I Expressed My Dog’s Anal Glands and It Was Pretty Gross

This was way harder than I thought. Some health matters you should probably leave to the pros.


Editor’s Note: Helena Andrews is a writer for Dogster’s sister SAY Media site, xoJane. This article first ran on xoJane, but we’re rerunning it (with permission!) so Dogster readers can weigh in.

For the past few days, my dog Miles has been ass surfing all over town. On sidewalks, grassy patches, the kitchen tile, and finally — the last straw — my new living room rug. Every free moment he has, he scoots his furry bum on a surface not meant for furry bum scooting.

I consulted Google over this health issue, and according to the Great Oz, Miles’ anal glands needed “expressing,” which in layman terms translates to squeezing the gunk out of the kidney bean-sized sacs located near his anus.

Oh joy.

From what I read online, this is a fairly simple procedure. But I made the mistake of heading to YouTube, when in a gruesome video I watched as a vet tech stuck her gloved and lubed finger up a Beagle‘s bunghole and then squeezed his anal gland between her thumb and pointer finger until the dog said “when.” There was no way in hell I was going to violate Miles’ happy hole like that. This is not Fifty Shades of Greyhound. Instead, I planned to locate the “4 o’clock” and “8 o’clock” marks on his booty and squeeze in and up as advised by less sadomasochistic dog owners.

According to everybody, whatever comes out of a dog’s anal sac is smelly — duh — and messy — double duh. So the best place to get it popping was the bathroom, where you can “control the spray.” (Why was I doing this again?)

Miles HATES baths but loves being clean. Whenever he hears water running in the guest bathroom where the tub is, he immediately runs to his safe spot on the rug downstairs and hides under his paws. So I had to coax him up with a lot of sweet talk about how awesome he was — “Milesbeast! You’re such a good boy!” — then snatch his little ass up as soon as he spotted the open bathroom door wide-eyed. His look seemed to say, “Drats! Foiled again!”

When placed into the blinding porcelain torture chamber otherwise known as our bathtub, Miles takes on a different persona. Instead of the up-tempo little guy we’re used to, he becomes insular, sullen, and antsy. He’s like the Pug Paul Giamatti. Trapped in a glass case of emotion.

It became immediately clear that this should have been a two-person job. Every time I tried to grab Miles from behind, he outsmarted me by just sitting down. And when I got him upright again he’d twist his tiny body around like a snake and playfully snip at my begloved hand. I know what he was trying to say: “No way, Jose.”

Also, his anal sacs weren’t as easy to find as the 4 and 8 dials on the clock. His were more like 5 and 7 and they weren’t cooperating. Once I finally found them and did the squeeze up and out motion onto a makeshift maxi pad of wadded-up toilet paper, nothing happened. I squeezed again. Nothing again. He looked up at me bored.

Then I saw it. A tiny flea fleeing from Miles’ tail down to the relative safety of the tail hairs on his haunches. “GAH!” I screamed, somehow more disturbed by the flea than the prospect of squirting Miles’ twerk juice all over my bathroom.

We live in a concrete jungle, and Miles never ever gets fleas here. The one time he was overridden with those blood-sucking jerks, Miles had been visiting my mom in the backwoods of Georgia, where they believe dogs should live outside.

Anyway, I hosed Miles down like he was on fire and hoped it would stop the scratching and ass-surfing for a while. So far so good. There have been no signs of fleas or fecal matter on my stuff. But I’m still wondering if I did the whole “anal expression” thing right. Did I not use enough pressure? Was he all expressed out?

I tried to get Ike on board with this but after gagging for a good minute he managed to say that some things should be left to the professionals. Do ya’ll agree? From what I’ve read, a ton of dog owners DIY their canine’s anal emissions. Have you tried it? Or is it too gross to function?

More articles by Helena, and some on anal gland care:

2 thoughts on “I Expressed My Dog’s Anal Glands and It Was Pretty Gross”

  1. OMG… This article had me rolling on the floor! You are a great writer!! Haven’t tried it yet…kinda afraid to. Good luck with Miles!

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