Do Labradors Need Their Glands Expressed? Risks and Methods

One of the most important things about owning a dog is watching out for any anal glands problems and how to prevent them, yeah, it’s not the most pleasant thing about owning a pup but it’s one of the most important subjects about your dog’s health.

So, do labradors need their glands expressed? Yes, Labradors need their anal glands expressed, you can do it yourself or let your vet or groomer do it, however, most groomers will express your lab’s anal glands monthly as part of the service but it shouldn’t be done too often because it can lead to swelling or inflammation.

There is a lot more to know about your dog’s anal glands such as if they can express their own glands or how to know if your dog needs glands expressed, so just keep on reading.

Do labradors need their anal glands expressed? 

lab looking at owner to answer do Labradors need their anal glands expressed

All dogs need their anal glands expressed at some point, some breeds need it monthly, every six months, or when they are having a problem expressing their anal glands.

Labs need their anal glands expressed regularly but you should always consult their vet to check if they are having a problem with their anal glands.

You can learn to express their anal glands yourself or if you don’t want that unpleasant smell all over you, you can let the professional groomers or vet do it.

If you have a golden, you can check my post on why do golden retrievers need their glands expressed here as well to learn how to do it yourself at home.

Do Labradors have issues with anal glands?

No, they don’t, there are some dogs that are prone to have issues with their anal glands but labs aren’t one of them.

However, labradors can have issues with anal glands if their anal glands aren’t expressed properly or if it’s expressed too often.

Do labs express their own anal glands?

Yes, labs do express their own anal glands, just like any other dog, they empty a small part of their anal glands when they poop.

They can also express their anal glands if they are experiencing overwhelming joy, excitement, or stress. 

What happens when your lab’s anal glands are full?

Full anal glands may create pressure on your Labrador and your pup will show some signs of being uncomfortable such as whining, pacing, growling, or barking.

It can also lead to infections or inflammations of the anal sacs or their anal glands are already full because of one of these issues.

What happens if you don’t express your dog’s anal glands?

If you don’t express your dog’s anal glands, it may lead to their poop becoming too thick that your pup cannot pass it, swelling, or even shutting.

However, if you do express them too often or when there is no problem then it can lead to anal glands sacculitis, and inflammation.

How to tell if your dog needs their anal glands expressed?

If your dog needs their anal glands to be expressed, they tend to display some signs, so if you noticed one or a few of these signs then you need to express their anal glands, take them to the vet, or to the groomer.

  • Licking their bottom area a lot.
  • Leaving spots of brownish material wherever they sit
  • Leaking out a stinky and fishy smell
  • Scooting or rubbing their butt on the floor.

Can you express your lab’s anal glands at home? 

Yes, you can express your lab’s anal glands at home but you need to be really careful and follow the steps below, or you can watch your groomer or vet do it and take notes and tips from them. 

How to express your dog’s anal glands at home?

You can express your dog’s anal glands at home and there two ways to do it, the internal and the external way.

First: The internal way of expressing your dog’s anal glands

  • Lift up your lab’s tail
  • Insert the tip of your index finger into their anal opening.
  • Gently with your thumb, start squeezing from the outside.
  • While you are squeezing, a brownish fluid should slowly come out.
  • Check if the fluid is thick then it may indicate anal glands problem and you should take them to the vet.
  • Start cleaning the area around their anal glands, don’t use our regular wipes because it may irritate their skin and can lead to inflammation in their anal glands, the vets recommend Glandex wipes because it’s more suitable for this process and it will soothe their skin.
  • Praise them while doing the whole thing and reward them with some supplement treats, the vets also recommend Glandex anal glands treats because it’s formulated to support healthy anal glands.

Want a a tutorial that goes into even more depth? Check out this video:

Secondly: the external way

The anal glands are two structures that are about the size of a grape and they are located just inside their anal opening so you can’t see them from outside, but you can still express the glands from the outside.


There is one on the left and one is on the right, so let’s start and see how this method is going to work and don’t worry this one is a little bit easier.

Take about an inch on each side of the anal opening and gently compress together in the area until you see few drops coming out and that’s it, that’s the external method, told you it was easy

How to naturally express your dog’s anal glands?

You can naturally express your pup’s anal glands by adding fiber to your pup’s diet.

The fiber usually aids in their stool formulation, you can add high fiber dog food to their diet or add dietary supplements.

You can also increase water intake with a pet water fountain or with canned food.

Related Questions 

Do all big dogs need their anal glands expressed?

Yes, all big dogs need their anal glands expressed, also, overweight dogs tend to have anal glands issues and their glands need to be expressed manually, most of the big dogs need their anal glands to be expressed once or twice a year or every month if they’re suffering from something.

How much does it cost to express glands?

It can cost you $5-10 to express your pup’s anal glands at the vet or the groomer, however, it’s safer if the vet does it because they will tell you if there is an infection in their anal or inflammation and they will fix the problem and tell you what to do.

What dog breeds need their glands expressed?

Here are the most common dog breeds that need their glands expressed every month.

  • Dachshund 
  • Basset hounds
  • Cocker spaniels 
  • Beagles 
  • Lhasa apsos
  • Chihuahuas 
  • Toy poodles
  • Miniature poodles 

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