Dog Health – Anal Glands

The Stinky Truth

About Anal Glands

BY NICOLE IPSON | September 19, 2017


anal glands

You’ve seen the “funny” carpet commercials and videos of dogs dragging their bottoms across the floor. Have you ever wondered what they were actually doing? For me as a groomer of over 10 years when I see those commercials my first instinct is to say “gross” or “that’s sad”. The reason being is because while most people think this is funny or their dog is being cute, they are actually trying to tell you something is wrong.

When your pet goes to the bathroom and their anal glands are functioning properly a secretion is passed along with their feces. This does two things, it marks the area with their sent, as well as lubricates their back-end so they can pass their number 2 easily. However, due to poor fibrous diets, these glands can become impacted. This causes the secretion becoming thicker and harder to pass. Along with this, it can cause your pet to strain. This is when your pet pushes for long periods of time to pass their feces. Straining alone can cause several other issues.

Now, remember how I mentioned your dog being funny and dragging their bottom across the floor? This in itself is a major sign that your pet needs its anal glands expressed. Usually, there are two sets of people that can do this for you if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself. You can call a groomer, they often offer this as a walk-in service. Or you can call your vet. Here are the differences between the two.


Can only do an external gland expression. Meaning, they will put pressure on the anal glands from the outside, releasing anything loose from the sacs that your pet can’t get. If your pet isn’t badly clogged usually this is enough to relieve the symptoms. They can also bathe the back end of your pet (maybe at an extra cost but well worth it) so that your pet doesn’t smell of anal glands afterward.


Can do internal gland expression. Meaning, they are trained to actually milk your pets gland from the inside allowing them to more completely empty the sacs. This method is usually what a groomer will suggest if they find that the secretion coming from your pet is rather thick and unwilling to completely release from the sacs. This will be suggested if the groomer feels that it is possible that they can rupture your pets anal glands.

anal glands

It is important that you understand what you are watching for, and that is relatively easy. The anal glands are located to the left and right of your pets anus. If you notice your pet straining while going to the restroom or dragging their bottoms these are your first signs. You can also check your pet by feeling the sides of their anus. If you find that there is a bump on either or both sides of the anus your pet is becoming impacted. Usually, small dogs have to have help expressing their glands and most large dogs don’t.

The reason you need to know what to watch for though is simple. If your pets glands are ignored and they are unable to take care of the expression themselves they can rupture. Meaning the sacs can become so full that they will pop like a balloon. They usually pop outward causing a dime size hole on either or both sides of the anus. This will lead to major issues as well as large amounts of pain.

This topic isn’t a fun one for anyone, this is fairly obvious. However, as a pet owner, it is important that you be aware of your pet’s health even the stinky parts. In doing so you will ensure that your pet stays as happy and healthy as possible. After all, they are a part of your family, they just can’t always tell you if something is wrong. So be aware of the signs, and help your pet in every way!


Article By- © 2017, Nicole Ipson, Images By- © 2017, Nicole Ipson &

Dog Health – Shedding

Managing The Shedding

BY NICOLE IPSON | August 11, 2017



One of the main issues that owners have with their furry friends is the shedding. Let’s face it, no one likes hair all over their furniture or clean clothing! This issue comes whether you have a cat or a dog, long haired or short. Shockingly the pet with the most hair sometimes isn’t always the one responsible!

Although most long coated pets are double coated there are short haired breeds that are also double coated. Some of these breeds include, but are not limited to Labrador Retrievers, Pugs, Chihuahuas. Although not double coated, some dogs such as Boxers also tend to shed quite a bit. Shedding dogs and cats can always benefit from a deep coat brush whether they are long haired or short.

The deep coat brush out process may have to be done in different sessions. This is based on how badly compacted your pet’s coat may be. There are other variables that play into being able to properly perform this process as well. One of these variables is how resilient is the skin? The tools used to pull the undercoat or excess fur can be harmful to your pet if used incorrectly. Such side effects such as blade burn or even open sores can happen. For these reasons, it is important to keep an eye on the pet’s skin while performing this process. The amount needed is dependent on the pet’s coat.

Consider This

  • How often is my pet Shedding? Once a year? Every other month? All year?
  • How often is your pet properly brushed out?
  • Does your pet seem hot even when it’s cool outside?


 Although the types of coats and their shedding habits vary it important to get them properly brushed regularly. Salons often offer walk-in services for just brushing at reasonable rates. So the next time you take your pet in for their monthly nail trim, consider also asking for a quick brush out. Most salons are happy to oblige! Not only will they help keep hair out of your home but it will also help your pets to stay comfortable through the year.



Article By- © 2017, Nicole Ipson, Images By- © 2017,

Dog Health – The Undercoat

Why Shaving The Undercoat Is Undesirable

BY NICOLE IPSON | July 24, 2017



Since 2005 I have been working directly with dogs and learning as much as I can. One thing that is requested often is shaving a double coated pet. Unfortunately, a rather large amount of dog owners misunderstand the purpose of their pet’s thick coat and the damage caused by the removal of that coat.

It is all too common that I will have a customer walk into the salon with a double coated dog and say: “My dog is panting a lot I need to shave his/her hair off to help them cool off.” Unfortunately, is not how this issue is fixed. The first thing that I would like to do is a quick break down. Dog’s are unable to sweat as a person does, they only sweat through the areas that do not grow fur (paws, nose, etc). Secondly, they can only exert heat 2 ways. These are by releasing sweat, but this plays a minor role and lastly panting. Panting takes the cake when it comes to cooling down your friend! I like to point out to people as well if we as humans could not release excess heat through our skin and could only pant we wouldn’t view this so differently. We as humans see the response coming from our dogs and feel we need to do something. This small realization is what starts the downward spiral for double coated dogs.

Of course, we as dog owners have nothing but good intentions in mind when wanting to cool our pet. Our first thought is compared to, “when I’m hot I take clothes off so I’ll do the same for fluffy!” The difference being when you remove an undercoat you are removing both natural protection from sunburn and insulation for cooling.

Your Dogs Coat & Its Purpose


During the winter your pup has both a soft undercoat and guard hairs. The soft undercoat is what keeps in the heat making fluffy warm when the snow falls. The guard hairs protect him from debris such as snow, ice, and even excess water also helping the cold not get to the

In the summer your pup sheds the soft fluffy coat so that the guard hairs can keep the skin cool. At this point, those hairs act as a “reflective surface” against the sun while letting cool air through to keep the body cool. As hair is removed by shaving a few things happen: One your pet becomes susceptible to sun burn. Next, the guard hairs are no longer there to keep them cool. Lastly, the soft undercoat grows in more slowly keeping that coat cdogloser to the skin and actually causing a higher risk for increased body

For these reasons and a few more almost every groomer will advise against shaving of double coated dogs. So help keep your pup’s coat healthy and keep them cool. There are other grooming techniques that can be applied to help cut back on excess fur and help cool your pet, so speak with your groomer today!



Art/Images By- © 2017, Nicole Ipson 


Dogs Naturally, “Why You Shouldn’t Shave Your Dog In The Summer” Julia Henriques, (2017)

Pets 4 Homes, “Dog Breeds With Double Coats” (2017)

American Kennel Club, “Healthy Temperature Setting For Dogs In The Winter” (2015)