Does Petco Express Glands?

Anal glands, also known as scent glands, are small sacs located on either side of your dog’s anus. These glands produce a strong-smelling secretion that dogs use to mark their territory and communicate with other dogs. While most dogs can express their glands naturally through defecation, some may experience difficulty and require manual expression to prevent discomfort, infection, or impaction.

Does Petco Express Glands?

Petco does offer anal gland expression as part of their grooming services. However, it’s essential to note that Petco groomers typically perform external anal gland expression. This method may not be as efficient as internal expression, which is often carried out by veterinarians or experienced professionals. It’s crucial to weigh the benefits and risks of each method before deciding on the best approach for your pet.

Alternatives to Petco for Anal Gland Expression


If your dog is experiencing discomfort, recurrent infections, or impaction due to their anal glands, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian. Veterinarians are trained to perform internal anal gland expression, which is more effective and can provide better relief for your dog.

Local Groomers

Some local groomers may also offer anal gland expression as part of their grooming services. Be sure to inquire about their experience and technique before entrusting them with your pet’s care. It’s essential to choose a groomer who is knowledgeable and skilled in handling this delicate procedure.

DIY Expression

While not recommended for everyone, some pet owners choose to express their dog’s anal glands at home. If you’re considering this route, consult with a veterinarian or experienced groomer first. They can demonstrate the proper technique and guide you through the process. Remember that this task can be messy and unpleasant, so be prepared and take the necessary precautions.

Factors to Consider Before Expressing Your Dog’s Anal Glands


Not all dogs require manual anal gland expression. If your dog isn’t displaying signs of discomfort, such as scooting, licking, or biting the area around their anus, it may not be necessary to have their glands expressed. In fact, unnecessary expression can potentially cause harm or irritation to your pet.


The frequency of anal gland expression varies from dog to dog. Some dogs may need it only once or twice a year, while others may require it more frequently. Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior, and consult with a veterinarian or groomer for advice on the appropriate frequency for your pet.

Diet and Exercise

A healthy diet and regular exercise can help maintain your dog’s anal gland health. High-quality, high-fiber dog food can promote healthy bowel movements, which in turn help your dog express their anal glands naturally. Regular exercise, such as walks and playtime, can also contribute to overall health and well-being.

Tips for Choosing a Groomer or Veterinarian for Anal Gland Expression


Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or your veterinarian. They may have personal experiences with groomers or veterinary clinics in your area and can provide valuable insight into the quality of care provided.

Online Reviews

Research groomers and veterinary clinics online to read reviews from other pet owners. Look for consistent, positive feedback regarding anal gland expression services to help you make an informed decision.

Certifications and Training

When choosing a groomer or veterinarian, inquire about their certifications and training. Professionals who have received specific training in anal gland expression are more likely to provide safe and effective care for your pet.


Choose a professional who is willing to communicate openly with you about your pet’s needs. They should be able to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide guidance on the best course of action for your dog’s anal gland health.

Tips for Maintaining Your Dog’s Anal Gland Health at Home

Regular Grooming

Keeping your dog well-groomed, including regular baths and brushing, can help prevent matting and debris from accumulating around the anal area. This may reduce the risk of anal gland issues and keep your pet comfortable.

Monitor Your Dog’s Behavior

Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior, particularly if they have a history of anal gland issues. Signs of discomfort, such as scooting or excessive licking, can indicate a problem that may require professional attention.

Consult with Your Veterinarian

If you have concerns about your dog’s anal gland health, consult with your veterinarian. They can provide guidance on the best course of action, whether it be dietary changes, medical treatment, or regular expression.


Can all breeds of dogs experience anal gland issues?

Yes, all breeds of dogs can potentially experience anal gland issues. However, smaller breeds may be more prone to anal gland problems due to their size and anatomy.

How can I tell if my dog needs their anal glands expressed?

Signs that your dog may need their anal glands expressed include scooting their rear on the ground, excessive licking or biting near their anus, and a strong fishy odor coming from their rear. If you observe any of these signs, consult with a veterinarian or groomer to determine if expression is necessary.

Is anal gland expression painful for dogs?

Anal gland expression can be uncomfortable for dogs, especially if their glands are impacted or infected. However, a skilled professional should be able to perform the procedure with minimal discomfort for your pet.

Can I prevent my dog from needing anal gland expression?

While you may not be able to completely prevent the need for anal gland expression, you can take steps to promote your dog’s overall anal gland health. A high-quality, high-fiber diet, regular exercise, and maintaining good hygiene can all help reduce the likelihood of anal gland issues.

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

While it is possible to express your dog’s anal glands at home, it is not recommended for inexperienced pet owners. Incorrect expression can lead to injury or infection. If you’re interested in learning how to express your dog’s anal glands, consult with a veterinarian or experienced groomer for guidance and instruction.

How often should my dog’s anal glands be expressed?

The frequency of anal gland expression varies from dog to dog. Some dogs may need it only once or twice a year, while others may require it more frequently. Consult with a veterinarian or groomer to determine the appropriate frequency for your pet.

Can anal gland issues lead to more severe health problems?

Yes, untreated anal gland issues can lead to more severe health problems, such as infections or abscesses. If you suspect your dog has an anal gland issue, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian or groomer as soon as possible.

Are there any risks associated with anal gland expression?

There are risks associated with anal gland expression, particularly if it is done incorrectly or too frequently. Potential risks include injury to the gland or surrounding tissues, infection, and even rupture of the gland. It’s crucial to consult with a professional to ensure that expression is carried out safely and effectively.

What is the primary purpose of anal glands in dogs?

Anal glands in dogs serve multiple purposes. They secrete a smelly, oily substance that helps lubricate the anus during defecation and serves as a unique scent marker for communication with other dogs.

Are there any home remedies for anal gland issues?

While home remedies should never replace professional care, some pet owners find that adding fiber to their dog’s diet can help promote healthy bowel movements, which may aid in natural anal gland expression. Always consult with a veterinarian before trying any home remedies.

Can anal gland issues be a sign of an underlying health problem?

In some cases, anal gland issues may be a symptom of an underlying health problem, such as allergies, inflammation, or gastrointestinal disorders. If your dog experiences recurring anal gland issues, consult with a veterinarian to determine if there may be an underlying cause.

Do cats also require anal gland expression?

Like dogs, cats also have anal glands, and in some cases, they may require manual expression. However, this is less common in cats than in dogs. If you suspect your cat has an anal gland issue, consult with a veterinarian for advice and treatment.

How can I minimize the risk of infection after anal gland expression?

To minimize the risk of infection after anal gland expression, ensure the procedure is performed by a skilled professional. Keep your dog’s anal area clean and monitor the area for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any signs of infection, consult with your veterinarian immediately.

Can over-grooming lead to anal gland issues?

Over-grooming or excessive licking of the anal area can irritate the skin and potentially cause inflammation, which may contribute to anal gland issues. If your dog is over-grooming their anal area, consult with a veterinarian to identify and address the underlying cause.

How long does it take for a dog to recover after anal gland expression?

Recovery time after anal gland expression varies depending on the individual dog and the severity of the issue. Generally, dogs should feel relief and return to normal behavior within a few hours to a day after the procedure. However, if your dog continues to show signs of discomfort or irritation, consult with your veterinarian.

Should I switch to a different food if my dog has recurring anal gland issues?

In some cases, switching to a higher-quality, high-fiber dog food may help promote healthy bowel movements and support natural anal gland expression. Consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet, as they can provide personalized recommendations based on your pet’s specific needs.

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