How to express a dog's anal glands

Expressing a dog's anal glands is always an unpleasant experience, but sometimes a very necessary procedure if you are a responsible dog owner. I'm always surprised whenever I meet people who don't know that they need to regularly check their dog's anal glands. Research before you bring a pet home, people!

How to express a dog's anal glands
Where the red circles are.
A dog's anal glands are located at about the four and eight o'clock positions around the dog's anus. Their purpose is to secrete this foul-smelling stuff that is your dog's unique scent, which is why you often see dogs sniffing each other's butts — it's how they learn each other's smells.

Normally, dogs will be able to push out anal secretions every time they defecate, but if a dog's stool is too soft or if he is simply not able to manage this, the anal glands may become impacted and swell. This causes the dog discomfort, and usually this is when dogs begin scooting their behinds along the floor to try to alleviate their suffering. Sometimes, anal glands will swell to such a size that you will actually be able to see them slightly protruding through the dog's skin around his anus. If anal glands are allowed to become too impacted, they could rupture. This poses a serious health risk for your dog, and surgery may be necessary to fix the problem.

Draining a dog's anal glands is somewhat of a controversial practice, and I explain the controversy in my previous post about how to keep your dog clean. But if you do need to express your dog's anal glands, then it's very important to do it right to prevent scaring or injuring your dog in the process. Some people prefer to wear gloves while doing this to avoid getting anal secretions all over their hands. I simply schedule sessions to express my dog's anal glands during the time he takes a bath, so I can do the procedure and immediately rinse the mess clean when I bathe him.

There are two ways to do it:


1. Locate the anal glands at the four and eight o'clock positions.
2. With your thumbs, firmly apply pressure to the anal glands in an upward motion, squeezing them toward the anus. If there is any fluid inside, it should come out of the dog's anus at this point. Be careful, sometimes anal secretions shoot out, and you're the target! Some people hold a piece of tissue against the dog's bottom to prevent getting hit.

If you find there are no secretions coming out, then stop. You don't want to accidentally injure your dog by squeezing too hard.

Sometimes a dog's anal glands are simply impossible to express externally, and sometimes dogs' anal glands shift positions or recede deeper ino their bodies as they grow and age. In this case, interal exrpression of the anal glands is probably necessary. If you're particularly squeamish about sticking your finger up your dog's popper, then a glove is probably a good idea for this one.


1. Insert your index finger into your dog's anus and locate the anal glads at the four and eight o'clock positions. Try to be gentle, your dog is probably very uncomfortable.
2. With your thumb firmly pressed against your dog's flesh on the outside, press your index and thumb together against the anal gland to push out any secretions.

Again, if there are no secretions coming out, you can stop the procedure.

If you think your dog's anal glands need to be drained and you absolutely can't figure out how to do it, or can't stomach the process, then take your dog to the vet. A veterinarian will absolutely be able to help you express your dog's anal glands.

Good luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep comments relevant to the post. All comments will be monitored before they are published. Thanks for understanding!