Anal glands aka anal sacs, are exocrine glands near the entrance of your cat’s and dog’s anus. However, this post will be in reference to dogs only, as we are more familiar with expressing dogs anal glands.
The purpose of anal glands are to mark territory when pooping but they are also secreted suddenly when the pet is frightened/scared. They are usually identified as a fishy odor, and can have several different textures/appearances, between each pet.
As a groomer with Veterinary Assistant experience in the small animal hospital, Simone, at The Pad expresses anal glands internally, instead of externally like most groomers. Internal expression is an important skill to have because, the entire sac is felt and allows the person expressing, to accurately know how much content is within or how full the gland is prior to expressing. This gives the owner a far better idea for how often their pet should have an expression instead of doing it too often which could void natural expression completely from irritation. If glands are less than 1/4 full, The Pad will not express your pets anal sacs at that time!
Signs of Full Anal Glands:
Fishy odor near rear
Inconsistent behavior / unusual behavior i.g not eating
Do you think to your self “Does s/he have worms?!” after your pet scoots on the floor? If your pet is mostly indoors and you are consistent with administering their topical parasite (flea and tick) prevention, then you can try the very simple methods below to aid in natural expression.
Include Fiber in Diet: Cooked bland string beans and carrots allow for bigger poops which puts added pressure on the anal glands allowing more secretion!
Longer Walks: Strengthens the rear muscles enabling stronger bowel movements which adds pressure to the anal glands, helping with secretion!