One common problem you’ll encounter when caring for a dog is getting their anal glands expressed. While not all dog breeds have this problem, as a dog owner, you still need to be aware of this phenomenon and look for the many visible symptoms when such a problem occurs.
Here, we’ll take a closer, more detailed look at what dog breeds need their glands expressed, why this problem occurs, and what could happen if not treated properly. Stay with us as we unravel the mystery behind glands and their manual exertion.
Why Do Dogs Need Anal Glands Expressed?
Before we delve deep into the topic, we believe it’s essential, especially for first-time dog owners, to know what anal glands are. Anal glands, also called anal sacs, are two small pockets above the left and right side of the dog’s anus.
Each gland directly connects to a small tube that allows dogs to leave a secret, a distinctive odor that helps them communicate with other dogs.
Under normal circumstances, when dogs need to do number two, the pressure of their stool and the contracting of the muscles emit a foul smell inside the glands.
The glands are small in size, like two tiny pockets right above the anus. But, some dog breeds cannot express their glands naturally and require help from a professional.
This often occurs when the dog doesn’t have regular bowel movements, which makes the glands thicken, leaving the dog unable to express.
Once the glands thicken, as we said, your dog might struggle with bowel movements, contracting the muscles even more, leading to irritation, inflammation, or, worse, infection.
Unfortunately, this is not a problem that dog owners should overlook, as it can lead to more severe health problems. And we believe that not a single dog owner wants to see their dogs in a helpless position, suffering from something that could’ve been easily solved.
Besides the above-mentioned factor, like irregular bowel movements, there are a few other reasons why dogs need their glands expressed by a vet or a grooming professional. Such factors are:
Factors that have impact on anal glands
8 Dog Breeds That Need Their Glands Expressed
As we briefly mentioned, gland exertion is commonly a small dog breed problem. But that doesn’t mean that bigger breeds are not prone to it. So, if you own a dog from the breed, we are to mention in just a second, be careful and take extra care regarding their glands.
Pomeranian, a royal breed that is overly friendly and easy to care for, is probably most prone to having their glands expressed manually. This tiny, petite breed that has become very popular and one of the favorite breeds among dog lovers grows only eight to 11 inches.
As a result, and mainly because of its size, this toy dog breed might be filling its anal glands faster, leaving no room for regular exertion, which leads to an anal sac problem.
Besides their small size, Pomeranians can have a problem with their glands if they’re overweight. The best thing you can do to prevent going to the vet almost every month is to change your diet. Choose a high-fiber diet and stick to raw or home-cooked meals.
When Pomeranian experience irritation in their glands, it’s not uncommon to see them scratching their butts on the floor, chasing their tail, or licking their anus. All these symptoms are the Pomeranian’s way of telling us, “Please, come and help me deal with the problem.”
Another small dog breed that is among one of the favorite breeds is none the other- Bichon Frisé. But this breed comes with many other responsibilities than just taking them to a grooming center every once in a while to keep up appearances.
They are a delicate breed with several health problems and are prone to anal gland issues. The two most common reasons Bichons need to get their glands cleaned are their size and fur.
Besides the common symptoms we mentioned, such as excessive licking or scratching the butt on a surface, Bichons may display other signs of discomfort, like vocalizing.
And before you start questioning when to get your Bichon’s glands expressed, you need to know that even though these dogs are prone to this problem, each dog is a story of its own. Some need a more frequent anal gland excretion, while others may need it done every few months.
Another one on the list with anal gland issues is a Dachshund. If you own a Dachshund, you might have encountered a foul smell, but there is a high chance you had no idea why or where it came from. Well, if the smell is accompanied by excessive leaking from the anus, it’s because their glands thicken and require proper cleaning.
Their problem with the glans is because their body is small yet long, making it difficult for them to express the glands naturally. Unlike Bichons, this breed requires regular cleaning every one to two months.
Next, we have the French Bulldog. Oh, this sweet and cuddly dog breed that makes no fuss at all when left alone and prefers sleeping to going for a walk has a problem with its glands. No surprise here, right?
It’s safe to say that all Bulldogs have anal sac problems, but Frenchies are more prone to it than others. Usually, this dog breed needs to have its glands cleaned every four weeks to prevent any serious health problems.
But if your Frenchie is an exception and manages to express the glands naturally, don’t rush to the vet. Once you bring your dog to the vet or the groomer to solve their gland issue, they might become dependent on it and require a regular visit. The muscle tone will start to tone down, leading to improper glands function. Hence, the need for regular vet visits.
Continuing with the list, Miniature Pinschers, an overly hyperactive yet extremely small in a size dog breed, has a problem with normal exerting. Due to their size and breed, their anal sacs are thicker and secret lots of fluids, which, however good it may sound in regard to communication with other dogs, can lead to serious health problems.
Often when this dog breed needs manual excretion, they’ll show symptoms like scratching, licking, or chasing their tail.
Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers is a family-friendly dog that loves running and jumping on every surface; unfortunately, it comes with its bag of problems. And yes, anal gland problems are one of the many.
Their glands are located at 9 and 3 o’clock positions and require manual excretion every few weeks. But, like other dogs, it still depends on their age, health, and diet. If obese, they might need more frequent visits to the vet or the grooming professional.
An anal gland problem is common among Beagles. But, due to their inability to express themselves properly, this dog breed might suffer from anal sacs tumors or infections.
So, if you have a Beagle at your home for quite some time, we highly recommend you either book an appointment with the vet to get their anal glands checked. Or, if you plan on getting one, be aware of these common health problems with this dog breed. We recommend a monthly vet check-up.
Another dog breed that overfills its glands is a Pug. You know by now that when the dog poops, the poop squeezes the anal glands, and the glands coat the poop. Amazing, no? But is there a specific reason why Pug owners have to deal with this problem?
Well, yes. Pugs come with many health problems, not only their inability to breathe properly. But, when it comes to their anal glands getting overfilled specifically, there are a few reasons behind it.
One of the reasons is that your pug may be born with the duct, the tube that connects the gland to the world, being deformed. But the reason for the duct deformity may be a recurrent infection, as well.
Another reason may be an allergy or gastrointestinal issues.
What Age Do Dogs Need Glands Expressed?
Most of the dog breeds we mentioned above don’t require gland excretion when they are puppies. But you shouldn’t take that for granted. Depending on their health conditions, some dogs might need to have their glands expressed even from a young age. That would be most common with Frenchies.
But as they grow older, they may require special care. We recommend you check up with the vet every month or every other month just to be on the safe side. But if your dog is not on the susceptible dog list, get your dog to get glands expressed only if they develop a gland problem.
What Happens if You Don’t Express Your Dog’s Glands?
An anal gland problem is not something to be taken lightly. Even though it’s not a problem visible in every dog breed, you still need to consider the possibility. But how serious can it be if you fail to express your dog’s glands?
For starters, failing to express your dog’s glands may cause your dog discomfort, and they can even become restless and try to find a way to extract the fluid by themselves.
But this is only the bright side of things. If you fail to express your dog’s glands, it may result in more serious health problems that will only bring worry and stress to you and your dog. And nobody wants that.
For instance, the anal glands may develop an abscess resulting in difficulty passing the stool properly. As the anal glands fill up, if not taken care of properly, they will burst, leaving an open wound that is not only painful but also may be a reason for other opportunistic diseases.
Conclusion – Keep an eye on your dog
Some dog breeds are more prone to anal gland problems than others, with Frenchies and Pugs as leaders. However, it depends on the dog’s health, age, and diet.
But, even if your dog is not on the susceptible dog list with anal gland problems, it is still good to keep an eye out. When you notice symptoms like scratching on the floor or chasing its tail, take them to the vet to prevent serious health problems.