In dogs, anal glands are two small sacs found on either side of the anus that hold a scented fluid used in scent marking. Under normal circumstances, these sacs are expressed when your dog has a bowel movement. The majority of dogs will never need assistance to have their glands expressed. However, because we have bred everything from giant Great Danes to tiny Teacup Chihuahuas, sometimes an individual will have glands that are not shaped or positioned properly to be cleanly expressed naturally. The fluid can build up within the sacs and become thickened to the point where the glands cannot be expressed naturally and so the animal needs assistance. An over-full gland can be irritating or even painful, can become infected, and in extreme cases, can rupture. It is necessary at this point for your veterinarian to intervene and provide relief.

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

No! Unless you have the proper training please do not attempt to express your own dog’s glands. You can cause further trauma if you do not perform this task correctly.

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

Scooting can be a sign that the anal glands are overfull and your dog is trying to get relief. If you notice your dog scooting frequently, please contact your veterinarian’s office.

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