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Dog Anal Gland Expression

You may have always wondered why dogs are always smelling each other’s back-end when they meet. It’s actually because of their anal glands! Anal glands are designed to give each dog its unique scent, as well as help lubricate stools as they pass. Many people never think about anal glands, until their pet has a problem with them. If dogs can’t express their anal glands naturally, bacteria can build up and cause infection. If the infection is not addressed, they may form an abscess, which will eventually rupture through the skin, causing severe pain for your pet.

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

No, normal dogs do not need their anal glands expressed on a regular basis. In fact, doing so when there is not a problem may cause irritation and inflammation. If your dog has been diagnosed with an anal gland issue, your veterinarian may ask you to monitor the size of the anal glands at home. There are special cases where the veterinary team may teach an owner how to express anal glands at home, to ensure you are not causing pain or damage.

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

Scooting (pulling themselves along the ground in a sitting position) is a classic sign that your pet may have discomfort and possible impaction of their anal glands. You may also notice excessive licking, or discharge coming from this area. If you see these signs in your pet, it is important to have them in for examination. If left untreated, anal glands can become infected and rupture through the skin. You will also be able to discuss with your veterinarian why this has happened and how we can prevent it reoccurring in the future.

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