The Dirty Side of Keeping Your Dog Healthy

So, you have brought that cute little puppy home, and you weren't really ready for the gross part of having a pet. Your dog may be the joy of your life, but there are things you have to do to keep them healthy and clean - and doing it might get you dirty.

Expressing the anal glands in a dog is a job that most pet owners leave to the vet or the groomer, but even they will tell you it's not the highlight of their jobs. It's a smelly job, but since someone has to do it, you might as well understand what goes on with the process.

The anal glands are found around the rectum of your dog. Every dog has a pair located on either side of the anal opening. The anal glands are actually pouches, and can be found in approximately the 8 and 4 o'clock position.

These glands secrete a substance that is kept inside until a bowel movement. This liquid substance is normally expressed during regular bowel movements, and some dogs will also secrete it when they get nervous or excited. If you have noticed a dark liquid substance with a foul odor, it is liquid from the anal gland.

Sometimes dogs will not express the liquid in their anal glands, and this can eventually lead to an abscess and rupture; that is why it is so important to stay conscientious of your dog's health.

So how do you know if your dog is expressing the liquid from his anal glands? The biggest tell-tale sign is the dog "scooting" across the floor. If the glands have filled with fluid and haven't drained, the consistency changes and it becomes even more uncomfortable. The dog will scrape the glands across the floor.

Other signs may be biting or licking the anal area or keeping the tail tucked under their legs. Inflamed anal glands are uncomfortable for a pet, and the signs are usually pretty clear.

In order to give your dog relief, you must learn how to express the anal glands, unless you take them to a groomer regularly. You can attempt to manually express the area on both sides of the anus, basically "milking" the glands. The liquid will be visible when it comes out the opening.

Some dogs, especially those a little overweight, may need some extra help. Internal expression involves the owner or groomer inserting a finger in the rectum and milking the glands from the in and outside.

Either method involves the foul smelling liquid, so be careful to avoid having it get on you when expressing the anal glands; it is not an easy smell to get rid of.

Keeping your dog safe and healthy is an ongoing process, and it's worth the dirty work for such a rewarding relationship. Expressing the anal glands aren't the only dirty job you are going to have to learn, but by becoming a little less squeamish, you can save money on visits to the vet and make sure that you are being a good pet owner.

This article was written by Kelly Marshall of Oh My Dog Supplies - the leader in dog beds for sale and supplies.
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