Is Your Dog in Pain After Glands Expressed? Here’s What You Must Know

So, you’ve noticed that your furry best friend seems to be experiencing some discomfort after having their glands expressed, huh?

It could be licking or biting at their rear end, or they might seem restless and uncomfortable.

Why is it that your dog is in pain after having its glands expressed?

A dog may experience pain after having their glands expressed due to inflammation, irritation, infection, allergic reaction, or injuries sustained during the procedure. Some discomfort is normal, but severe or prolonged pain is not, so if that’s happening, you need to consult a vet.

When your dog is whimpering or yelping a bit, it’s not fun to watch, but don’t panic – there are things we can do to help.

Key Takeaways
Dogs have scent glands near their anus that can become impacted and require manual expression
It’s normal for dogs to experience some discomfort after having their glands expressed
Pain after expression may be caused by inflammation, irritation, infection, allergic reaction, or injuries
If your dog seems to be in significant distress, it’s important to consult with a vet
Home remedies like warm compresses or soothing ointments may help to alleviate mild discomfort
Severe or prolonged pain after an expression is not normal and should be addressed by a professional

Article may contain affiliate links to retailers like Amazon and Chewy. To learn more, read our disclosure page.

Why Do Some Dogs Need Their Anal Glands Expressed?

Why Do Some Dogs Need Their Anal Glands Expressed

Some dogs need their anal glands expressed to avoid blockages or infections.

But what are anal glands? Anal glands are these two little sacs on each side of your dog’s anus.

They’re inside your dog’s bum so you can’t really visibly see them, but these sacs are responsible for storing and releasing distinctive secretions.

Doggies use those secretions to communicate with other pooches, especially those they have just met since each dog have secretions that smell differently.

When you take your dog out for a walk, you’ll notice that he’ll sniff around stools that other doggies have left behind.

Your doggy does that because he can smell the distinct scent of the other dogs on those stools. That distinct scent I’m talking about is the secretions released from the anal glands in the process of expression.

Anal glands expression is a natural thing for most doggies to do.

They’ll just simply release secretions from their anal glands whenever they poop.

However, there are other dogs that are having trouble expressing their anal glands on their own.

Some dogs’ anal glands will just stop functioning properly, causing them not to release secretions as needed, and this can lead to a very uncomfortable feeling and even infection.

Hence, some dogs will need their anal glands expressed for them to avoid blockages and other anal gland issues.

Is It Painful to Express a Dog’s Glands?

Anal glands expression is a painless experience for dogs. In fact, most dogs express their anal glands on their own without a problem.

Dogs don’t usually feel any pain from anal glands expression; but if they do, something is definitely not right.

If your dog feels pain during anal gland expression, it’s because an infection, swelling, or blockage has already set in on its anal glands.

You’ll have to be extra careful when this case arises, and it’s probably better if you let an expert vet technician do that for you and your doggy.

ask a vet a question anytime

Got something to ask a vet?
Talk to one anytime, 24/7.


* Don’t use this service for emergencies.

Why is My Dog in Pain After Its Glands Are Expressed?

Reason for painDescription
Rectal tearsTears in the anal glands caused by improper expression
Anal abscessPus-filled glands that become swollen and infected
Pressure sorenessDiscomfort due to pressure during gland expression
Inflammation or irritationSwelling, redness, or discharge from a build-up of secretions

Rectal tears

A possible reason why your dog is in pain after his glands were expressed is due to rectal tears.

If whoever expressed his anal glands were not as careful in doing it, accidental poking or prodding might cause a tear in your dog’s anal glands, causing excruciating pain.

Anal abscess 

An anal abscess is one of the most common reasons why your dog will be in pain after anal gland expression.

If your dog hasn’t been expressing himself regularly or if the sacs have become impacted, pus will fill up his anal glands causing them to swell.

The swelling will, of course, be painful, especially when exposed to pressure during the expression.

Soreness from the pressure

During gland expression, you (or the professional doing it) have to apply pressure to your dog’s anus area to help release the contents.

This pressure might be too much and can cause some soreness or discomfort in the area after the procedure (particularly in inexperienced hands).

However, it should typically resolve within a day or two.

Inflammation or irritation in the glands

This can happen due to a build-up of secretions, causing the glands to become inflamed or irritated. Your dog may experience swelling, redness, or discharge around the anal area, and sometimes it goes unnoticed.

When the glands are expressed during this time, there will be certainly a fair amount of pain or discomfort.

dog essentials banner in content

Do Dogs Feel Relief After Their Glands Are Expressed?

Dogs feel great relief after their glands are expressed.

Having full anal glands is very uncomfortable for your doggy, and it can even be painful when the glands develop infections.

When your dog’s anal glands are expressed, the built-up secretions that are causing discomfort will be released, giving relief to your dog.

What Are Signs That Your Dog is in Pain After Having Their Glands Expressed?

Whining or whimpering

Dogs are vocal animals. They may not be able to speak, but they sure can express their feelings through noises.

When you keep whining and whimpering after having your glands expressed, it might be due to the pain the expression is causing him.

Whining or whimpering after anal gland expression is your dog’s way of letting you know he’s in pain.

Licking anal part

To soothe the pain or discomfort your dog is feeling, he’ll constantly lick his anal part.

If you see your doggy licking his anal area after the expression, it’s best to check whether there’s redness or swelling that might lead to infection.

Keeps sitting down or refusing to sit

Sitting down in one position for so long helps put pressure on your dog’s bum that’s in pain due to anal glands’ expression.

To relieve his pain, your dog might keep sitting down in one position.

There are also some instances when your dog refuses to sit after expression because he is in pain, especially if swelling in his anal areas set in.

Common Anal Gland Expression Side Effects and What to Do About Them

Side EffectDescriptionTreatment/Action
Swelling/RednessIrritation from invasive handlingApply warm compress
InfectionRare side effect, may occur if roughly handledReturn to vet for observation
DiscomfortMild discomfort after expressionProvide comfortable resting place

Swelling or redness

After an anal gland expression, your dog’s bum might turn reddish with a bit of swelling.

This is due to irritation from being handled invasively after the expression. But don’t worry!

You can apply a warm compress to the affected part to soothe the area.


Infection rarely becomes a side effect of anal gland expression. But if your dog was roughly handled during the expression, an infection may become a side effect.

It’s a serious side effect if I may say so myself, so bring your doggy back to the vet for closer observation.


Your dog will usually experience mild discomfort after being expressed. This is typical because their bum literally just got pressed!

You’ll just have to provide him with a comfortable place to rest until the discomfort passes. 

How to Care for Your Dog After an Anal Gland Expression?

Keep your doggy calm

Manual anal gland expression can be a tad bit stressful for your doggy, not to mention he might feel a bit sore in his anal part.

Avoid trying to play with him, and instead, just let him rest in a comfortable area away from too much noise.

Keep your eyes on doggy

The expression might cause infection, so keep your eyes on your dog. Monitor him all the time, especially during the first few hours after expression.

Maintain cleanliness

Keep your dog’s anal area clean and dry with a soft clean cloth. Don’t use any scented or harsh cleaning products. 

How Can I Soothe My Dog’s Anal Glands?

If your dog is experiencing discomfort due to his anal glands, you can soothe such discomfort by applying a warm compress on his anal area.

It will calm whatever discomfort he is feeling for a while. 

Make sure that your doggy is involved in regular exercise too!

Exercising encourages regular bowel movements, which can stimulate his anal glands into releasing secretions that make his anal glands uncomfortable.

Recommended Products for Dog’s Anal Glands

Glandex Anal Gland & Probiotic Soft Chew

These chews contain probiotics and digestive enzymes that help maintain your doggy’s digestive system to encourage regular expression.

They also come in different flavors that your doggy will surely love!

Glandex Anal Gland Soft Chew Treats

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01EZ4W7KW&Format= SL500 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dailydogdrama 20&language=en USir?t=dailydogdrama 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B01EZ4W7KW

Key Benefits

  • Supports healthy anal glands and promotes natural emptying.
  • Contains pumpkin seed, a unique fiber blend, omega fatty acids, digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics.
  • Recommended by thousands of veterinarians worldwide and developed by leading veterinarians.

PetAlive Anal Gland Health Dog & Cat Supplement

This supplement is a safe remedy for your dog’s irregular anal gland expression. It cleanses your doggy’s anal glands, helping him release secretions safely.

You just have to add five to ten drops of this supplement in clean and warm water before applying it to your dog’s anal areas with the use of cotton balls.

Glandex Anal Gland Soft Chew Treats

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B000TMW2CI&Format= SL500 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=dailydogdrama 20&language=en USir?t=dailydogdrama 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B000TMW2CI

Key Benefits

  • Natural herbal remedy for manual expression of anal glands in dogs
  • Reduces pain and swelling, and softens hardened material for easy expression
  • Helps relieve symptoms like scooting, which indicate trouble with anal glands
  • Easy to use
  • Made from high-quality, lab-tested, GMO-free herbal ingredients

How Can You Help Your Dog Express Their Own Anal Glands?

You can help your dog express their own anal glands by increasing its fiber intake. You can do this by adding more fiber-rich food to his diet.

Pumpkin is one of the most commonly added fiber-food on a dog’s diet, and you can let your doggy eat more of it.

Increased fiber intake will encourage regular bowel movements that can help with the natural anal gland expression of your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I express my dog’s anal glands at home?

You can express your dog’s anal glands at home, but the process will be messy and smelly. It’s not advisable if you have no complete knowledge of how expression works.

How often would I need to express my dog’s anal glands?

If your dog has had anal gland issues in the past, you’ll have to express his anal glands every 3 weeks. But if your dog has no anal gland issues and they can express themselves without problem, you can bring him to the vet for “manual” expression just a few times every year.

What happens when a dog has their glands expressed?

When a dog has his glands expressed, he is relieved of any discomfort caused by unreleased secretions. The chances of having his anal glands infected will also decrease.

When should my dog’s anal glands be expressed?

It’s time for your dog’s anal glands to be expressed if your dog’s anal area smells too fishy or foul and if he is licking that part constantly.

Can dog food cause gland issues?

Dog food can cause gland issues, especially if it’s not rich in nutrients that promote a healthy digestive system or gastrointestinal tract.

In Conclusion: Dog in Pain After Glands Expressed

Although it’s not uncommon, for dogs to feel pain after expressing their glands, in my experience, they tend to go away pretty quickly.

We can do our part by giving them lots of love and helping them feel comfortable, and do check out the 2 products I mentioned earlier. They work great!

Found this article useful? Check out these other ones too:

Be sure to join our newsletter too so that you can keep yourself updated on dog care tips and much more!

Share this post!
Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

no more bad dog breaths banner