By Sunday, February 5, 2017 18 No tags Permalink

I’d heard pet parents lament over anal glands before – yet I never really understood all the chatter. The conversations always preceded facial expressions imitating a whiff of an atrocious foul odor. But that’s been my only experience…



Anal glands are two small, grape-shaped glands located just under the skin at four o’clock and eight o’clock to the anus. The fluidy, odoriferous material they normally produce is used by dogs, cats, and other small mammals to lend a unique scent to their stool, thereby identifying it as their own. Butt-sniffing is, at least in part, a behavior that recognizes this special aroma as peculiar to an individual and worthy of special attention. Source: PETMD

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Apparently, this is a common problem with many dogs (inflammation of the anus itself) which results in swelling. The glands “material” continues to accumulate – creating pressure within the structure and much discomfort.

The term “expressing anal glands” was a familiar term to my ears. My friends grand-dog Piper would have her glands “expressed” (or emptied) on a regular bases.


Jaxson started “scooting” across the carpet. I’ve seen this done before – but never with my two. Naturally, I lifted his tail and searched for a foreign substance down there – #nothing

But he continued to do it.

Next thing I knew, the following morning he and Harley both looked like bumper cars. Hind-parts scooting across the carpet in unison. #buttracing

Again – I examined their back door area, and again – I found nothing. I sat on the floor and we stared at each other as I tried to Columbo this mystery…



After reading that some groomers offer this complimentary service with a wash, dry & cut, I decided to call. Sure enough, when I asked –

When I brought the Boys in the other day, did you by chance express their anal glands?

My knees buckled from underneath me as he cheerfully replied –

Yes, it’s part of our service – we do it for you!

I had no idea this (along with cleaning ears, trimming nails) was part of a groomers duties.

I felt like such a bad pet parent because I paid someone to violate my Boys. #Doodlemomnightmares

Thank the Doodle – this was a new groomer, therefore it was the first time they’d had their glands expressed.

For more than a week, they butt-scooted a couple of times a day. Each time they did it – I had to turn my head with shame.

Together the three of us have gained about 4 lbs each. Every time they scooted, they got a “I’m so sorry” treat while I popped “you need therapy too” chocolate kisses in my mouth.  #quiltydoodlepleasures


Dr. Karen Becker (Healthy Pets) has an excellent video which covers –

  • Why animals have the reoccurring problem
  • Unnecessary trauma from recurrent expression
  • Inflammation of the GI tract and other organs
  • Allergies and how they can irritate the glands


I am grateful to my groomer for the thick red marker he used to note their file: NO ANAL GLANDS EVER!

The Boys have stopped “drag racing” across the room #punintended

Their glands suffered no permanent damage, and we’re working on those extra treat/chocolate lbs every day.

Please verify with your groomer if he/she is offering an anal gland service to your dog the next time you go.

And if your pet’s anal glands are healthy, leave them be!

New Monday – New Week – New Goals ❤️


DISCLAIMER: I am not a veterinarian nor a scientist. I’m a pet parent always interested in understanding more about my dogs.

  • Cheryl
    February 5, 2017

    Than you for the informative, yet funny post! I know about this and have told our groomer to not express our grand doodle’s glands. It really is an important thing for a vet to do!

  • The Daily Pip
    February 5, 2017

    LOL! Sadly, I am very familiar with scooting across the carpeting. Ruby does occasionally need her gland expressed – though our groomer doesn’t do this, only our vet. And I would absolutely never do it myself because I think I might pass out and would need massive amounts of chocolates to recover.

  • Emma
    February 6, 2017

    Most groomers do seem to do it automatically. I had issues but after a change in diet, that disappeared. Would love to have seen those two scooting around like bumper cars, LOL!

    • Amie
      March 11, 2018

      Hello can I ask what you changed in your dogs diet ?im having the same problems .

      • Cathy Bennett
        March 12, 2018

        Hello Amie – I’ve switched to Ziwi Peak – an air dried dehydrated raw food that is species appropriate. The Boys love it and they are thriving.

  • Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom
    February 6, 2017

    Shadow’s Auntie Andrea/groomer stopped expressing her glands over a year ago because she learned from a class that the “service” is more akin to a surgical procedure, which should always be done by a licensed vet or vet tech. Apparently, Ducky’s groomer didn’t go to that class because I still have to tell them “NO Anals” whenever she gets a bath.

    I used to “do” Kissy’s each time I gave her a bath; but that was several years ago before I knew any better.

  • Two French Bulldogs
    February 6, 2017

    Suddenly after 9 years, I needed my anal glands expressed and I didn’t like it
    Lily (& Edward)

  • Lindsay
    February 6, 2017

    The imagery this post provided me with, in my mind, was hilarious. Thank you for sparing us the pictures. Ahahaha!
    I’ll have to ask our groomer if they do the boys; I’ve never asked but I have seen the odd scooting across the floor from time to time.
    But this is something I would most definitely NOT do on my own. No thank you. 🙂


  • Sand Spring Chesapeakes
    February 6, 2017

    We have a groomer at the vet clinic I work at, she doesn’t do anal gland expressions. If the dogs need it done (when the owners request it) we on the vet side express them. If not done correctly it can lead to problems as you found out. Most groomers will express the anal glands from the outside and that doesn’t release all the material so that might of been why they were doing so much scooting as they had more to get out and it felt uncomfortable. Glad you thought to call and put a big red flag on their chart.

  • Jan K
    February 9, 2017

    Luckily, we’ve never had to deal with this issue. I didn’t even know that groomers might do it even if it wasn’t needed (you’d think they’d pass on that unless asked – LOL).

  • Sonny Burnett
    December 19, 2018

    I’m confused. You DON”T want your groomer to do this?

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 2, 2019

      No I do not! All breeds don’t necessarily have issues with anal glands therefore they all don’t need them expressed. If ever there was a need, I would prefer for their vet to do it – not the groomer. There are so many things that could go wrong.

  • Janice Caple
    January 23, 2019

    I have a 10 month goldendoodle who is having
    a problem. Only the odor though, no scooting
    or anything else. Our Vet tech had expressed
    them once about a month ago and now the same
    odor again. I don’t want to be doing this every month, any ideas?

    • Cathy Bennett
      February 3, 2019

      Hello Janice, have you spoken to your vet yet? I would encourage you to ask him/her what can be done to assist.

  • A George
    June 22, 2019

    My golden has swollen anal glands and I’ve taken him to vet to have them expressed multiple times but they say (theirs nothing inside to expresse. Anyone have this issue?

    • Cathy Bennett
      July 1, 2019

      I haven’t because when Harley was a puppy, his vet asked me to bring him to her if he ever exhibited discomfort and he never did. I know some groomers think it should be part of their service and they do it. Once you start (or so I’ve been told) you pretty much have to continue. Have you ever asked your vet what would happen if you just stopped?

      • Carrie
        July 23, 2019

        Hi Cathy. I have never responded to anything but this got my attention. My golden doodle, Rascal is 12 yrs old and has had this issue with one of his anal glands for yrs. I kept taking him in about every few months to have his very wonderful vet express it. It worked for a few yrs then, Dr said the stuff he was expressing was becoming similar to the consistency of putty and although rascal was under anesthesia it was not working, only small amounts were able to be extracted so we discontinued procedure. Now, a few months gone by, I notice it is growing, now to the size of an egg. Rascal never bothers it or seems bothered by it. I don’t want to chance infection so I am making an appointment tomorrow. Sometimes it is soft, lately, it is very hard. Dr has lanced it before as well, but it always returns. Rascal gets relief from an ice pack applied right on it every night. He sleeps well with the ice pack. Good luck to you. I hope this helps.

        • Cathy Bennett
          July 29, 2019

          Hello Carrie – so sorry to hear of Rascal’s discomfort. The Boys don’t seem to have any problems with anal glands. Please keep my posted about Rascals appointment and how he’s doing. And thank you so much for commenting on our blog. It means the world to us – please come back again soon!