An edited transcript has been provided below: 

Today I’m going to talk to you about a disgusting topic, but I’m going to do it for your own good because it’s going to save you some money. That’s what I like to try to do with these blogs is to not only dispel myths, but to also save you money and just to educate you, as well, about why we make the recommendations that we make. We’re going to talk about anal sacs, or anal glands. They are these disgusting things, they produce this horrible smell, but it’s really important for your dogs. It’s their own signature. It’s their own unique blend of aromas that lets other dogs know that it’s them. They know that it’s Joe when they sniff that poop on the ground. It’s their thumbprint. So it’s important for them, but they can sometimes cause problems for dogs. They can end up needing to be expressed because they can get an infection there. I’ve gotten foxtails out of there. I mean, some weird stuff can happen. They can be a problem in which case they do need to be expressed. So that has kind of turned into a whole cottage industry or an urban legend where when you go to the groomers or when you come in for your wellness exam, and you say, “oh, while we’re here, can you also express their anal glands?” Every time a dog poops they’re expressing their anal glands. So to have it done on a random intermittent basis isn’t helping them at all. That’s why when I try to tell people when they come in. Don’t get it done, this is not necessary. They’re doing it themselves every single day. 

Now, if your pet is scooting their butt on the ground a lot, they’re licking back there, they seem uncomfortable and it’s not going away, well then, we need to see them. We need to express those anal glands. That’s an appropriate time to do it. If you do have your dog scooting their butt on the ground a little bit, you can even try adding in a little bit of fiber to their diet and that can help bulk up their poop a little bit and help those anal glands to express. You can do that with a tablespoon of canned pumpkin. One of my favorites is actually Metamucil. You take a tablespoon or so of Metamucil and put that in their food twice a day. That’s a great form of fiber to help kind of bulk up that poop to have those anal glands express. 

So I just wanted to give this quick little update to you, provide you some information. When you go to the groomers, when you come in for your wellness exams, you don’t need to pay for anal gland expressions. Only do it if your pet is actually having a problem back there. Hope that helps. If you have any questions, please let us know. I’m Dr. Evans here at Coastal Animal Hospital. Till next time.