All dog owners are familiar with how dogs sniff each other’s butt when they  meet . Have you ever wondered why they do it?  We know that dogs have a keen sense of smell, but seriously, they present their rear ends to another dog when they meet.  Not surprisingly, there is a reason that they do this and it has to do with the canine anal glands.


Your dog has glands located on either side of his anus. The sac within the gland is filled with a fluid.  When your dog has a bowel movement, the fluid is released. The fluid has a distinctive odor that identifies your dog’s  age and sex, and how healthy he is.  Sometimes, though, the gland does not work as it is supposed to. It may not drain properly due to a malfunction or if your dog is fdog-5ed a low-quality diet and does not have  substantial bowl movements.


When the glands do not empty as they were intended to do, they become painful and irritating to your dog, which in turn can affect his bowel movements and lead to an abscess or infection.


Signs that your dog’s anal glands are impacted are scooting his butt across the floor or biting  or licking at his butt. The fluid that has built up in the gland needs to be expressed or squeezed out in order for your dog to have any relief. For dogs that are prone to anal gland impactions, a high-fiber diet can help make more substantial stools  which will help with drainage.  Some dogs get abscesses or infectiodoganalglands1n in their anal glands and the veterinarian may decide to remove the glands.


Your vet or dog groomer can express your dog’s anal glands when needed,  or you can request to be instructed on how you can do it yourself at home.

This would allow you to give your dog immediate relief by not having to wait for an appointment.  I will warn you, though, the fluid that you are draining has a strong, unpleasant odor.


How To Express the Anal Glands

  1. Put on a latex glove and stand to the side of your dog, with a paper towel or gauze in your gloved hand
  2. Use your index finger and thumb on either side of the anus, over the glands at the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock position. Squeeze upwards and inwards and empty the fluid.
  3. Using a mild soap or dog shampoo, wash and dry your dog’s butt.




Please feel free to leave a comment or  ask a question, or share your experience with expressing your dog’s anal glands at home.

6 comments on “Canine Anal Glands: How To Help a Dog’s Butt Right Now

  • As an animal lover I love what you’ve done here. Honestly this is information I never knew and you’ve got a great and easy layout. I really like how easy it is to navigate your site. Some people’s websites are very difficult to find content on. I think you’re off to a good start here.

    Keep it up.

    • Hi James. thanks for the great comments! As an animal lover I am glad that you find my site helpful and easy to navigate.

      Tale Care,


  • Wow, well this was useful! I know I need to do this more, but have to admit it’s easier to ask the groomer to do it. question… How often should this be done?
    Is this really why dogs smell each other’s butts? Does a full anal gland tell the other dog something important? Anyway, the video was really helpful. At least i’ll know how to do it next time. Thanks for the post.

    • Hey Jackie, draining anal glands is for sure not a pleasant task and your vet or groomer will not charge much to do it for you…I wanted to write this post so that pet parents know that they have the option to help their dog right away and that it is something that you can do if your budget does not want to cough up the funds to have it done! Your dog will tell you that is it time to drain his or her glands. If you see the signs, butt scooting or biting and licking at the butt, it needs to be done. The anal gland liquid is how your dog “marks” his territory.

      Take Care,


  • Wow. I didn’t know about anal glands at all.
    I thought they were just sniffing butts.

    It is funny to watch them sniff each other butts. Now, I know why they do it. To seek for a potential mate. 😀

    I also realized that my dog sometimes did mop the floor with her butt. I really wish I had known about this. I might be able to help her relieve the pain.

    Good to know for my future pet!

    • Expressing anal glands is definitely not a pleasant thing to do, but it IS something that you can to do make your dog more comfortable right away My Beagle needs hers done quite often so it is good that I know how to help her. If she is going to vet anyway, it is not expensive to have that included, but I don’t want to have another vist to the vet just to have her anal glands drained.



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