October 10, 2016 | Erin | 6 Comments 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 fed 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 infection 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 Put on a latex glove and stand to the side of your dog, with a paper towel or gauze in your gloved hand 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. 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.