Do German Shepherds Need Their Glands Expressed?

Do German Shepherds Need Their Glands Expressed?

All dogs have two glands flanked in their anus that produces a unique scent when they are popping. If these glands fail to function properly it can lead to discomfort or infections in your dog. This problem affects some dogs and the glands will need to be expressed to get back to normal. So, if it is not a problem with all dogs, will German shepherds need their glands expressed?

Some German shepherds will need their anal glands expressed on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis while others will never need their anal glands to be expressed in their lifetime. Whether a German shepherd needs its gland expressed or not will be determined by the individual dog. 

What exactly are anal glands?

These are scent glands situated around the anus, they release a small amount of foul scented fluid every time a dog poops. These fluids can also be released when they are frightened.

Every dog has its unique smell produced by the anal gland, that’s why they always sniff each other behind every time they meet for greetings and identification.

When the dog poops, the glands produce the fluid to flush out the bacteria in the anus. If the fluid is not released, it will accumulate which will lead to infections.

Why do some German shepherds fail to express their glands when pooping

Some of the causes why your German shepherd is not expressing its glands include;

  • The anal glands are not located where they should be.
  • A loose stool.
  • Overweight.

How to Tell If Your German Shepherd Need His Anal Glands Expressed

When your German shepherd fails to secrete the fluids, they eventually get full (also known as impacted glands). Impacted glands lead to many health complications, they might require surgery to get removed.

Bigger breeds like German shepherds are prone to impact glands compared to smaller breeds like Chihuahua.

An impacted or infected gland will show the following signs;

  • Scooting,
  • Inflamed anus.
  • Difficulties with pooping.
  • Loose stool.
  • Smelly stool than normal.
  • Blood or pus on the anal area.
  • Too much licking or itching the anal area.
  • A brownish residue was left at the spot he had sat on.

Causes of Anal Gland Problems in Dogs

These factors can lead to impacted or infected glands;

  • Insufficient dietary fiber 
  • Chronic skin dermatitis 
  • Obesity
  • Chronic soft stool
  • Genetics
  • Food and/or environmental allergies.

How often do people express their German shepherd’s anal glands?

There is no exact number of times that you are supposed to express the glands of your German shepherd. It will depend on the specific dog as some will never need their glands expressed in their lifetime.

You should always look for signs to know whether your German shepherd needs their gland expressed or not.

Is There A Way To Prevent And Cure Gland Impact In German Shepherds?

To prevent glands impact in German shepherds, you should consult your vet for advice on his diet. You can be advised to feed him fish oil, canned pumpkins, and pumpkin seeds.

Ensure that you check the ingredients of the caned pumpkins to ensure that no xylitol is toxic to dogs.

You should exercise your German shepherd to maintain a healthy weight and feed him with foods rich in fiber.

This issue can be treated by the use of antibiotics or supplements as prescribed by the vet.

It can also be treated by removing the glands completely, this is done through surgery but should be the last option.

The anal glands might not be of great use in homes because it was useful in the wild for territory marking.

Side effects of removing the anal sacks are;

  • Fecal incontinence
  • The fluid ducts getting blocked

Where do you get anal gland expression done?

You can go to the Vet or your groomer to assist you in removing the anal glands.

If you want to DIY or use a groomer, make sure you visit your vet to be sure that the glands are the main cause of your dog’s problem. He will also ensure that it’s safe to remove them at that particular time and check if they are infected.

How to Squeeze Dog Anal Glands

You should be prepared because this is a dirty smelly job. If you are a nauseous person or have a dog who can’t stay still, it will be hard to do the job and you should ask for help from a groomer or a vet. If you are determined to do the task, let’s continue!

Wear latex gloves smoothen with petroleum jelly and insert your index finger in the anus. When you feel the pea-sized glands, squeeze them gently, use a paper towel to empty the brownish fluid.

If the fluid has pus or blood, call your vet as it indicates an infection. You should stop if you notice your dog is in pain.


You always go for checkups to ensure that your German shepherd is in good condition, he can also prescribe the best medicines and diet. This will help reduce the need to express your GSD glands.

You should not express the anal glands without the approval of your vet.


Carol is a paw parent, and her love for dogs started when she was just 5. She adores her two German Shepherds and a Bengal cat, who she says, "life would be incomplete without"

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