Expressing your dog's anal glands is necessary to your pet's health, but it's a chore most pet owners would prefer to avoid. Of course, if you are determined not to do this, there's always your local vet. If you take your dog in for a bath and clip or for a regular vet visit, a staff member should express the anal glands for free or for a very low cost. Just ask for this service when you check in. However, if sometimes you may need to treat your pooch yourself; because of this, you should learn to recognize the signs of full anal glands and how to safely express the anal glands.
A sure sign that your dog is suffering from discomfort is the carpet or ground scoot. The dog will sit, raise his hind legs and pull himself across the ground with his front legs. This is a clear sign that your dog most likely needs you to clean his anal glands. Also, every few months you can do the feel test: while wearing plastic gloves, pull the dog's tail up and place your thumb and index finger directly to the right and left of the anus. Widen your thumb and index finger just a little, push in gently, and you should feel a gland to the left and right of the anus. If these glands feel taut and a little hard it is definitely time to express your dog's anal glands.
To protect both you and your dog from the foul odor, it's best to do this while bathing your dog. You should also wear rubber gloves. It's best to have someone restrain your pet at the neck so he can't nip or bite you. It's like going to the dentist for your dog: irritating and not so comfortable. Then, as described above, press in with thumb and index finger to the right and left of the anus. You will feel the glands on either side. You have to press in gently but firmly to get a little behind the glands with your fingers. Finally, gently press or squeeze toward the anus and out. You will see a thick greasy discharge extrude from the anus. Wipe it away and bathe and shampoo your pet. Your dog will forgive you quickly enough. Remove the soiled gloves by allowing them to turn inside out as you pull them off; these won't be reusable, so you should just throw them away.
That is all there is to cleaning your dog's anal glands. But be careful: if your dog shows signs of serious pain, please take him to a veterinarian who can diagnose any problems and express the anal glands for you.