Ask Seth: Clean Dog Anal Glands

Hi Seth. How do you clean dog anal glands and how often?

This is a common question and a good one.  I will start by stating that although I will outline the procedure, you should ask your vet to demonstrate for you in person to make sure you know exactly what you are doing.

Have someone restrain the dog by placing one arm under and around the neck and the other close to their body hugging closely.   For small dogs, placing them on a sturdy table will help.   For large dogs, kneel besides them.  I personally recommend doing this outside due to the smell.  Put on your gloves and lubricate you index finger with a water based lubricant.  Gently raise the tail and gently insert your index finger into the rectum approximately one inch.  Feel for the gland which will be located at 5 and 7 o’clock position and will be the size of a raisin or pea.  When you have located it, put a paper towel on the anus and gently apply pressure on the gland and squeez toward you.  This is a gentle motion and the rule of thumb is to not apply more pressure on the gland than you would on your own closed eye.  The gland will be difficult to find when empty.  Wipe the anus and repeat on the other side.   If the contents appear to be gritty or you cannot express, DO NOT APPLY EXCESS PRESSURE!  This can be an indication of an impacted anal gland that is likely infected and should be seen by your veterinarian for treatment.

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