How to Express a Dog's Anal Glands

By Susan Paretts


A dog has two scent glands located on each side of his rectum. These glands, also called anal sacs, contain an unpleasant-smelling liquid used to mark territory. When a dog produces a bowel movement, the pressure against the sacs in the rectum should release the fluid naturally. Sometimes the glands don't empty properly and become filled with anal gland discharge, leading to itching and irritation. A dog with clogged or swollen anal glands will scoot along the floor or lick incessantly at the area. To relieve this irritation, you can express the glands manually yourself.

Step 1

Place your dog in a bathtub or sink, depending on his size, to prevent the anal gland discharge from getting on carpets or furniture. The oily, brownish fluid is not only extremely unpleasant smelling, leaving a lingering odor that is difficult to remove, but it can also stain fabrics.

Step 2

Put on disposable latex gloves. You can throw these gloves away after they come into contact with the anal sac fluid.

Step 3

Place a small amount of petroleum jelly on your index finger and insert it into the opening of the rectum to feel each anal gland. The glands are located at the 5 and 7 o'clock positions, respectively, and are usually the size of a bean or slightly bigger, depending on how much fluid each contains.

Step 4

Squeeze each gland separately between your thumb and index finger, with the index finger inside the rectum and the thumb on the outside of the rectum. Squeeze with an upward, gentle motion. The glands have openings near the top of the rectum, so squeeze in this direction. Hold a paper towel over the area with your other hand to catch any discharge that erupts. Continue to squeeze the glands until little fluid comes out.

Step 5

Wipe down the area with a damp paper towel to remove any excess brownish or greenish discharge. Remove as much of the fluid as you can with the paper towel.

Step 6

Fill the tub or sink with a few inches of warm water and wet your dog's backside. Wash the area around the anus with a small amount of dog shampoo to rinse and clean away any excess discharge. Rinse well with a handheld shower attachment or kitchen sink sprayer. Dry the area with a clean paper towel.
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