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Anal Gland Expression

What are anal glands?

Your dog has anal glands located on both sides and slightly below his anus. They produce fluid with a distinctive odour that identifies him and tells other dogs his sex, approximate age, health status, among other things.

Healthy anal glands express, or empty, this fluid when the dog has a bowel movement. Unfortunately, some anal glands don’t work as they should because of inherited defects, or because of a history of poor-quality foods that produce poor-quality bowel movements.

If the anal glands don’t empty properly, they can become blocked, making bowel movements difficult or painful, and may potentially lead to infections or abscesses.

It’s not uncommon for a rescued dog to have a history of anal gland problems. Your dog may damage the delicate tissue around his anus in his attempts to relieve his own discomfort, so if you see him biting at his butt, or scooting it along the ground, take him to the vet.

How are anal glands expressed?

Obstructed anal glands can often be relieved by manually expressing (squeezing out) the fluid they contain. This is a very smelly process, but if you’d like you can have your vet teach you how to do it. Most people whose dogs need their anal glands expressed occasionally prefer to pay to have it done.

If your dog’s anal glands get blocked frequently, ask your vet to recommend a high-fibre diet to create bulkier stools. If that doesn’t work, and if your dog has repeated infections or abscesses from blocked glands, the anal glands may need to be removed.

If you have any questions please pop in and have a chat with one of our vets.