How to Express Dog Anal Glands Safely in 4 Easy Steps

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Are you a dog owner faced with the prospect of anal gland issues? It’s a common concern that can arise unexpectedly. While the thought of addressing anal gland expression might be daunting or even a bit off-putting, it’s a manageable aspect of pet care that you can handle in the comfort of your home. Imagine the relief of bypassing those costly vet visits for something as simple as gland expression.

With the right know-how, you can ensure your furry friend’s health and happiness without the extra expense. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the steps of how to express dog anal glands safely at home. Plus, I’ll share preventative tips to help you avoid future issues. Let’s empower you to take this aspect of pet care into your own hands!

How to Express Dog Anal Glands

  1. Gather your materials
  2. Prepare your dog
  3. Lubrication and location
  4. Express the glands
  5. Clean up

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Gather the following materials and have them on hand to streamline the process:

  • Latex Gloves
  • Paper Towels
  • Lubricant – Petroleum Jelly or Vaseline
  • Dog Treats
  • Wash Cloth


  • Bathtub (recommended for easy clean up)
  • Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

Step 2: Prepare Your Dog

Position your dog in the bathtub for a more straightforward cleanup process. If a bathtub isn’t an option, place a large dog on the floor or a small dog on an elevated surface.

It’s helpful to have an assistant to restrain your dog during the process gently.

Step 3. Lubrication and Location

With gloves on, apply a light coat of lubricant to your thumb and index finger. The glands are located at the four o’clock and eight o’clock positions around the dog’s anus, and an anal sac will feel like a tiny grape.

Step 4. Express the Glands

Place a paper towel over the gland to catch the fluid. Using gentle but firm pressure, squeeze and massage the impacted anal glands. The goal is to have the fluid release onto the paper towel.

Be ready for the possibility of a strong, fishy odor. The fluid should be brown and watery. If you notice a thick, discolored discharge, this could be a sign of an anal gland infection, and you should contact your veterinarian immediately to get your pup the necessary treatment.

Step 5. Cleaning Up

After you express their anal glands, clean your dog’s rear end with a damp washcloth or give them a full bath to ensure cleanliness and remove any lingering odors. Finally, properly dispose of the gloves and paper towels and clean the area thoroughly to maintain hygiene.

Common Signs of Anal Gland Issues

While many dogs never experience anal gland issues, some require intervention. You can spot the tell-tale signs that your dog might need their anal glands expressed if you notice any of the following behaviors or symptoms:

  • Persistent scooting or dragging their rear on the ground
  • Frequent licking or chewing near their anal area
  • Visible redness or swelling around the anus
  • A distinct, fishy smell emanating from their back end
  • Apparent discomfort or hesitation when sitting
  • Difficulty or straining while defecating

These indicators suggest it might be time to address your dog’s anal gland needs.

Preventative Care

Ensuring the well-being of your dog’s anal glands involves regular, proactive care. While certain small breeds may be more susceptible to gland issues, there are effective strategies to minimize the risk.

Dietary Adjustments: When a dog poops, a firm stool is essential in naturally expressing anal glands. If your dog’s stools are consistently soft, consider transitioning to a fiber-rich diet or adding a fiber supplement like canned pumpkin to their meals.

Digestive Supplements: Incorporating prebiotics and probiotics into your dog’s diet can promote a healthy gut, aiding in digestion and potentially preventing anal gland complications.

Regular Exercise: Physical activity helps maintain regular bowel movements, which is crucial for the natural expression of the anal glands. Encourage your dog to engage in exercise that stimulates their digestive system.

Allergy Management: If your dog suffers from allergies, addressing them is essential. Allergies can contribute to anal gland problems, so using over-the-counter allergy supplements or seeking advice from your veterinarian can be beneficial.

By taking these preventative steps, you can support your dog’s anal gland health and help avoid the need for frequent expressions.

Express Your Dog’s Anal Glands Safely at Home

Maintaining your dog’s anal glands at home can be a simple and economical choice if regular visits to the groomer or vet for this specific task aren’t your preference. By learning to manage this less-than-glamorous aspect of dog care personally, you can save a significant amount of time and money. Embrace the challenge – your furry friend will appreciate the comfort, and your wallet will appreciate the savings.

Utilizing The Bathtub

Using the bathtub for expressing your dog’s anal glands is a practical method to keep things clean and contained. It’s an efficient two-in-one solution; not only can you address their glandular needs, but you can also immediately wash away any residual odor with a soothing bath. This ensures your home stays fresh and your canine companion is comfortable and clean.

Commonly Asked Questions

Expressing a dog’s anal glands typically causes minimal discomfort and is not considered painful for the majority of dogs. The process is swift, usually completed in under a minute, ensuring any unease is short-lived for both you and your pet.

It’s generally uncommon to frequently express your dog’s anal glands since they are designed to empty a little each time your dog defecates. Only when your dog exhibits the symptoms of an impaction should you consider intervening. If you notice a need for regular expression, it’s advisable to seek guidance on preventative care and consult with your veterinarian for a health evaluation, as you don’t want to become dependent on regular expression.

Anal glands play a crucial role in your dog’s health. If signs indicating the need for gland expression are overlooked, prompt action is necessary. Neglect can lead to blockages, resulting in infections or impaction of the anal glands, which can cause significant discomfort and health issues for your dog. It’s vital to address these needs to maintain your pet’s well-being.

Wrapping Up Dog Anal Gland Expression

Expressing your dog’s anal glands can be a straightforward and stress-minimal task that’s manageable at home. With the proper dietary management and preventive measures in place, the necessity for at-home expressions may be significantly reduced or even eliminated. Should the need arise, take comfort in knowing that this is a quick procedure that typically doesn’t necessitate professional intervention. By staying informed and attentive to your dog’s health, you can ensure their comfort and peace of mind.

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