All About Anal Glands In Dogs

All About Anal Glands In Dogs

The first thing we think of when we see our dog scooting their but along the ground is that they must have worms. Nine times out of 10 it isn't worms- its actually their anal glands that have become full and feel annoying.

Look its not a particularly nice or fun topic to discuss, but the reality is lots of dogs have issues with their anal glands.

As a vet nurse, we had to express anal glands all the time- and let me tell you- anal gland juice is not something you want near you. Its one of the foulest smelling bodily fluids around (sorry, sorry gross I know!). If your dog has ever had any trouble with their AG's you will know what I'm on about here.

Whilst they are relatively easy to express- having your dogs anal glands expressed can actually cause more harm than good. The more they are messed with the less likely they are to express naturally and then you can end up in all kinds of trouble with anal gland abscesses etc (OUCH). Or you end up at the vet every month for a squeeze and trust me- your vet doesn't want that as much as you don't want to pay for it (also, doubtful your dog enjoys it but I would never kink shame them if they did).

The easiest way to facilitate the natural emptying of your dogs anal glands is to make sure their poo is nice and firm. This is how they are emptied- a nice hard little nugget of poo passes the gland and because it is hard the liquid oozes from the gland and comes out naturally with the poo. (wow that's a sentence that conjures up some imagery) :|

Dogs poo should be hard, small and firm. If its not it may be time to look at their diet and introduce raw meaty bones and/or a good probiotic. The most common reason for the inadequate poos is a lack of fibre in the diet.

There are a few ways you can increase fibre in the diet (and help with anal gland issues). Its important to not go too crazy with all of these options as it can end up the other way- constipation/blockage, which is an even more expensive vet visit than a simple AG expression.

1. Feed furry treats!

2. Include carrot and pumpkin in their diet.

3. Give raw meaty bones regularly.

4. Add some Psyllium Husk to their food (1 teaspoon per 10kg of bodyweight daily).





  • When looking at the anus- the glands sit at about 10 and 2 (sometimes lower). You wanna glove up and lube up and come in behind the gland, using your thumb and fore finger to coax the liquid back towards you (TMI?!).
  • When overly full- they can be about the size of a grape.
  • Dogs with allergies are more likely to have issues with their anal glands.
  • You can actually have them removed if your dog has severe, persistent issues with them (its not recommended but sometimes done as a last resort).
  • Overweight and small dogs most commonly have issues with their AGs. There's never been a better reason to keep your dog lean!
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