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How to Express Dog’s Glands Externally?

Wet, small dog having its anal glands expressed

It is natural for dogs to express their anal glands when they poop. However, they are unable to express these glands on their own (in certain situations) and will require external help. This is when these tiny glands will have to be squeezed by the owner or a vet. Keep reading to know whether you can express your dog’s anal glands (externally) or will it require professional help.

Problems with your dog scooting its bum on the carpet? Here are 7 Simple Home Remedies for Dog Scooting.

Can I Express My Dogs’ Glands Myself?

Yes, you can, but only if you are an experienced dog owner and have discussed the problem with a vet. It’s not recommended for novice owners to express the glands of their dogs because they can make things worse.

For example, improper handling can make a dog uncomfortable and cause further inflammation of the glands. Similarly, a lot of people may puke during the process because of the nature of the job. Therefore, it’s much better to go for a professional groomer or veterinarian if you are not confident.

NOTE: You should NEVER express your dog’s glands (even if you are experienced) if there is blood or pus around the anal area.

How to Express a Dog’s Glands Externally?

Butt view of a pug with a human hand holding a paper towel next to its anus

The very first thing to ensure before expressing your dog’s anal glands at home is that they are not bleeding. Similarly, there shouldn’t be any pus around your pup’s bottom for you to progress. Once you have made this primary check, you can go ahead with the external expression of your dog’s anal glands. Here’s how to do it.

Put the Dog in the Right Position

  • Get a friend or family member who could help you during the process. Make sure that your dog is comfortable and friendly with that person.
  • Then, position your dog on a table or floor (depending on his/her size) so that he/she is standing on all fours.
  • Now, ask your helper to place one arm underneath and around your dog’s neck like a cradle. The other arm should be hugging the rest of his/her body for support.

Find the Anal Glands

The butt view of a dog with a human hand showing the location of the anal glands
  • Once the dog is set, wear a pair of latex gloves and put some lubrication on your index finger.
  • Then, lift the tail of your dog and insert the finger into your dog’s rectum (about one inch).
  • After that, place your thumb on the outside of your dog’s anus and bring it towards the index finger. This will create a motion where the finger and thumb will be running around your dog’s anus.
  • Now, locate the anal glands of your pooch. One of them is located at the 4 or 5 o’clock position while the second anal gland is around the 7 or 8 o’clock position.

Express the Glands

  • Once you’ve located the anal gland, place a paper towel in front of the area. This is because these glands tend to squirt outward and can create quite a mess on the floor.
  • Then, apply a gentle amount of pressure to express the gland. The gland will be fully expressed when you can hardly feel it.
  • Repeat the same process for the other gland.
  • Lastly, clean the anus of your dog with a warm soapy washcloth. This will help in getting rid of the strong, fishy smell of the fluid.

How Do You Know If Your Dog’s Glands Are Full?

Chihuahua dragging its butt across a dirt road

The following signs and symptoms mean that your pup’s glands are full and must be expressed.

  • Scooting
  • Red skin
  • Excessive licking (or biting) of the bottom
  • Leakage of sticky, pungent-smelling fluid from the glands
  • Drainage of blood or pus from the anus

Check out these Home Remedies for Dog’s Bleeding Anus.

How Can I Help My Dog Express Glands Naturally?

Yellow labrador puppy laying on a white background with a blue dog food bowl

Some of the ways to ensure that your canine friend expresses the glands on his/her own are as follows.

Increase Fiber in Their Diet – This is an ideal remedy to solve this problem because fiber stimulates the formation of hard stools. Hence, they will apply sufficient pressure on the glands to release the stored fluid.

Make Your Dog Drink Extra Water – Adding more liquid to your dog’s routine is an excellent way to regulate their digestion. However, some dogs are reluctant to drink water and may need some extra effort from the owner. If that’s the case, you can use chicken broth to entice your pup or invest in a pet fountain.

Provide Plenty of Exercise – Exercise encourages the expression of anal glands by ensuring consistent elimination. It also boosts the digestive activity of your dog and helps in minimizing gastrointestinal issues.

Control Your Dog’s Weight – Scientific research has proven that obese dogs are more likely to suffer from anal gland problems. Hence, you should keep a close eye on your dog’s weight and make appropriate changes to the diet plan to keep him/her fit and healthy.

Use Probiotics to Improve Digestion – Canine-formulated probiotics and digestive enzymes are quite beneficial for addressing this problem. This is because they improve digestion and aids the formation of hard stools. Hence, your pooch is able to express his/her glands naturally.

What Happens If a Dog’s Glands Aren’t Expressed?

Beagle laying on a couch with its head hanging off of the edge

If the anal glands of a dog are not emptied regularly, they can become inflamed and may develop an infection. In that case, the pup will find it really hard to defecate and will scoot around the house in an attempt to find some relief. Impacted anal glands will eventually burst which is not only messy but also very painful for the dog. Therefore, it’s very important to ensure that your dog’s glands are being expressed, either naturally or externally.

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