How to Clean a Female Dog's Glands

Easy
2 - 5 Minutes
2 Months

Introduction

All dogs have glands located just inside their anus. Referred to as anal or rectal glands, they are designed to add a liquid to your dog's poop. This liquid does the same thing as the urine, which is to mark her territory. In fact, the scent released by these glands is considerably stronger and more effective. The only problem is that these glands can become impacted, which requires you to massage them until the blockage is cleared out and the buildup of fluid inside is released. It might take you a few extra minutes to do this while you are learning, but once you have mastered the skill, it will take you less than five minutes. 

Dog's Perspective

Your dog probably doesn't even know she has anal glands. But what she does know, is that when they become impacted or infected, they can itch, burn, or simply be very painful. The easiest way to diagnose this condition is when your dog starts dragging her bum across the carpet, trying to scratch it and get at least some measure of relief. It is your job to recognize the signs and then help her by massaging the glands until they drain. 

The Going to Get Messy Method

Effective
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Towel
Step
1
Your oldest, grubbiest clothes
Keep in mind that when each of the impacted glands finally does release, the liquid can come out under pressure. You could easily find yourself being caught in the crossfire. This liquid is extremely odoriferous (it stinks). Be sure you are wearing old clothes you really don't care about.
Step
2
Grab some extra hands
Since you will be inserting a finger into your dog's rectum, something you can count on her to hate, you will need an extra pair of hands to help keep her still. Make sure they are dressed appropriately for the job as well.
Step
3
Where to work
Since this is going to be messy work, the best place to express a dog's anal glands is in the bathtub where you can simply rinse it all down the drain. Alternatively, you can lay some potty pads on the floor or use a quantity of paper towels to catch the fluid.
Step
4
Time to get to work
Put on a pair of examination gloves and with one hand, lift the tail out of the way. Lubricate the index finger of your other hand and gently insert it into the dog's rectum. Since her glands are full, they should be easy to find. They are located at approximately the 5 and 7 o'clock positions.
Step
5
Massage the glands
Using your index finger and thumb, gently start to massage the glands on one side. Never use more pressure than you could stand if you were squeezing your eyeball. Keep working until the blockage is cleared and the gland empties itself. Repeat for the other side.
Step
6
About that mess
When you have achieved success, her glands should appear deflated and soft to the touch. The only thing left to do is wash her bum and clean out the tub.
Recommend grooming method?

The Four Hands Are Better Than Two Method

Effective
0 Votes
Towel
Step
1
Pick your partner
There is no way your dog is going to like having your index finger inserted into her rectum. You can be sure she is not going to stand still for it. For this job, you need a family member or good friend with no sense of smell (yes, the liquid in these glands stinks) to help hold her in place while you get to work.
Step
2
A gland in the hand
With the dog's back end facing you, don a pair of examination gloves. Use one hand to lift her tail out of the way. Apply a little lube to her anus and gently insert an index finger inside. Move your finger around until you find the glands (one side is at the 5 o'clock position, the other is at the 7 o'clock position).
Step
3
Do the rub
Using your index finger and its corresponding thumb, massage the gland on one side gently to work the blockage out of the passage through which the fluid should normally flow. It might take a couple of minutes, be careful your index finger isn't blocking the outlet, but you will be rewarded with a spray of fluid once successful. Try not to get any on you as it reeks.
Step
4
Repeat for the other side
Repeat the above steps for the other side. Keep massaging until both glands feel deflated and empty.
Step
5
Wash her bum
Using a warm soapy washcloth, gently scrub your pup's rear end clean and trim back any excessively long hair. Clean up the mess and you are all done for now! Give her a treat and let her go on her way.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • If at any time you see blood on your index finger or coming out of her rectum, stop what you are doing, and take your dog to the vet immediately.
  • Never try to do this without a helper. If your dog jumps or struggles while your finger is inside her rectum, she could become seriously injured.
  • Never apply excessive pressure to the glands as this could seriously injure her.
  • Always wear gloves to protect yourself from infection.
  • Safety glasses are also a good idea, the liquid can spray out under pressure and you do not want to get it in your eyes.
  • If after a few minutes of massaging nothing happens, take your dog to the vet.to safely removing the blockage and clear the glands out. 

Conclusion

While impacted glands tend to affect smaller dogs more frequently, this problem can affect bigger dogs as well. You should be checking the glands regularly--the perfect time to do so is while you are giving her a bath. Take all the time she needs, be very gentle, and be free with treats as a reward for putting up with what you are doing. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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