How often do you express dog glands? This is one of those questions that dog owners don’t like to talk about. It is even taboo for some people. Regardless of that, this is something you may have to do at a certain point. Here we will reveal all the basics and the rest you need to know about the matter. Keep in mind that we are referring to anal glands.
Anal Glands: Basics
Just telling you the answer wouldn’t be very helpful. You need to know and understand the matter. How often to express a dog’s gland’s answer starts with the first things to know.
Anal glands are located inside the rectum of your dog. There are two of them on each side. They are small, usually the size of a grape. These glands contain chemicals that are expressed when your dog poops. They can also be expressed when your pet is scared. When he poops, the poop will press on the glands and the chemicals will be released. These will cover the poop completely, and they can cause a specific smell.
The main purpose of anal glands is to leave a scent on the poop, which helps dogs mark their territory. This is quite obvious and a well-known fact. All dogs do this; hence, all dogs need anal glands.
Anal glands are known to cause a lot of problems for some dogs. For instance, if your dog’s butt smells like fish, these glands may be the cause. There are a lot more cases when the glands are the main cause of the issue, and they need proper treatment. A vet may even have to remove the glands in rare circumstances. This is far from a common thing, but it can happen.
How Often Dogs Need Their Anal Glands Expressed
There is no simple, one-word answer here. How frequently your dog will need this depends on the dog, the main cause, and many other factors. Luckily, there are a few things we can reveal here that will help you understand the issue. In a nutshell, if your dog has one of the symptoms mentioned below, he will probably need his anal glands expressed. These symptoms are:
- Frequent (too frequent) licking of the butt
- Discoloration or swelling of the rectum
- Issues with bowel movements
- Fishy smell at the butt
It is important to add that if your dog doesn’t have any of the symptoms, there is no need to express his anal glands. On the other hand, if your dog has one or two issues, you will need to react. The best thing to do is to take him to a vet. He or she can diagnose the issue properly and express glands if needed. Your groomer can do the same thing but without diagnosing the main cause. In some cases, this will resolve the problem.
Bur, expressing anal glands too frequently is not a wise idea. It can damage the glands and cause infection and many other problems. How often to express dog glands will depend on different factors. But, when you notice some of the symptoms above, you can do it. Do not try to do this if there are no symptoms present.
You Can Express The Anal Glands of Your Dog As Well
As we have mentioned earlier, the best thing to do is to take your dog to a vet and let him express the anal glands. It is a far from pleasant job, and many dog owners are unable to do it by themselves. But if you must or really want to do it by yourself, you can.
You will need help. Another person should hold the dog on his four legs. You will wear latex gloves covered with petroleum jelly, and you will push your index finger inside the rectum. On the other side, you will have your thumb, and you should feel the two fingers touching. Then move around and find a small sac that is the size of a grape or pea.
When you detect it, squeeze the sac, and the liquid will come out of it. The liquid should be brownish in color. Once done, repeat the process on the second gland. Don’t forget that there are two glands in all dogs.
If the liquid here is cloudy or has a different color, you will have to take your pet to the vet. Make sure to stop or abort the procedure if your dog is in pain. It is possible that his glands are swollen and painful. Expressing them in this case will be very painful to your dog. Once again, you will have to take him to a vet to diagnose the main problem that will require proper treatment.
Conditions and Diseases That Affect Anal Glands
Many dog owners believe that anal glands are the main cause, and as such, expressing them will be the solution. In reality, these are affected by diseases and medical conditions, so expressing them won’t be the ultimate solution. It is wise to know a few of the most common medical conditions that may affect the anal glands of your pet.
Impaction is a condition in which the duct is clogged. Anal glands have a small duct or a small opening where the liquid will escape the gland. When the duct is blocked, the liquid will have to remain in the sac and will be unable to escape. This means that the glands will swell, and the liquid inside will get much thicker and almost be like a paste. A bigger reason to be concerned is the fact that this makes the environment ideal for bacteria and germs.
Inflammations can affect all parts of the body, and as such, they can affect the anal glands. One of the reasons why inflammation may occur is expressing the glands too often. There are many other issues that can cause inflammation as well. Proper medical treatment is needed to eliminate the inflammation and usually express the glands. After that, your dog will not have the same issue. Just to add, this condition is known as anal glandular sclerosis, so now you can know the medical term as well.
This is cancer that affects the anal glands of your dog. It usually affects some older dogs and cannot be frequently seen in younger dogs. The main thing to know here is that this type of cancer is malignant and can spread all over the body, which will be a very severe problem.
Your vet will have to perform a rectal exam and find any symptoms of cancer. If present, he or she will have to provide proper treatment. In some cases, surgery to remove the glands may be needed.
This is a condition that is commonly present once the impaction lasts for quite some time. The sac will grow in size, and the pus will appear. If left untreated, the sac can burst, revealing a small hole. Ooze and the bad scent will be present as long as this issue is active.
Try to remember that this issue is more than just severe and that it can affect your dog’s health more than you imagine. It is mandatory to take him to a vet and get proper treatment. Treatment may include the use of anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics. A good thing is that the treatment is more than just effective.
How can You Help?
Just expressing the anal glands is not the solution. It is more like a part of the treatment. You can still do something for your pet. Make sure to help him maintain a proper weight (obese dogs have a severe risk of problems with the anal glands) and use a high-fibre diet. A hypoallergenic diet may be used as well.
If the dog had anal glands removed, you will have to make sure the wound doesn’t infect, and you will need to pay close attention to the affected area. As always, each surgery carries the risk of infection or complication. Luckily, we know that most surgeries of this kind are 100% successful and there are no major issues.
As always, it is crucial to have proper care of your pet and to make sure his health is spot on. Expressing anal glands is far from a severe and complicated problem, but it is one of those things that sounds scarier than it actually is.
The Final Word
How often do you express dog glands? It seems like we didn’t provide a simple answer. This is because there is no simple one-word answer. In other words, how often you need to do this depends on each dog and on the condition that makes the need for this particular exercise necessary.
In some cases, you may have to do this once per month while in most cases your vet will find the cause of the problem and sort it out. All we can say is that it can be a severe medical condition, and your dog needs professional help.