anal gland expression helps dogs with impacted anal gland sacs

Anal Gland Expression in Dogs: How, What, Why???

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We’ve all seen it. A dog scooting across the living room floor in a sitting position with their bottom firmly pressed against the ground. Hopefully this is not what you’re seeing ATM. But if so, looking into anal gland expression in dogs could find you the solution.

What is it, you ask? Well, it’s certainly not an expression your dog wears on their face. And if it was, it’d be more of a sad face than a smiley face. We share the answer to your questions, and more, in this article.

Why do dogs sniff each other’s…?

Dogs produce a scent from two tiny sacs that are housed in their bottoms. When two dogs meet, they don’t shake hands, they sniff each other’s anal glands (or rather the scent these produce). The anal gland scent is a big deal in the world of doggy speak. You could say it’s a key component of canine communication.

Of course, the scent is also released when your pup poops. Yet another light-bulb moment! No wonder our pooches are so interested in each other’s poop. They sometimes take this step too far, going from nosing to actually tasting. But hey, everyone’s unique.

Speaking of eating unusual things, read all about why dogs eat grass.

dogs sniff scent from each other's anal gland

Impacted anal glands in dogs

But alas, pooping doesn’t always apply enough pressure to relieve and empty the anal glands as it should. Or rather, tiny poops don’t. When the glands don’t fully empty they can be impacted.

This is a terribly sorry situation that sees dogs around the world scoot across the ground trying to get a wee bit of relief. Another giveaway is when a dog starts paying a bit too much attention to licking their bottom.

So how to help? Easy – the answer is anal gland expression for dogs.

How to express a dog’s anal glands?

Anal gland expression is a bit like giving suppositories, in that it involves inserting a (gloved) finger into the rectum. That’s where the similarity ends. With anal gland expression, you’re not inserting medication, but rather you’re emptying the anal gland sacs.

This is done by gently squeezing them to empty their contents. Some dogs have chronically recurring impacted anal glands in which case this needs doing regularly. It’s important to note this condition isn’t just uncomfortable; it can become dangerous.

Untreated, your dog’s anal glands can get infected and abscessed. The abscess can rupture, in which case no longer will antibiotics do the trick but instead pooch will need surgery.

dog scooting

Home remedies for dog scooting

Now is a good time to give thanks to vets. Anal gland expression is not something most of us wish to try at home. But it is possible. In fact, videos of vets guiding pet owners through the steps of anal gland expression in dogs get as many as 14 million views.

Anal gland expression in dogs is sometimes seen as part of grooming – only if it’s needed, that is. Some groomers will do it as part of their service. Otherwise it’s up to you or your dog’s vet. Regardless, if you do notice an issue with your dog scooting then the vet should always be your first call.

Your dog may be scooting for another reason; for example, because they have parasites. Check out these puppy healthcare milestones for how often worming needs doing.

Here’s a video of how to do anal gland expression in dogs, at home:


A soft landing with award winning pet insurance

If your dog’s anal glands become impacted and they need antibiotics, or surgery and pain medication, be sure you have pet insurance. Your plan will pay towards the cost of the unforeseen vet visit and treatment. This includes hospitalisation, surgery and even prescription medication.

Of course, anal gland expression in dogs is but one of many reasons to have a dog insurance plan. It’s essentially health insurance cover for pets that helps safeguard your finances against pet illness, accidents and more. Find out why PD Insurance won Canstar’s 2022 Outstanding Value Pet Insurance Award by starting your pet’s plan today.

You’ll get your furst month or more of award winning dog insurance FREE when you buy online. Click below to get going.

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