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Help! How do I squeeze my dog's anal glands, Teneriffe Vet?



The anal glands/sacs are a pair of small glandular structures, located inside the anus (imagine the anus to be a face of a clock and the glands are located at the 4 and 8 o’clock position). Each sac has a small duct that empties a foul-smelling fluid that is normally squeezed out onto faeces every time your dog defecates.  When your pet is unable to void this secretion properly, it can lead to blockage, infection and abscess formation.

Small dogs (particularly overweight specimens) such as miniature poodles, toy poodles and Chihuahuas seem to be predisposed to this problem. It is also reported that chronically soft faeces and poor muscle tone can contribute to anal gland problems.

Help! How do I squeeze my dog's anal glands, Teneriffe Vet?


How do I know if my dog has anal gland problems, Teneriffe Vet?

Signs vary according to the stage the condition has reached. I like to call the initial signs “the itchy bum syndrome”. Your dog will drag or scoot his bottom on the ground as if he is relieving an itch. Occasionally you can smell the odour or even find wet smelly patches on your carpet. Some dogs will lick their anal area and others will chase their tails. The area around the anus may also become inflamed from trauma caused by scooting or licking. Blocked anal glands can quickly become infected, leading to the formation of an abscess if not treated appropriately. The abscess formed can be very painful and can rupture through the skin.

It is important to note that dogs suffering from food allergies or intestinal worms can cause similar signs. Make sure your dog is up to date with his worming routine using an all-wormer (including tapeworm).

What are the treatments available, Teneriffe Vet?

Blocked anal glands can usually be relieved by carefully squeezing out the contents which involves inserting a finger into your pet’s anus. I do not recommend owners to DIY this as you may cause more harm than good. Visit your local vet to get this done professionally.

A less “invasive” method is to put a tissue on the anus, place your thumb and forefinger just below the anal opening. It will be roughly at the 4 and 8 o’clock position and gently pinch in and squeeze. Blocked glands can sometime be felt as two firm bubbles underneath the skin at this area. This method is less effective at emptying the glands. When in doubt, always consult your local vet and ask him/her to show you how to do it. Watch my How-to video on expressing anal glands down beforelow

Infected glands are usually painful and will require general anaesthesia. The glands are flushed and antibiotic administered. Abscesses will require lancing, flushing and a drain inserted to prevent further pus accumulation.


There is a high recurrence rate of all types of anal gland diseases especially infection and abscess formation. Some experts recommend removal of anal glands (anal sacculectomy) if glands are required to be emptied every few weeks. The operation involves delicate surgery as the anal glands lie within the anal sphincter muscle and very close to the nerves and arteries supplying the anus.  However when the surgery is performed well by a skilled surgeon, the results are excellent and healing is rapid.

How often should I have my pet’s anal glands emptied, Teneriffe Vet?

Let your pet decide for you. If you find your pet scooting, then it is probably time to pay the vet a visit.

What else can I do to help my pet with this problem, Teneriffe Vet?

Bulking up their faeces with physllium husk may be a good idea. Similarly, you can try adding pumpkin to their diet to increase fiber intake. As with a lot of other diseases, exercise will be beneficial for your pet by strengthening up his muscle tone and shedding the extra pounds.





If you are looking for a Tenerrife vet, call (07) 3216 0045 to make an appointment to see Dr Nic at Fortitude Valley Vet.