dog laying down

Dog Anal Gland Expression

“What is that smell?!” Have you found yourself wondering this aloud before only to find your furry friend looking sheepishly at you? Could there be a problem with his/her anal glands? Signs that may suggest an anal gland issue include: “scooting” (dragging their bum) on the floor, quickly turning their head to their behind (with or without chewing around the tail), releasing their anal glands (that yummy fishy smell you’re smelling), and/or redness and swelling around the bum/under the base of their tail. Anal glands can be easily expressed to provide relief when dealing with a simple issue of a bit too much fluid. If the problem has progressed, however, they can end up with a painful infection or “anal gland abscess”. If you are concerned that your dog may be experiencing issues with their anal glands, it is best to call your veterinary clinic to schedule an appointment. Once diagnosed and treated, follow up appointments for easy anal gland expression can be made with one of our clinic’s Registered Veterinary Technicians.

Should I drain my dog’s anal glands at home?

We recommend that anal gland issues first be assessed by your veterinarian. After the initial appointment, you can discuss if a home expression is a suitable option. Or, if you would prefer to keep your interactions with your dog positive ones, you can leave the dirty work to us!

If my dog scoots on the carpet a lot, does this mean their anal glands are impacted?

Scooting is most often a sign of anal gland issues. Glands may or may not be impacted. It is best to have your dog seen as soon as you notice scooting behaviour to ensure you catch any problems early on. Your veterinarian may recommend dietary changes or other treatments if there are continuous problems with your dogs’ anal glands.


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Last updated: April 18, 2022

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we can continue providing our full range of services, under certain restrictions. Masks are mandatory for everyone coming inside our hospital. Maximum of 2 clients allowed into our exams rooms per appointment (there's not much room in there!)

Please note that it will take at least 24 hours for all prescription and food items to be ready for pick up (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".

Unfortunately, our bathroom is still closed to the public as it is in our radiology room.


If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.


We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday & Tuesday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Wednesday & Thursday: 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed


Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

We are committed to providing a safe and respectful workplace. Abusive conduct or communications will not be tolerated and may result in denial of services.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Harbour Cities Veterinary Hospital