We have had lots of enquiries about how to empty a dog's anal sacs during Covid 19, as this is not an essential reason for travel in the current climate. We will of course make arrangements to see you at the surgery if your dog is suffering with infected anal sacs or has a painful abscess but if you do wish to try emtying them at home, here are some tips and a short video.
We're going to show you how to empty both sacs at once from the outside of the bottom. As vets and nurses we often empty them internally by inserting a (gloved and well-lubricated) finger into the anus but I think if this technique is necessary you may be better to call us and arrange a visit when travel restrictions are lifted.
You will need an assistant to gently but firmly restrain your dog. Lift up your dog's tail and imagine the area around the anus is a clock face, The anal sacs (often referred to as glands) sit at about 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock, although this varies slightly from dog to dog. They have thin tubes or ducts connecting them to the inside of the anus and the aim is to squeeze the contents out through these ducts.
Wearing gloves and holding a large piece of cotton wool in your dominant hand, lift the tail with your non-dominant hand. Put your thumb & index finger just below the 4 and 8 positions and squeeze gently inwards & upwards. Use the cotton wool to absorb the secretion that is expressed. This may be watery or more like toothpaste, but almost certainly foul-smelling! Do not lean in too close!!
If the secretion is bloody or yellow/green, call your vet as an infection may be present. If the contents are not easily expelled then do not persist as you could risk damaging or bursting the sacs.