The Whys and Hows to Expressing Your Dog’s Anal Glands

If your dog is scooting around with with bottom on the ground or chewing at the base of his tail, there is a chance that your dog is having a problem with his anal glands.

This pair of glands is, in a olfactory kind of way, a dog’s calling card/Facebook timeline since they let other canines in the area know who has stopped by, what they’ve been eating, and when. Located on both sides of a dog’s anus, these glands normally excrete a strong scented liquid when the dog defecates. However, the problem arises when these glands fail to express themselves and get impacted and then infected. This is more common in smaller breeds and may be caused by a diet heavy in table scraps and/or dog food containing too much filler. The firmer your dog’s stools are the more likely it is for his anal glands to be healthy.

Impacted Anal Glands

The good news is that anyone who cares about dogs can express a dog’s anal glands. Your dog’s vet, groomer, and even you can do it.

Expressing the Anal Glands

Expressing your dog’s anal glands is a quick and simple procedure. Gather some paper towels and a pair of latex or non-latex gloves, and then recruit an assistant to hold your dog in place while you sit behind him.

Fold a couple paper towels into a square a little larger than your hand and put on the gloves. Have your dog stand up so you can get a good view of his anus and lift his tail. With the pointer finger and thumb of one hand locate the anal glands by pressing alongside the anus until you feel two pea-sized glands inside your dog at about five and seven o’clock of the anal opening. All of this is done outside the anus.

Keep your thumb and finger in place and then, with your other hand, place the folded paper towels over the anus opening. With the paper in place, apply pressure to the anal glands simply by pressing on them with your pointer finger and thumb. If the glands need to be expressed, they will squirt out a strongly-scented liquid, which the paper towels will catch. Then wipe your dog’s backend clean with a new paper towel and pat his head.

Infected Anal Glands

If the glands do not express or if expressing them does not stop him from scooting around and chewing at the base of his tail, his glands may be infected or he may be suffering from a completely different condition, both of which means you need to take your little guy to the vet right away.

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