|Photo: Brambleberries Photography|
I've decided to write a little how-to for anyone who was ever interested in learning how to express their dog's anal glands. But first, a little more information on anal glands.
Anal glands are located right inside a dog's rectum and are filled with a very strong-smelling stinky substance. The substance has a sort of fishy odor to it. The sacs are usually expressed when your dog has a bowel movement. Many dogs will express them when they become scared or excited too.
Why do dogs even have anal glands? The strong scent is used as a means to mark their territory. I'm not sure why they do it when they become scared - maybe it's a stinky secret weapon.
Some dogs, for whatever reason, get impacted anal sacs. They don't express their sacs normally and the substance inside becomes very firm and can even rupture. Small breed and obese dogs seem to be prone to this problem. Signs that your dog is experiencing discomfort from their anal glands are excessive licking of the rear end and "scooting" their butt across the floor.
So, after reading all of that if you're still sure that you want to give it a go, here's what you need to do:
- Get your supplies ready. You should have some gloves (for your own personal hygiene), lubrication, baby wipes or paper towels.
- I would not recommend doing this alone. Get one person to hold your dog for you. The bathtub is usually a good place.
- Put your gloves on and lube up your index finger.
- If your dog's butt were a clock, the anal glands would be located at 3 and 9 o'clock. Try to stand to the side of your dog's butt and not directly behind it. I would also turn my face away. (Wouldn't want to be sprayed!)
- Place your index finger on one of the glands, inside the rectum. Your thumb should be on the outside. You should be able to "pinch" the gland between your thumb and index finger.
- Once you've found it, which isn't always easy, gently squeeze from back to front. I would say like you're milking a cow, although I've never done that. But, I'd imagine that it might be similar?
- Anyways, try to catch the anal gland secretion in the palm of your hand or the paper towel so it doesn't spray everywhere.
- Repeat this on the 2nd anal gland.
- Wipe your dog's butt with your baby wipes or paper towels. Maybe spray some doggy cologne.
- Wash your hands!
Hope these tips help you express your dog's anal glands in the future. And again, sorry if I grossed anyone out.
Does your dog need to have their anal glands expressed regularly? If so, are you a do-it-yourself-er or are you more likely to pay someone else to do it?