Can Dogs Naturally Express Their Own Anal Glands?

An important note for dog owners

Although discussing anal glands may not be pleasant, they are a vital part of a dog’s anatomy. Situated on either side of a dog’s anus, these small sacs have a significant function in their body. You may be curious about whether dogs can naturally empty their anal glands, and we aim to provide clarification on this subject.

Dogs have anal glands which produce a strong-smelling liquid and are used for communication. This liquid can be released when a dog is feeling excited, scared, or trying to mark its territory. However, there are instances when these glands can cause problems, resulting in discomfort and the possibility of infection.

Dogs typically do not naturally release their anal glands on their own, and may require assistance. Usually, anal glands empty themselves during bowel movements, but they can occasionally become blocked or impacted. This can happen due to factors such as diet, loose stools, or underlying health issues.

Expressing Dog's Anal Glands
Anus inspection for dog

If a dog’s anal glands are not naturally emptied, it can cause discomfort and various symptoms. You might observe your furry pet dragging their bottom on the ground, excessively licking their rear end, or showing signs of irritation and pain near the anus. If not treated, this can potentially result in abscesses or infections.

If you think that your dog is experiencing issues with their anal glands, it’s advisable to seek advice from a vet. They will be able to accurately identify the problem and administer the appropriate treatment. Veterinarians or skilled groomers frequently perform a procedure known as manually expressing the anal glands. During this process, gentle pressure is applied to the sacs to release the fluid that has accumulated.

Some dogs may require regular visits to the veterinarian or groomer to have their anal glands expressed, especially if they commonly experience issues. Changing their diet to include more fiber can also help decrease the occurrence of anal gland problems. Eating high-fiber foods can help make their stools firmer and allow for the natural expression of the glands during bowel movements.

It is crucial to refrain from trying to manually release your dog’s anal glands at home because it is a sensitive procedure that demands expertise and understanding of the animal’s anatomy. Without the proper skill, there is a risk of injuring your dog or intensifying the problem.

Reyus Mammadli/ author of the article

I have had pets since childhood: cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, geese, chickens, ducks, parrots, aquarium fish and dogs (in the yard). Of course, I constantly encountered diseases of pets and treated them. Glad to be able to share my skills and experience, as well as advice on caring for and adapting these critters and birds.

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