How to Express a Dog’s Anal Gland: How to Groom a Dog

By Jay White

February 11, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

When grooming a dog, one of the more difficult parts that many don’t consider is expressing the anal gland. Though a shampoo, ear cleaning and nail trim are all pretty standard and easy to learn, this final piece is one that some skip, and others will use as their reason to use a groomer instead of doing it themselves. However, once you learn how to express a dog’s anal glad the first time, you will find that it is easy (although it can be pretty smelly). This is most often done with small breeds, and the sign to look for to know when it is time is a small dog scooting his butt across the floor. Be certain that you know that they need expressing, and if you haven’t consulted a vet for this in the past, do a double-check to make sure you are doing something to help, and not further damage your pet. When you are ready, here are some tips:

1. If you have a dog who tends to nip when he/she is annoyed, this is probably something best left to a groomer. They have the ability to immobilize a dog’s head, and keep them from getting after them if something is done that the dog doesn’t approve of. It is important to remember that this is a risk no matter which dog is being groomed, and to take precautions if you choose.

2. Gather Your Materials: You will need several pieces of old rag or paper towels, and a pair of gloves at a minimum. Prepare a clean work space in an area that is easy to clean up if there is a spill (try to avoid a spot that’s over carpeting). Try and protect your clothing as well with an apron, or by wearing some old throwaways in case the stinky stuff gets on you.

3. Position the dog’s hind end toward you. If you can, have the front end secured by a person or harness. Lift the dog’s tail and locate the glands, which are usually grape-sized and located just below and to the side of the anus. While being as comforting as possible toward the dog, begin to milk the glands with your thumbs in a direction that is up and toward the anus. If you are doing this right, a liquid should begin dripping out, which you can catch with your towels. If the liquid is pussy, cloudy, or very thick, this is a sign they need to see a vet. You will know you are done when no more liquid is expressed.

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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