How to Express Dog Anal Glands At Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

Written by Dr. James Bascharon

As pet parents, it's of the utmost importance to our furry friends healthy and happy. One common issue many dog owners face is the need to express their dog's anal glands.

How To Express Dog Anal Glands At Home With Manual Expression

External expression is the most common method for expressing dog anal glands. Here's how to do it step by step:

  • Gather Supplies

    Disposable gloves, clean towels, and mild dog-safe soap.

  • Position your Dog

    Have your dog stand or lie down on their side.

  • Identify the Glands

    Wear gloves and locate the two small sacs located on either side of your dog's anus.

  • Express the Glands

    Gently squeeze the glands between your thumb and forefinger, applying pressure towards the anus.

  • Clean Up

    Be prepared for the secretion and use a towel to clean the area. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

Manual Expression - Video Walkthrough

In the video below, Dr. James Bascharon will equip you with the essential knowledge and techniques to ensure your furry friend's comfort and well-being. Save on frequent vet visits and become a confident pet owner with our step-by-step walkthrough. Let's dive in and learn how to provide your dog with the best care possible!

Common Anal Sac Problems

Anal sac issues, collectively referred to as anal sac disease, are prevalent, especially among small and overweight dogs. The following problems may arise, including complications related to anal glands in dogs:


Normally, a dog's anal glands empty partially with each bowel movement. However, if the sacs aren't fully emptied, their contents can dry up and cause impactions. This condition is painful for dogs, and if left untreated, it can lead to abscesses. Impactions can occur due to anal sac abnormalities or soft stool, which doesn't adequately express the glands.

Infections and Abscesses

Anal glands can become infected and may even develop abscesses if not treated promptly. This condition is painful and often requires veterinary intervention, including antibiotics and pain medication.

Anal Sac Tumors

Tumors in the anal glands hinder a dog's ability to express them naturally. They can make the glands feel firm and enlarged, and diagnosing them usually requires a biopsy and ultrasound.

If you are uncomfortable or inexperienced with expressing your dog's anal glands, it's best to seek the help of a veterinarian. They have the expertise to perform this procedure safely and ensure your dog's comfort

How to Express Glands Naturally

Expressing your dog's anal glands naturally involves maintaining their overall health and diet. Here are some tips:

High-Fiber Diet

A diet rich in fiber can help regulate bowel movements and promote natural gland expression.

Regular Exercise

Keeping your dog active and maintaining a healthy weight can aid in proper digestion and gland function and reduce the risk of anal gland issues.

Consistent Hygiene

Ensure your dog's anal area is clean to prevent infection or discomfort.

Foods to Help Dog Anal Glands Express Naturally

Certain foods can help promote natural gland expression. Consider adding these to your dog's diet.

  • Pumpkin: The high-fiber content in pumpkin can aid in regular bowel movements.

  • Sweet Potato:  Another fiber-rich option that can benefit your dog's digestive system.

  • Oat Bran:  Oat bran is an excellent source of soluble fiber.

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