Expressing Your Own Dog’s Anal Glands…Really?

A girl I used to work with said that she expressed her dog’s anal glands. I can’t think of a worse job and I’m more than happy to pay the veterinarian $20 to take care of this for me. But if this sounds like something you’d like to do, here’s some more info. Knock yourself out!

Anal glands, also known as anal sacs, can be found on either side of your dog’s anus, at about the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock position. When he passes a stool, the pressure on the glands causes them to express a brown, foul smelling liquid which is used to mark those stools. Anal glands can also be expressed suddenly and involuntarily if your dog gets a fright.

These little glands can become impacted, or clogged, which means that the liquid in them isn’t able to escape. This leads to swelling and discomfort around the anal area.

Symptoms of Anal Gland Problems

It’s not hard to tell if your dog has blocked glands; he will scoot along the ground, he may also lick his anal area a lot, and he often sits down suddenly.

Other causes of these symptoms are flea irritation and tapeworms, so check for these little parasites while you are having a look under your dog’s tail. If in doubt, then worm him with an effective worming treatment, and use Flea the Scene regularly to control his fleas.

Causes of Anal Gland Impaction

There are several reasons why your dog’s glands may become blocked.

-Soft stools don’t press on the glands enough to express their contents. If this is the case with your dog, add some fiber to his diet to bulk up his stools.

-Overweight dogs tend to have more problems with their anal glands.

-Anal gland problems may occur with more frequency in dogs with allergies.

Expressing Your Dog’s Anal Glands

Many dog owners take their dogs to their veterinarian to have their anal glands expressed . It’s not the most savory job, and they prefer to leave it to the professionals. Others are quite happy to do it themselves, after being shown how to do it by their vet. It’s important to remember that there is no need to routinely express anal glands; if your dog isn’t suffering from impacted glands, then leave them alone.

There are two ways of expressing anal glands.

1. External squeeze method. Put on a latex glove and stand to the side of your dog, with a paper towel at the ready. Place your index finger and thumb on each side of his anus, over the glands. Squeeze your fingers upwards and inwards, and the contents of the glands should appear at his anus.

2. Internal method. This method is used by veterinarians and it is often easier than the external method. Spread lubricant over your gloved thumb and index finger. Place your thumb just inside your dog’s rectum and your index finger over the area of his gland, and squeeze upwards and outwards. To express the other gland, put your index finger in the rectum and your thumb over the gland and squeeze.

However you choose to express your dog’s anal glands, make sure you clean up afterward with Dry Dog Instant Clean. It contains ordenone which neutralizes odors instead of masking them. It is gentle enough to use on your dog’s fur as well as on your hands.

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1 Comment

  1. Is it possible to harm your dog by expressing their anal glands? I did my dogs glands externally today. They seemed very full, like hard marbles and moved around when i tried to express them. About an hour later he was trying to eat grass. Is it possible to accidentally hurt them by expressing them yourself

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