How to squeeze your dog's anal glands

Written by cate burnette
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How to squeeze your dog's anal glands
Expressing your dog's anal glands aids in keeping its overall good health. (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Positioned below its anal sphincter, a dog's anal glands produce a fluid that lubricates the rectum, allowing faeces to move more freely out the anal opening. When these glands get full, you may see your dog scooting across the floor or obsessively licking at its bottom to relieve the pressure. You may smell a foul, acrid odour coming from the area. When you learn how to express your pet's anal glands, you not only save money on vet or grooming visits, you help ensure your dog's continuing health.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Disposable latex gloves

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  1. 1

    Put on a pair of latex disposable gloves.

  2. 2

    Stand to one side of your dog and place the arm of your nondominant hand around and under its belly to keep your pet from moving away. If your dog resists this kind of restraint, have an associate hold it for you.

  3. 3

    Raise its tail with your nondominant hand, ensuring that you don't pull or jerk the tail in a rough manner.

  4. 4

    Position your dominant hand just below your dog's anus so that your first finger rests at the 4 o'clock position and your thumb sits at 8 o'clock. If you are left-handed, your finger position will be reversed.

  5. 5

    Massage your fingers up toward the rectal opening, gently squeezing as you go. You may need to do this more than once before you see evidence of anal sac fluid.

  6. 6

    Continue expressing the anal glands until all the fluid is eliminated.

Tips and warnings

  • Place a paper towel or rag over the fingers of your dominant hand before you begin squeezing the anal glands. This catches any extra anal sac fluid that can squirt out or drip down from the area.
  • Keep your head and eyes above the area you are expressing to prevent being squirted in the face by the smelly sac fluid.
  • You may observe that the fluid being expressed is particularly thick, almost a peanut butter consistency, or that you are unable to massage anything out of the glands. At this point, veterinarian Dan Wasmund recommends consulting with your veterinarian to avoid bacterial infection and possible abscesses in his "PetStuff Online Newsletter."
  • If you notice your dog's anal glands are swollen or inflamed, you need to seek veterinary attention for your pet. The anal sacs may be impacted and can become infected, requiring prescribed antibiotics to heal properly.

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