Do German Shepherds Need Their Glands Expressed?

May 23, 2023

Top Shepherd

Owning a dog is the best thing in the whole world, and among the top breeds of dogs are the German Shepherds. Dogs and their cute little faces and wagging tails can brighten even the gloomiest of days. But it’s not all good, there is some unpleasant stuff that needs to be taken care of with dogs. One such thing is the expression of anal glands. So, do German Shepherds need their glands expressed?

All dogs have anal glands near their butts that release a pretty stinky oily substance that helps them communicate with other dogs. Whenever dogs defecate, the anal glands empty their contents to help the dog mark its territory.  The smell tells other dogs important dog demographic information like age, health, and sex too.

While some breeds require regular expression of their anal glands, it is not necessary for all dogs, including German Shepherds. Here's what you need to know about anal gland expression in German Shepherds: 

Why Do Dogs Need Anal Glands Expressed?

Anal glands are small sacs located on either side of a dog's anus that produce a smelly, oily liquid that is used for marking territory and communicating with other dogs. The glands empty naturally when your dog defecates, but sometimes the liquid can become thick and hard to pass, leading to discomfort and even infection.

When the glands become impacted, they can cause your dog to scoot their bottom along the ground or lick and bite their anus excessively. In such cases, the vet might recommend expressing the glands to relieve the discomfort.

Unlike some other breeds, such as Bulldogs or Pugs, German Shepherds do not typically require regular expression of their anal glands. This is because their glands tend to empty naturally during bowel movements. However, some German Shepherds may still require expression if they experience any issues with their anal glands.

What Are the Symptoms of Blocked Anal Glands in Dogs?

We have established the presence of German Shepherd anus problems, but how do you know if your pup is dealing with this problem? Signs that your German Shepherd's anal glands may need to be expressed include:

  • Scooting: If you see your dog dragging its bottom across the ground or carpet, it may be trying to relieve the discomfort caused by blocked anal glands.
  • Licking or biting the anus: Your dog may start licking or biting their bottom area excessively in an attempt to relieve the discomfort.
  • Strong, fishy odor: A foul smell emanating from your dog's rear end can be another sign of blocked anal glands.
  • Discharge or bleeding: You may also notice some discharge or bleeding from the anal area if the glands become infected or impacted.
  • Difficulty pooping: If your dog appears to be in pain, whining, or yelping while defecating, it could be a sign of blocked anal glands.

If you notice any of these symptoms, expressing your German Shepherd's anal glands is almost imminent, and it's essential to take your dog to the vet. Don't worry, though, as this is a common procedure that can be done quickly and safely. The sooner you address the issue, the sooner your puppy can feel comfortable and happy again.

How To Express Dog Anal Glands?

Expressing anal glands is a rather smelly and messy job, but it can prevent German Shepherd anus infections and discomfort for your GSD. While most owners prefer taking their German Shepherd to the vet to have their anal glands expressed, it's definitely something you can learn to do at home if you're feeling brave enough. Here’s how you do it. 

  1. First, find a comfortable spot for you and your dog. Many people find it easiest to have their dogs stand up, while others prefer to have them lie on their side. Make sure to have a trusted friend or family member hold your dog close and steady.
  2. Now, it's time to gear up! Put on some gloves and lubricate your finger with petroleum jelly or water-based lube. Lift your dog's tail and gently insert your finger into the rectum. Don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds.
  3. Feel for a pea or marble-sized gland using your finger and thumb at the 5 or 7 o'clock positions. Once you've located it, gently apply pressure to the farthest side and squeeze towards you. Think of it like squeezing a toothpaste tube, but much gentler!
  4. You'll know when the gland is empty because it will barely be noticeable. Clean the area and repeat on the other side for the other gland. 

Congratulations, you're now a pro at expressing your dog's anal glands! But to be safe, it might be a good idea not to do this yourself and just take your dog to the vet to get its glands expressed.


As a German Shepherd breeder, we know that dealing with anal glands may not be the best part of being a dog owner. But it’s a rare occurrence in GSDs and then there's nothing glamorous about dog poop and slobber, either! The pros outweigh the cons. 

Despite this, we believe that German Shepherds are worth every bit of effort. These protective and loyal companions will steal your heart with their friendly personalities.

At Top Shepherd, we pride ourselves in our happy and healthy German Shepherd puppies that are ready to become a part of your family. We're passionate about this incredible breed, and we want to share that passion with you.

So what are you waiting for? Take the plunge and add a German Shepherd to your life! Whether you're looking for a running partner, a cuddle buddy, or a loyal protector, these pups will not disappoint. Call us at +1 844-844-3323 or visit our website and let's make your German Shepherd dreams come true!

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