How to Clean a Dog's Rectal Glands

Easy
2 - 4 Minutes
2 Months

Introduction

Your pup has rectal glands located around his anus that secrete a liquid in his poop that marks his territory in much the same way as when he pees. The big difference is that the scent is much stronger. But from time to time these glands become blocked and must be cleaned out or they can become impacted and infected. One way to spot the early signs that your pup is having a problem is when he starts dragging his butt on the floor or he starts chewing on the area because his bum itches. The good news is that once you have learned how to clean his rectal glands, it should only take you a couple of minutes to get the job done. 

Dog's Perspective

Your dog probably never gives his rectal glands much of a thought, until they start itching or have become impacted and painful. You may notice him having problems pooping because impacted anal glands can be painful. Should his glands become overfull, he counts on you to clean them out by massaging them to remove excess fluid and clear out the passages the fluids flow through.

The Dress for the Job Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Towel
Step
1
Nothing new
If there is one thing you need to do before you start to clean out your pup's rectal glands, it has to be an old set of clothes. Since the liquid may spray from the glands once you start to massage them, you certainly don't want it on your good clothes. You should also put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands.
Step
2
Add one helper
Since your pup is not likely to be very happy about having your fingers inside his rectum, you may need the help of a willing assistant to hold your pup still while you express his glands.
Step
3
No mess
The best place to clean your pup's rectal glands is in the tub while you are giving him a bath. If you are going to do so elsewhere, you need an absorbent pad such as a potty training pad or wad of paper towels to catch the liquid as it is released.
Step
4
Clean out time
Lift your pup's tail, lubricate one index finger and then locate his rectal glands. They should be at the 5 and 7 o'clock positions around his anus. They should be easy to find if they are full. With one finger and thumb, gently squeeze the glands together until they start to drain. You may need to massage them to get them to release the liquid. Never use more pressure than you could stand if you were pressing on your own eyeball.
Step
5
Clean up time
When you have finished massaging the glands and removed all traces of liquid, they should be soft and deflated. Take a nice warm soapy washcloth and clean the area around his anus thoroughly and you are all finished.
Recommend grooming method?

The Little Help from My Friends Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Towel
Step
1
A helping hand
Your dog is not very likely to want to stand still while you are inserting your finger into his rectum. The best way to deal with this is to have a family member or very good friend (one that can handle strong smells) help hold your pup still while you work.
Step
2
Put your hand on the gland
With your pup standing in front of you, don a pair of examination gloves and with your pup's tail lifted up out of the way (if necessary), insert one index finger gently into his rectum. Gently move your finger until you have located both glands. They should be at approximately 5 and 7 o'clock with his tail being at the 12 o'clock position.
Step
3
Massage time
Using your index finger and thumb, gently massage each gland to remove the buildup of fluid. The channels the liquid flows out of are located on the inside of your pup's anus so you will need to position your fingers carefully so be sure your finger is not blocking the passage. Catch the liquid with a pad of paper towel as it sprays out of the gland.
Step
4
Do the other side
Repeat the above process for the gland on the other side. If necessary, you can switch hands to make sure you clean out the other gland fully.
Step
5
Wipe down
Using a warm wet washcloth, clean the area around your pup's rectum to remove all traces of the fluid from this area as it is quite pungent.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Should you see any signs of blood in the area of your pup's rectum, you need to stop and take your pup to see his vet immediately.
  • Always use an extra helper to hold your pup still while cleaning his rectal glands. This will make the job easier for you and safer for your pup.
  • Use rubber or nitrile gloves to protect yourself and your pup from possible infection.
  • Be very gentle, you should not need to apply excessive pressure. If gentle pressure isn't working, stop and take your pup to the vet.
  • Use protective eyewear as the liquid may spray out under pressure.
  • If you squeeze his rectal glands and they appear full but will not release any liquid, you need to take your pup to see the vet.¬†

Conclusion

Smaller dogs are more likely than large dogs to suffer from overfull rectal glands that need to be cleaned out on a regular basis. You should check them every time you give your pup a bath or notice he is suddenly doing the "butt scooting boogie" on your carpets. Take your time and be gentle to make the experience as comfortable as possible for your pup. Don't hesitate to call your vet if you have any hesitation or suspect your dog has a medical condition that calls for an exam and treatment.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd