Express anal gland in dog [5 helpful tips].

Your dog slides his butt across the carpet and you wonder why he does that? Also, he constantly licks his anus, or at least tries to? All these can be signs that something is wrong with the so-called anal sac of your dog. The anal glands can become clogged. This article explains what the anal glands are and what the anal sacs do in dogs.

Flatulence and anal gland
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If you don't help your dog to defecate, you may risk anal gland inflammation or even painful abscesses.

What is an anal gland?

In dogs, you usually distinguish between the anal glands and the anal sac. Both refer to certain glands in the anal region.

The anal pouches represent a special form of gland. In particular, the anal pouches, as a special form of gland, are found exclusively in carnivores. The only animal exception to this rule is the brown bear, which has no anal pouch.

The anal sacs designate a collection site for a special glandular secretion at the end of the colon. 

The secretion of the anal glands of your pet should usually be rather slimy and brownish in color. Blood admixtures or yellow/green pus secretion are completely untypical. 

Both blood and pus are serious signs of disease. If you notice either or both of them on your four-legged friend's anus, you should always consult a veterinarian. This will save your furry companion pain and an unnecessarily long healing period or complications with serious consequences!

Where is the anal gland located in the dog?

Anal gland butt dog

In the case of the anal sacs, you will find this glandular collection space below and to the side of the anus. It will help you to find the pouches if you think of the times 8 and 16 o'clock: these positions are ideal to feel the anal pouches. 

The secretion in the bag has a strong odor due to its composition. This also immediately explains the function of the anal gland.

You have probably seen how meeting dogs sniff each other first on the butt. One reason for this is the anal pouch. The secretion ensures that each fur nose has a characteristic smell. This is how the animals recognize each other. 

In addition, they secrete the secretion when defecating. In this way, they mark their territory with the help of their individual odor. But that's not all:

The secretion from the anal pouches helps the animals to defecate solid feces more easily and to repel enemies.

But the secretion is also important for reproduction. It is a sign for the conspecifics that there is readiness for mating. 

There are few differences between the sexes and dog breeds as far as the anal pouch is concerned. Basically, both males and females have such anal pouches.

Anal glands differ in individual dog breeds mainly in terms of size.

Small breeds in particular, such as Chihuahuas and Spaniels, are more likely to have problems with inflamed and clogged anal sacs than large dog breeds.

Symptoms and causes

The anal gland of the dog is located near the anus and next to the rectum.

Normally, the anal glands do not cause any problems. However, it can happen that too much secretion accumulates and clogs the anal gland. 

How does it work? 

Your fosterling either wipes the secretion off on objects or excretes it together with the feces. In any case, it is a natural process. Only when the glands become clogged does your pet start to show signs of problems. 

What are the symptoms of a blocked or even inflamed anal gland? What are the causes of anal sac problems? I'll show you.

Anal gland

First signs of clogged anal glands


It can happen to your faithful companion that the anal glands become clogged. Ideally, the secretion of the secretion works perfectly for life.

Sometimes the exit ducts of the anal glands become blocked. As a result, the secretion remains in the anal pouches and it accumulates more and more. 

The filled anal sacs are increasingly uncomfortable for your charge. At the same time it is possible that bacteria cause inflammation. 

To help you notice such blockages and inflammation, here is an explanation of the common symptoms: 

Clogged anal glands initially cause only minor discomfort.

Sledding is considered to be particularly conspicuous...

This involves your dog sliding his butt across the floor to empty the anal sacs despite the clogged glands. 

Because the clogged glands cause increasingly strong Itching. Your protégé thus tries to get rid of this itch by sliding across the floor.

What seems funny at first can quickly cause damage - especially your pet suffers when emptying the bags doesn't work out.

You will notice it when your dog unclogs itself. Then a persistent, intense (and unpleasant) smell hangs in the air. 

Due to the itching, there are other symptoms.

For example, your dog may try to lick or bite his own anus. In some cases, he additionally chases his own tail to relieve himself from the pressure and itching.

Important symptoms of inflamed anal glands

Besides sledding interpret Redness and Swellings also indicate deeper inflammatory processes. If the anal gland is inflamed, this inevitably leads to swelling of the region with simultaneous reddening of the skin.

Such inflammation of the anal gland aggravates the symptoms over time. As soon as the situation gets worse, the suffering of your protégé also increases:

The anal gland hurts, itches violently and exerts strong pressure on the anal region. Your hairy companion may then not walk at all or avoid sitting on the butt. 

At the latest with such symptoms the animal should be helped. Such help is ideally provided by a veterinarian - especially if inflammation of the anal glands is prevalent.

Incorrect and inadequate treatment of inflamed anal glands automatically entails complications. In particular Abscesses and Suppurations are among such consequences.

The aggravated inflammatory processes of the anal gland increase the suffering of your four-legged friend. He then suffers from the increased body temperature and the onset of Fever.

At this point, it can also happen that he becomes weaker, because the pain and fever are getting to him.

Loss of appetite and apathy are always serious signs of an emergency!

Reasons for anal sac problems

Clogged anal sacs are not a nice affair in the first place. Many furry noses are spared from it throughout their lives. But there are also those who get problems with their anal glands again and again.

Why is that? 

Partly plays a certain Assessment into what is happening. Some dogs suffer because of the Feces texture from clogged anal glands.

Soft chair can cause a lack of pressure. This causes the secretion from the anal glands to thicken, so that the exit ducts become blocked over time.

Likewise hard feces can be problematic: This irritates the anal region and sometimes causes swelling, which can also affect the anal glands. 

Hard feces often result from a chronic constipation. At the same time excites Chronic diarrhea the anus. Both cause clogged anal glands and increased accumulation of foul-smelling anal gland secretions. 

These blocked anal glands are frequently the reason for inflamed anal sacs. Tumors, fistulas and abscesses at the anal glands are likewise conceivable. 

There is also a comparatively harmless cause for anal gland problems. Does your fur bearer suffer from a weak connective tissueWhen the patient is in the mouth, he feels a certain pressure, although the anal sacs are hardly filled. 

All these causes can be effectively eliminated by a suitable diet and proper medical treatment.


The correct treatment of inflamed anal glands and blocked anal sacs is essential. Then your quadruped can defecate without problems and the healing progresses quickly and easily.

You notice the first signs (sledding, licking ...)? 

Then it is recommended to visit a veterinarian first. He can show you how to empty blocked anal sacs without inflaming the anal glands. 

If there is an inflammation - possibly suppurated - the veterinarian will also help. After emptying the gland, he prescribes appropriate medicines and ointments. They will effectively help your pet to recover. Only if nothing helps, you should consider surgery and removal of the anal glands.

The following section will tell you what to look for when squeezing the anal sacs.

How to squeeze anal sac?

For clogged anal glands, there are two options for emptying them:

You can do it yourself or you can take your charge to a veterinarian, animal healer or dog salon. 

Those who have no experience with manual squeezing of anal sacs should definitely ask the professional for help first. 

The veterinarian in particular sees blocked anal sacs regularly and knows when there is a serious condition behind them. 

The manual treatment of a simple blockage can show you the respective expert in the field. Especially if your pet suffers from frequent anal gland blockage, it is worth doing it yourself. The veterinarian can show you the procedure for squeezing anal sacs.

In principle, it is important, create hygienic conditions, so that no infection occurs. The most suitable Latex gloves for squeezing and emptying the anal glands. Additional Paper towels help to catch the escaping secretion.

To squeeze out the anal sacs and expose the anus for this purpose, lift your quadruped's tail. Sometimes lifting the tail is enough to empty the pouches. 

Squeezing is somewhat reminiscent of squeezing pimples. However, you use less forceful pressure. Rather, emptying the anal sacs is a gentle massage.

It is important that you take the exact right position to empty the bags: Your fingers are at the sides and below the anus, at the "8 and 4 o'clock" positions. Use the paper towels to gently push toward the anus.

It may be necessary to insert a finger into the anus to remove hardened secretions. Be careful when doing this - after all, you don't want to hurt your pet. 

It often helps to have a second person around to distract your furry friend with something like treats.

Additional tips to empty the clogged anal sacs:

  • Be prepared for the violent stench!
  • If you notice blood or pus, be sure to stop the treatment!
  • If you are unsure or see blood/pus, always see your vet!
  • It is best to perform the treatment on a washable floor (e.g. tiles or bathtub) or outside.

Prognosis and prophylaxis

Inflamed anal glands usually have good healing prospects. You can already achieve a lot by you or your veterinarian using the Anal pouch emptied and cleaned regularly.

. medicinal measures can be helpful under certain circumstances. The prognosis is better for your pet the earlier the problem is detected. In addition, the chances of recovery are worse if your pet suffers from tumors.

The prevention through the regular massaging of the anal gland is usually uncomplicated. However, the proper hygiene important. This will help you avoid infections as a result of the treatment.

Last but not least, the vet will be able to tell you if it is even a good idea to empty the anal glands on a regular basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

The anal glands are glands near the anus. The anal sacs designate a collection site for a special glandular secretion at the end of the colon.

In the case of the anal sacs, you will find this glandular collection space below and to the side of the anus. It will help you to find the pouches if you think of the times 8 and 16 o'clock: these positions are ideal to feel the anal pouches.

A clogged anal gland can be painful and uncomfortable and also lead to abdominal cramps. Therefore, in case of emergency, action should also be taken!

Some symptoms are sledding, itching, redness and swelling. Apathy and loss of appetite are then already serious signs that you should act on.

Veterinarian’s Recommendation

If you have never emptied a dog's anal glands before, I advise you to have it done by a knowledgeable person.

If it should happen and you discover pus and/or blood during defecation, contact your veterinarian immediately. Or if you notice any other unusual symptoms, do not hesitate to make an appointment.

Your vet will definitely get your pet back in shape and give you more advice to take with you on your journey 😊

Veterinarian Emin Jasarevic
Veterinarian Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion, and it is my personal goal to create medically accurate articles and videos to educate pet owners as much as possible.

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