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Dog Anal Gland Expression

Anal glands and their associated sacs are located under the skin on either side of the anus of dogs. The scent released from anal sac material is what other dogs smell to identify each other. When functioning normally, they will express with bowel movements or when excited. It is generally noted by the owner as a foul, fishy smell. If these sacs become too full, infected, or blocked, it can be quite irritating. If you see your dog persistently scooting their rear end or repeatedly licking their anal area, they may be telling you their anal sacs are full and bothering them. You may see redness or swelling next to the anus, and in the worst case, this sac can rupture if not emptied in time. If you have concerns about your dog’s anal sacs, please call for an appointment with your veterinarian.

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

Many dogs do not need their anal sacs manually emptied regularly. Most dogs with normal stool and normal anal sacs will express those sacs on their own with their bowel movements. If your pet shows the signs of irritation listed above, then they should have their anal sacs evaluated and emptied. If this is a regular occurrence, your veterinarian can discuss ways to help your pet’s sacs function more normally.

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

Full and irritated anal sacs are a common cause of “scooting”, but they are not the only cause of this behaviour. If your pet is persistently scooting, it may be advised to schedule an examination with your veterinarian to determine if there could be another cause requiring treatment other than anal sac expression.