Dog Anal Gland Removal and Home Expression

by Lori
(Vernon, British Columbia, Canada)

Failure to Express The Anal Glands Regularly Could Result In An Anal Gland Abscess Like This One

Failure to Express The Anal Glands Regularly Could Result In An Anal Gland Abscess Like This One

Reader Question on Removing Dog Anal Glands

I have German Shepard x and she is 10 years old, she has recently been diagnosed with Anal Gland problems, and the vet has said that although this is unusual in large dogs, they need to be expressed 3-4 times a year @ 70.00 a pop.

By reading your article it sounds like I can do this as long as no insertion is involved.

The question is, can the anal gland be removed or does it have to be expressed, as this seems to hurt her during expression?

Comments for Dog Anal Gland Removal and Home Expression

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Aug 16, 2014
Vet Suggestion on Removing Dog Anal Glands
by: Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM


Yes, anal glands can be removed when they are causing recurrent or severe problems. The surgery is not all that complicated as long as the veterinarian performing it has experience with the relevant anatomy. If certain nerves in the area are inadvertently cut, the dog can lose control of its bowels as a result. I also worry about infection after surgery to remove one or both anal glands due to the incisions’ close proximity to the anus.

It is possible to express a dog’s anal glands without inserting a finger into the anus, but usually the glands do not fully empty when using this technique, which means the procedure may have to be performed more frequently.

Talk to your veterinarian if you are interested in learning how to express anal glands using either method. Many owners find they can do this on their own, so long as their dog is cooperative.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

Aug 18, 2014
Anal Gland removal
by: Lori (Vernon, BC), Canada

Thank you so much for this information, it is exactly the answer I was looking for, as I stated my dog appears to be in pain when the finger is inserted into the anus, so the possibility of removal will be my next question when and if it is necessary to return to her Veterinarian.
Again much appreciated.

Jan 12, 2015
Expressing Anal glands
by: AnonymousMeghan

It Is very easy to do, I have been doing my own dog for three years, I have someone hold her and she seems to know that she is going to feel better when I am finished.

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