Vetnique Labs

Our Passion is Pets

That passion reaches outside our walls into every product we develop, every call and email we respond to, and the numerous animal welfare organizations that we support.

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How Often Should Anal Glands Be Expressed?

Generally speaking your pet's anal glands should only be manually emptied (or "expressed") when needed. Expressing the anal glands too often can lead to further irritation of the anal glands. Therefore it is best for the anal glands to empty naturally when your pet defecates. With that said, if the anal glands are blocked or overfilled they may not be able to empty on their own, thus requiring expressing by a veterinarian.

How To Tell If Your Pet Needs An Anal Gland Expression


If your pet's anal glands fill up excessively, it can create pressure, which can be very uncomfortable for your dog or cat. When this happens, your dog might display symptoms of anal gland problems, the most common of which is scooting their rear end across the floor. Besides scooting, other symptoms of anal gland problems in dogs include a fishy or foul odor from your pet, excessive licking of the rear end, discomfort while walking or sitting, straining to defecate, or redness/swelling near the rear end. 


In cats, it may be difficult to pinpoint any symptoms as cats are very good at masking their illness. One of the few signs that could indicate that your cat is having an anal gland issue is defecating outside of the litter box.

How To Further Support Anal Gland Health

In order for your dog's anal glands to empty normally, they need large firm stools to create pressure during defecation. Feeding your pet a high-quality diet with the proper ingredients and nutrients is critical to ensuring healthy stools and healthy anal gland function. 

It is important to feed a diet that is made from high-quality ingredients and free from excessive fillers to help maintain firm and solid stools. Maintaining your pet's ideal weight is important as overweight pets may have increased difficulty emptying their glands. Regular exercise can help to tone and strengthen some of the muscles that help to empty the glands. If your pet has allergies than reducing exposure to these allergies can help to reduce anal gland problems.