Expressing Anal Sacs

Dogs have two anal sacs (one located on each side of the anus). These sacs may need to be emptied as often as 1-2 times a month. Each sac can vary in size (barely felt to marble size) and consistency (soft to firm). To empty the sacs, gloves are placed on both hands, and one hand can be used to lift the animalís tail. A lubricated finger is inserted into the rectum (white arrow) and the thumb (black arrow) is placed on the outside of the anus just below the anal sac.


Each anal sac has a small opening to the side of the anus that can be identified. In this picture, some of the sac contents are being expressed out the opening (black arrow). To completely empty the sac, gently squeeze the sac between the finger in the rectum and the thumb externally. Begin at the bottom of the sac and squeeze towards the sac opening. If the contents of the sac do not express easily, professional help should be sought.


The opposite sac should also be expressed. Some people use the same hand for both sides, while others find it easier to use the left hand for expressing the right sac and the right hand for expressing the left sac. A gauze pad is sometimes placed over the anus to absorb and contain sac contents. See page F30 for additional information on anal sac problems. A video of this procedure can be found below.


Videos Available in Full Book