Anal Gland Expression

Learn about the signs, remedies, and when to seek veterinary assistance.

Anal glands are small glands located just inside your pet’s anus. The glands secrete an oily material that helps to lubricate the stool as your pet passes a bowel movement. The glands have a distinct fishy odour, which makes them ideal for scent marking. Most pets are able to empty their anal sacs on their own. However, some animals lose their ability to empty their glands and require manual expression to prevent impaction.

Should I drain my dog’s anal glands at home?

Anal glands can be expressed at home, but it’s not a job for everyone. The anal glands are located on each side of and slightly below the anal opening, at the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions. Anal gland expression is done by applying pressure with the finger, start below the gland and then push in an upward direction.

If my dog scoots on the carpet a lot, does this mean their anal glands are impacted?

Scooting is when your pet sits down on its hindquarters and drags its anal area across the floor or ground. This is a sign that your pet’s anal glands may be impacted and require expression. Anal glands may become impacted because of the glands thick secretions, soft stools or simply because of the anatomy of the gland. A veterinarian can determine if your pet requires expression or has developed an infection of the gland.

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