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How do you know if your dog needs glands expressed?

How do you know if your dog needs glands expressed?

Expressing, aka emptying, your dog’s anal glands is not really a topic you talk about on a daily basis, to be fair it is a stinky topic (pun intended). However, it’s something you should inform yourself as a dog owner because it’s an important part of your dog’s health. This is because blocked anal sacs can lead to severe infection and ultimately cause a lot of pain to your dog. But, how do you know if your dog needs its glands expressed? How do you do it? And should you do that or a veterinarian? These are all questions we’re going to answer today, and more!

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What are anal glands?

Before we answer the question how do you know if your dog needs glands expressed, we need to explain what anal glands are.

Anal glands vs. anal sacs. These two terms are often used interchangeably, however, they are not actually the same thing.

Basically, every dog has two anal sacs, which are on either side of its anus. These anal sacs are full of anal glands, which are sweat glands that continually fill up with fluid. When your dog poops, these glands normally empty themselves naturally and put your dog’s scent in his stool. The problem is when this doesn’t happen naturally, it usually happens when your dog has loose stool for too long.

How do you know if your dog needs glands expressed?

When your dog can’t express its anal glands naturally there is increased pressure in your dog’s behind. This causes your dog to want to lick his bottom and/or scoot across the carpet. Another sign that your dog needs its glands expressed is a yuck-inducing smell coming out from your pet’s backside.

Scooting or dragging its but on the floor

The probably most common sign your dog needs his anal glands expressed is scooting or dragging their but on the floor.

Licking and chewing its butt

Is your dog licking and chewing at his or her rear, maybe it’s time to check his or her gland situation.

Chart that shows when a dog needs its anal glands expressed
How to know your dog needs its anal glands expressed

Weird smell

If your dog’s glands don’t get expressed, the build-up you will notice a very disgusting smelling odor coming out of your dog’s butt. It will smell like feces but a lot stronger.

Problems pooping

Another sign your dog’s anal glands might need to be expressed is if your dog has problems with pooping. This is because its glands will get so swollen that it will be painful for your dog to pass stool.

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Are some dogs more likely to need their glands expressed?

It’s possible for every breed, no matter the size, to need their glands expressed. However, according to veterinarians smaller breeds and toy-sized dogs are more prone to needing their anal glands expressed. Besides this, dogs that have inflammation issues and dogs with food allergies are more prone to anal gland infections!

How do you express your dog’s anal glands?

Now, that you know the answer to the question “How do you know if your dog needs glands expressed”, let’s take a look at how to express your dog’s anal glands.

This is an easy one. You don’t. As simple as that. This doesn’t mean that your dog’s anal glands shouldn’t be expressed, it just means you shouldn’t be the one doing it!

There are certain people who do this dirty deed themselves, but it’s not really safe nor recommended. This is why there are veterinarians who know what they are doing. So, if you notice that your dog is having any of the above mentioned symptoms, please always take it to your veterinarian! He or she will be able to express the glands, if needed. Besides this, they can also determine whether there are any underlying issues that need addressing. 

Conclusion – How do you know if your dog needs glands expressed?

Many dogs have problems with their anal sacks and glands and need them expressed. A good indicator for this is a foul smell coming out of your dogs behind, problems pooping or scooting. If you notice any of these it’s recommended you take your dog to the veterinarian where its anal glands can be expressed. Never do this at home, you’re not a professional and you can hurt your dog in many ways.