Anal Glands - ewwww!

I'm not sure how many dogs owners know about the infamous Expressing of the Anal Glands, but I got to find out first hand all about this horrible task that most dog owners have to deal with. I can't remember when I first heard about it, but when I did I hoped Princess Daisy never had this problem. It's not a HUGE problem, but for most weak stomached people, it can be gross.

It all started in mid December. My girlfriend and I were sitting around watching TV when all of a sudden, I smelled something weird. It was kind of fishy, sort of irony, it almost smelled like blood tastes. It was a gross smell. Then a little while later, Daisy came over and wanted attention. So I was petting her and talking to her, then all of a sudden I smelled it again. Every time Daisy would wag her tail, I would catch a whiff of it. GROSS!! So I grabbed Daisy and took a whiff of her butt (No, I didn't stick my nose right up to it). It smelled awful. The first thing I thought of was anal glands. So, I visited one of my favorite beagle sites, Beagles Rule! and asked the people there about anal glands. They all helped me out by telling me all about a dogs anal glands and told me (in detail) how to "express" them manually. Expressing them means to empty the glands. I guess what happens is that the glands usually express on their own when a dog poops, leaving the dogs scent on the poop. That's why dogs like to sniff each others' butts. In some cases, the glands over produce or the gland openings are small, therefore need to be expressed manually every once in a while. Either way, Daisy's butt stunk and something needed to be done. 

After reading a bunch of articles about anal glands, I decided it was time for me to learn how to manually express Daisy's anal glands. A Veterinarian can express them for you, but I don't have $25 every month to see a Vet and have him do it, so I'll learn how to do it. It is recommended that you see a Vet the first time your dog needs expressing, because he/she will show you how to do it right. I, on the other hand, am a dare devil and decided I'll try it, just to see what happens. The first time I tried to express Daisy's anal glands didn't work out too well. I did everything the readings told me to do, but nothing came out.

What you are supposed to do is place your thumb at 7 o'clock & your index finger at 5 o'clock (if you are right handed) in relation to the anal circumference. If you push inward a little, you will feel 2 pea sized "balls" in there, one of each side of the anus. See Figure 1-A. Yes, I drew that, LOL. That shows Daisy's Bum, her anus, and the small little circles next to the anus are the anal glands. Once you feel the glands, apply a little pressure and push the glands upward and inward, squeezing your fingers together, the glands should empty. A light brownish, sometimes yellowish, "juice" or fluid will come out and sometimes squirt out. I highly recommend using latex gloves when doing this and having a warm, wet wash cloth nearby to wipe up any fluid. I also recommend doing this in a bath tub, where you can give your dog a bath afterwards, because the fluid stinks and will most likely drip onto your dogs coat. 

If the fluid is bloody or contains pus, then the anal glands might be infected and you should see a Veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. After the first time I tried, I kind of gave up and hoped that the problem would just go away, which is always a bad idea. A few weeks later, which is today, her butt was stinking up everything and something needed to be done. So I took Daisy into the tub and I did as I was instructed and at first nothing happened. Then I tried again and all of a sudden I saw a little bead of brownish fluid form at Daisy's anus. I thought to my self, "Cool!", which really isn't THAT cool, of course. I tried it again and more fluid came out. Did I mention that it smelled really bad as it was coming out? Thank goodness we were in the tub, so I could turn on the water and rinse it out right away. I kept on expressing 2 or 3 more times. After that, I wasn't sure if I should keep on going or not. I didn't know when to stop. I figured that was good enough for now. I guess I will find out if that did the trick. Daisy seems to be okay and her butt doesn't stink. I'll have to keep a nose out to see if it worked like it was supposed to. 

I heard that a dog owner sometimes has to express their dogs anal glands manually about every month or so. I am really hoping I don't have to do it that often. I mean, it's gross and all, but I would rather be grossed out once every month by doing the deed than having to smell the stink all the time. So, thanks to my friends at Beagles Rule! for all their input about anal glands. Without them I would be smelling that smell still. copyright All Rights Reserved