How to Internally Express a Dog's Anal Glands

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves

  • Lubricating jelly

  • Paper towels


Check for swelling of the glands and redness in color which could indicate an infected anal gland. Biting near the glands can also indicate that expression needs to be done.


Check anal glands visually, a discharge can indicate full anal glands. The discharge will have a foul odor, this is normal. An infected gland can turn into an abscess and this will need immediate attention from your vet.

No matter the size of your dog, you will require an assistant.

If your dog is scooting his butt on your rug and you wonder why she does this you are not alone. Anal gland impaction is frequently seen in all dog breeds and some breeds are more prone to anal gland impaction than others. This procedure is not for the squeamish or faint-of-heart. The issue from the anal glands smells bad enough to make some people quite ill. If you are one of those people, it is best to leave this procedure up to your vet or groomer.


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Step 1

For your dog's sake, try to externally express the glands first.

Have one person hold the dog's front end. This is important as the dog will not submit to this procedure willingly and must be restrained. In some cases you may need to use a muzzle as this can be uncomfortable for a dog and he may attempt to bite out of fear.


Step 2

Don a pair of rubber gloves and put some lubricating jelly on the index finger you will be using to express the dog's anal glands. Use plenty of lubricating jelly as this is uncomfortable for the dog and the jelly will make it easier on both of you.

Step 3

Look at the dog's rectum and imagine a clock. See the top as 12:00, and each side as 3:00 and 9:00. The bottom is 6:00. The anal glands are located at 4:00 and and 8:00.


Step 4

Gently but firmly place your thumb and index fingers on either side of the dog's rectum on the outside of the anus. Your thumb and index finger should be at about 9:00 and 3:00 on the outside of the dog's anal glands. Attempt to express the anal glands from the outside prior to resorting to internally expressing the glands. This is more comfortable for your dog.


Step 5

Pull towards you several times, using a stroking motion with your fingers. Just on either side of the anal opening you should begin to see a thick, black liquid emerge. It will have a strong, foul odor. Hold the paper towels to the area to catch the issue. If this does not work, move on to step six.


Step 6

Insert your index finger about a half-inch into the rectum. The anal glands will feel like small grapes at the 4:00 and 8:00 positions. Gently apply pressure while pulling towards you. If the glands are filled they will express a foul smelling discharge. If the color is black or brownish the dog is fine. If it is yellowish or green this could indicate the presence of an infection and should be brought to your veterinarian's attention. After the glands are expressed, clean up the area with a mild soap solution to cleanse the odor away.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.