about each other with just a quick sniff!

Sometimes, these glands don’t empty as they should during bowel movements. That’s when you might need to step in and help your by by expressing their anal sacs manually to avoid discomfort or infection.

Keep an eye out for signs that there might be issues with your dog’s anal glands – things like excessive licking or a fishy smell coming from their rear end could mean it’s time to take action.

Why they may need anal gland expression

how to express anal glands in dogs

Sometimes anal glands don’t empty as they should. This happens less in the wild because dogs have firm stools that press on these glands naturally during bathroom breaks.

But for many pet dogs, their poop is often too soft to put enough pressure on the glands. When these glands aren’t emptied, they can get clogged and cause discomfort or even infections.

Learning how to express the anal glands can prevent this build-up of fluid and ward off potential problems. If your pup scoots across the floor or licks at their back end a lot, it may be time to check their anal glands.

Watch for signs like a fishy odor or swelling near the outside of your dog’s rectum too. Relief from expressing these troublesome little sacs will make both you and your pup much happier!

Signs of issues with anal glands

how to express anal glands in dogs

Dogs can’t tell you when something is wrong, so sometimes, being good pet parents means noticing the signs. Your furry friend might be in discomfort if their anal glands are giving them trouble.

  • If you see your dog scooting or drgging its rear on the floor. This is often the first sign that their anal glands need attention.

  • Excessive licking of the anal area is another clue. Dogs do this to relieve irritation.

  • If your dog seems cranky or doesn’t want to sit, it could be due to anal gland pain.

  • A smelly bottom is a telltale sign. It suggests that the anal glands may not be emptying as they should.

  • Look for any swelling around your dog’s behind. Swollen anal glands can cause major discomfort.

  • Difficulty with bowel movements, like straining, tells you something isn’t right. Constipation can affect the anal glands too.

  • Broken skin or leakage near the anal area indicates a problem that needs quick care.

How to Express Dog Anal Glands At Home

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to dive into at-home anal gland expression for your canine companion. This essential task ensures comfort and health, avoiding those dreaded scoots across the carpet at home.

Supplies needed

how to express anal glands in dogs

You’ll need some specific items to express your dog’s anal glands at home. Make sure you have everything ready before you start.

  • Disposable medical gloves or latex gloves: Keep your hands clean and avoid direct contact with anal gland fluid.

  • Petroleum jelly or a water-based lubricant: This helps make the expressing process more comfortable for your dog.

  • Paper towels: Use these to catch any fluid that comes out of the glands and keep things tidy.

  • A clean cloth or towel: Have this on hand for cleaning your dog afterwards.

  • A quiet, comfortable space: Choose a spot where your dog feels relaxed and safe to make the process easier for both of you.

External expression

how to express anal glands in dogs

Expressing your dog’s anal glands outside is a common way to prevent discomfort and infections. Here’s how you can do it safely and effectively:

  • Find a calm place where your dog feels comfortable, as this will make the process easier for both of you.

  • Have someone assist you by holding your dog still to prevent sudden movements during the expression.

  • Put on surgical gloves to keep your hands clean and protect against possible infection.

  • Stand or kneel behind your dog, lifting its tail gently to expose the anal area.

  • With your index finger locate the two anal glands situated at approximately 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions around the anus.

  • Use a piece of clean tissue or paper towel in your hand to catch the secretion that will come out.

  • Place your thumb and index finger on either side of one gland, outside the anus.

  • Apply gentle pressure upwards and inwards towards yourself, mimicking a milking motion.

  • Watch for a small amount of fluid to release onto the tissue – it may be brown or yellowish and have a strong smell.

  • Repeat these steps on the other gland, ensuring that both are fully expressed.

Internal expression of your dog’s anal glands

Internal expression is a method you can use to empty your dog’s anal glands. It involves more direct contact expressing their anal glands, but can be more thorough.

  • Wear disposable gloves for hygiene and have a tissue or paper towel handy.

  • Lift your dog’s tail gently to expose the anus.

  • Place your thumb on one side of the gland and your index finger on the other side, just inside the anus.

  • Feel for a small pea-sized gland beneath the skin.

  • Squeeze the gland lightly, applying pressure upward and inward towards the anus opening.

  • Aim the gland’s contents away from you and onto the tissue or paper towel.

  • Milk the gland carefully by sliding your fingers towards the opening to clear out its contents fully. Use light pressure to avoid hurting your dog.

  • Clean any excess fluid around your dog’s rear with a damp cloth and warm soapy water.

  • Repeat these steps on the other gland, usually located at an eight o’clock and four o’clock position relative to the anus.

  • Reward your dog with a treat after successfully completing this process.

Preventing Anal Gland Issues in Dogs

Being good pet parents means preventing anal gland issues as much as possible:

Keeping your pup healthy and comfortable doesn’t just stop at regular vet visits; discover how a balanced diet and active lifestyle can ward off anal gland woes for good.

Proper diet and nutrition

Feeding your dog a high-fiber diet is key to preventing anal gland issues. Include pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apples, and carrots in their meals to help them express their glands naturally.

Fresh whole foods improve digestion and keep those glands healthy. Mix in wheat germ or flaxseed for an extra fiber boost.

Make sure your dog stays at a healthy weight too. Regular exercise and the right diet do wonders for their overall health and can stop gland problems before they start. Don’t make the error of feeding table scraps; these can mess with your pup’s system.

A fresh, raw diet builds good digestive bacteria to support their anal sac function. Keep it simple with veggies as snacks – they’re full of fiber!

Regular exercise and bathroom breaks

how to express anal glands in dogs

Keeping your dog active is just as crucial as feeding them the right diet for their anal gland health. Make sure they get plenty of playtime and walks every day. This activity helps their digestion and makes it easier for them to have regular bowel movements.

Healthy poops help naturally squeeze those glands, reducing the need for you to step in.

Encourage your furry friend to go to the bathroom regularly. Stick to a schedule so they can relieve themselves frequently enough. It prevents the anal glands from getting too full and causing discomfort or problems like atopic dermatitis due to overfilling and irritation.

Regular grooming and hygiene

Brush your dog often to keep their coat clean and free of debris. This also helps you spot any funky smells or bumps near the tail area that could point to anal gland troubles. Baths help too! Use a gentle shampoo and warm water to wash around their back end carefully.

Keep an eye on your pup’s poop. Hard, firm stools help naturally squeeze those glands when they do their business. If you see soft stools for days, it might be time to check those glands.

Feeding the right food with plenty of fiber can keep things moving smoothly. Now, let’s talk about when it’s time to get professional help with those tricky anal glands.

When to Seek Veterinary Help

If your pup is scooting, licking excessively, or shows signs of discomfort in their hindquarters, it’s time to consult the vet. Don’t wait if there’s a foul smell or swelling around the anal area – these could be red flags for more serious issues needing professional care.

Signs of infection or other issues

Your dog’s anal glands can get infected or have other issues. Spotting these signs early can help keep your pet healthy and comfortable.

  • Your dog scoots its bottom across the floor. This might mean their anal glands are full and bothering them.

  • A fishy or foul smell comes from your pet. This odor could point to an anal gland problem.

  • Your dog licks its rear end a lot. Excessive licking often shows discomfort or pain in that area.

  • You notice swelling or redness near your dog’s anus. Infection could cause this inflammation.

  • There’s blood or pus in your dog’s stool or around the anus, indicating potential infection.

  • Your pet has trouble going to the bathroom, which may be due to painful glands.

  • Your dog seems more tired than usual or doesn’t eat as much, which can be signs of overall sickness linked to gland issues.

Frequency of gland expression

Some dogs may need their anal glands expressed often. If your dog has issues, you might have to express the glands every few weeks. Dogs that express anal glands without problems may only need gland expression once or twice a year.

Always watch for signs of discomfort like scooting or licking. Over-expressing can cause harm, so it is important to do it just when necessary.

Certain breeds tend to have more frequent gland issues and might require regular checks by a vet. Next, let’s explore breed predispositions and when to seek professional care for your dog’s anal glands.

Breed predispositions

Certain dog breeds have more trouble with their anal glands. These issues may be due to how their bodies are built or because they inherit traits that make problems more likely. Breeds like Basset Hounds, Beagles, and Cocker Spaniels often face these challenges.

Scar tissue may have caused blocking the ducts or thicker fluid inside the sacs.

For dogs with these predispositions, natural anal gland expression just doesn’t always work well. They end up needing your help to clear those glands regularly. Keeping an eye on your dog’s breed-specific needs will help you spot and address anal gland troubles early on.


Taking care of your dog’s anal glands is part of keeping them happy and healthy. Learn the signs that tell you when it’s time to express them. If you’re unsure, ask a vet to show you the proper way first.

Always be gentle and patient during the process. Remember, doing this can save your furry friend from discomfort and health problems later on!

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