Being a dog parent is not always gumballs and rainbows. Sometimes, you have to deal with things regarding your pooch that are not so pleasant, but this is simply a part of being a loving dog parent.
One of these things you may have to deal with is your dog’s anal glands. If your dog has started expressing their anal glands on your couch, it may be the case that your pooch has uncomfortably full anal glands and is having trouble emptying them without assistance.
What Are Anal Glands For?
It is well known that dogs’ anal glands release a scented excretion, and it is also understood that this secretion can help other canines find out certain information about a fellow dog, such as how mature they are, the condition of their health, and whether they are a male or a female.
Believe it or not, the main purpose of this secretion by the anal glands is disputed, with most biologists either believing that it is used for marking territory or to provide lubrication while dogs take care of their business.
Regardless of their purpose, you need to make sure your dog’s anal glands remain healthy so you can give your pet a happy life.
Indicators of Gland Issues
There are specific signs you should watch out for when trying to determine whether your pet has an underlying issue that is resulting in their anal glands not working properly, such as an abscess or infection.
Regardless of the root cause, it is vital that you help your dog by draining their glands, or else the sacs are at risk of rupturing. You certainly do not want that to happen.
Some of the indicators that your dog might need assistance in draining its anal glands include scooting around on its bottom on the floor, licking or gnawing near the area of the glands, problems with passing stools, and any pus or blood present in your pet’s stools.
A couple of other signs that your pet has full anal glands include an unpleasant, fishy sort of smell, and being averse to anyone going near their behind.
Avoiding Gland Issues
Although anal gland issues can sometimes be the result of genetic causes, which are difficult to prevent, other times, the root cause could be a lack in certain nutrients in your dog’s diet.
Thus, it could take a simple dietary supplement to assist your dog in having healthier anal glands that do not have problems draining properly. For example, an increase in fiber and fish oil can result in your pet having healthier anal glands.
Another preventative measure you can take, if your pooch is overweight or obese, is work on getting your dog’s weight down to a healthy amount. This will greatly reduce the chance that your pet will have problems with draining its anal glands.
Ways to Drain Glands
Once you figure out without a doubt that your pooch needs some help getting its anal glands drained of fluid, you must decide how you are going to go about getting the job accomplished.
Of course, keep in mind that your veterinarian is the most qualified person who can handle your pooch’s anal glands, so if you do not have experience doing this task, perhaps you should bring your dog to them.
One option you have for draining your pet’s glands, in some cases, is your pet groomer. Although your groomer should not simply drain the glands as a routine procedure every single time you bring your dog there for a haircut, you could ask your dog groomer if they have the skills to carry out this task when you notice your pooch’s glands are full of fluid.
If the particular groomer who you bring your dog to does not offer this service, you will need to choose one of the options detailed below instead, or you could seek out a different dog groomer who might be able to help.
The ideal choice for helping your pet empty their glands is having a veterinarian do it for you. This way, you can be certain that the task is being carried out adequately and in such a way that it will not harm your beloved dog.
By taking this route, you can also ensure that your dog’s anal glands are actually in need of draining and that nothing more serious is going on with your pooch that might warrant additional remedies. Thus, if you have the funds to do so, you should probably just take your pet to the vet.
Do It at Home Yourself
Although it is really best to have a vet or someone else show you how to empty your dog’s anal glands, you can attempt to do it on your own by following a few simple steps.
1 – Locate the glands
The first step is to grab a pair of rubber gloves and perhaps some paper towels or a washcloth, and then locate your dog’s anal glands, if you do not already know where they are. You can find two sacs on either side of your pooch’s anus, on the left and right sides slightly lower than halfway down the anus.
Once you have found the anal glands, you are ready to start the dirty work.
2 – Get into position
First of all, make sure you work gently and slowly in order to keep your dog calm and still. If you happen to have another person around that can help you with the process, you can ask them to keep their hands under your pet’s belly to encourage them to keep standing up.
For you to be the most comfortable throughout the process, you can consider placing your dog up on a table so that you can stand while relieving your dog’s glands.
3 – Drain the glands
You have two methods to choose from in regards to draining your pet’s anal glands. You can either carry out the process by inserting your finger slightly into your dog’s anus, or you can choose to work the fluids out externally.
If you are doing the external method, you need to hold up your dog’s tail, place your forefinger and thumb on either side of the anus, then gently push in and up in a milking type of motion—never squeeze the glands nor use too much pressure, or you could hurt your pet.
For the internal method, insert a finger from your gloved hand into your pooch’s rear end, then gently feel for each gland on the side. You can use the same milking me method as you would with the external method.
Keep in mind that the internal method is a bit trickier to do successfully, and it is also, of course, a more invasive technique, which is why many pet owners will opt for the external method.
4 – Make sure glands empty
The final step is to make certain your dog’s anal glands are completely relieved. During the process of milking the sacs, you should have seen fluid coming out of the glands’ openings, which indicates you are doing everything correctly.
The glands will feel empty once the fluid has been completely removed from them, and you will no longer see anything coming out of them. Keep in mind that if you are having issues getting the fluid out, you should probably attempt it again on another day so as to not harm your pooch.
If you notice that your dog is having constant problems draining its glands, you might want to get it checked out by a vet to make sure there is not an infection or any other health problems going on.
Although it should only be an absolute last resort, such as in the case of frequent infections that are impacting your dog’s health in a major way, there is the option of having your pet’s anal glands surgically removed if you want to avoid constantly having to drain them.
Keep in mind that this surgery can result in problems with your dog passing stools, so make sure to have a discussion with your vet to figure out if this is the best course of action to take.
If you have already been consistently bringing your pet to the vet for anal gland draining, they are probably well aware of what the best option is for your dog.
Underlying Causes of Anal Gland Problems
If you are taking all of the necessary precautions, but your dog is still regularly having problems relieving its anal glands, there could be other health issues afoot.
This section will cover some of the potential root causes of consistent issues with your pooch’s glands so you will have a better idea of what the next steps you need to take are.
It is very possible that your pet is suffering from an infection in one (or even both) of its anal glands. If you noticed that one gland is full and the other is emptying just fine on its own, this may very well be the case.
If you suspect this to be the root cause of your dog’s anal gland issues, you should visit your vet so they can get some antibiotics to you for your pooch to heal quickly.
If your pooch happens to be obese or even just overweight, it can result in many different health issues, some of which are life-threatening. Aside from the more serious problems obesity can cause, it can also lead to clogged anal glands in your dog.
It is important for you to work on getting your dog down to a healthy weight, even if this is not the reason for your pooch’s gland problems. If you want to give your dog the best life possible with fewer vet visits and more energy, this is a vital step you need to take.
One way you can start helping your dog lose weight is by taking them on walks daily and playing in an active manner with them, such as with a rope toy. However, make sure you do not push your pet too hard at first, or it will be too rigorous for their body. You can increase the intensity gradually as time goes on.
The other main factor in your dog losing weight is their diet. It must be said that you should not make a habit of giving your pooch table scraps all the time, and you should consider putting your pet onto a whole different kind of food, such as a raw diet.
Another possible root cause of your pet’s anal gland issues is skin dermatitis. If your dog suffers from this itchy skin condition, you can help alleviate their discomfort by giving them fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6, and you can wash your pet with medicated shampoo.
If your dog suffers from a lot of allergies, it could result in problems with their anal glands.
If this is the case for your pet, you could ask your vet for advice regarding ways to alleviate your pet’s allergies so as to hopefully solve their anal gland problem. They might recommend that you give your pooch some Benadryl to ease their itching.
This way, you can help your pet in more than just one way.
If your pooch is lacking certain nutrients in their diet, it could lead to issues with their anal glands draining on their own properly. One of these nutrients is fiber in its diet.
Make sure that you are providing your dog with a nutritious diet and avoiding cheap, low-quality dog food.
Now that you have finished reading, you should have a much better idea of why your pooch is expressing their anal glands on your couch or in other places. You should also have some next steps in mind to get the issue solved for good.
If your dog is suffering from painfully full anal glands, do not simply ignore the issue. Get the problem taken care of so your dog can be healthy and happy.
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys, and I’m so excited to start this adventure with them! In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.