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Why Is My Dog Expressing Its Glands When Sleeping?

If your dog is expressing its glands when sleeping, this usually indicates that there is some sort of problem with the glands, in which case your dog may need some help.

You might need to either get a vet to assist you in clearing up the problem, or help your dog empty the glands itself if you have been advised that it is safe to do so – but only with expert advice on the matter.

Do not attempt to empty your dog’s anal glands unless you have been shown what to do by a vet, who will demonstrate the method and ensure that you know how to do it safely.

If your dog is having problems with its anal glands, it is very important to get advice from a vet first and foremost.

This will rule out the risk of infection or other complications, and they should be able to guide you on how to deal with this problem properly, or let you know if medical intervention is needed instead.

Don’t take advice from a non-professional about this situation, as they may give improper information that could be harmful to the dog.

A dog expressing its anal glands is not a pleasant thing, and you should pay attention if this is occurring regularly. It can smell bad, and it may be uncomfortable for the dog, so don’t just ignore it if this occurs.

Why Is My Dog Expressing Its Glands When Sleeping?

The most likely explanation for your dog expressing its anal glands while sleeping is that the glands have filled up, and because your dog’s muscles are relaxed while sleeping, the glands empty themselves.

Most pet owners find this a pretty unpleasant experience, so it’s important to understand why it happens and know what to do about it.

Being in control of the situation will also help to avoid smelly messes occurring anywhere that your dog happens to lie down, and if it sleeps in your bed regularly, you might be pretty keen to ensure expression doesn’t happen!

A dog’s anal glands are used to create scent markings, and they contain valuable information about the dog, which is usually transferred when the dog defecates.

The glands will empty a little bit of liquid alongside the feces, leaving the dog’s scent and plenty of information for other dogs that might be nearby.

However, if your dog’s anal glands are not emptying properly or quickly enough, they may leak when the dog falls asleep and the muscles relax.

Your dog may express its glands when it is sleeping even if they are not overly full, but this is unusual. Most dogs will only do this when the glands are too full to comfortably hold the liquid, and when their muscles have relaxed due to sleep.

Is It Normal For My Dog To Express Its Glands When Sleeping?

Although many dogs will never do this, it is a relatively common issue that a lot of dogs experience – especially small dogs for some reason.

Many pet owners find that their dogs express their glands once they have dozed off, and it is nothing to panic over. However, it should prompt a visit to the vet so that you can find out what’s wrong, and whether any intervention is needed.

Many dogs express their anal glands because they are not emptying properly when they defecate, but in some cases, the issue may result from something more serious, like an infection.

This sort of thing can usually be cleared up fairly easily, but it should still be treated by a vet.

You shouldn’t be overly concerned if you do find that your dog has expressed its glands, but don’t ignore the issue either.

While a lot of dogs suffer from this problem, it does mean that something is at least a little wrong with your dog’s anatomy, and action needs to be taken to resolve the issue and make sure your dog is comfortable.

Is There A Way To Prevent My Dog From Expressing Its Glands When Sleeping?

The best way to prevent your dog from expressing its glands while sleeping is to ensure that they do not get overly full at any point.

This will put less pressure on the muscles, and reduce the risk of expression occurring when those muscles then relax. You will need to consult a vet in order to learn the proper method for doing this, but it is usually straightforward.

If you wish to do this at home, you will need some disposable kitchen towels, a latex glove, and a second pair of hands to help you hold the dog still. It is important to be gentle and patient, especially the first few times that you do this.

The aim is to lightly pressure the glands, which are on either side of the dog’s anus, so that the excess liquid is expelled onto the kitchen towel, relieving pressure on these glands.

This is not a very pleasant job, but most people find that they are capable of doing it with a bit of practice.

However, if you would prefer not to do it yourself or you find it too difficult, it is best to take your dog to the vet to have the glands drained on a regular basis. This will need to be done approximately once every one to two months in most cases.


If your dog is expressing its glands when sleeping, you will need to take action to help it clear the excess fluid from these glands and reduce the risk of accidental expression occurring. In general, if the glands are functioning as they should be and emptying when the dog defecates, they won’t express when the dog is asleep. It’s important to get a vet to check on your dog’s anal glands and make sure that your pet is healthy and normal in that area before you start trying to correct this issue yourself at home, as sometimes it is a symptom of a more major problem that needs addressing.