Q. Every time the groomer expresses the anal glands on my Westie the poor dog scoots and seems to try to avoid defecation.
DESTINI R. HOLLOWAY, DVM
A. Sounds like your wearied has a typical reaction that can be seen after an anal gland expression, which is some irritation of the rectum. This especially happens at the groomer because they express from the outside instead of the inside and this can cause more friction and inflammation. This is nothing to be too concerned with.
Some pets don't actually need to have their anal glands expressed unless they show signs that they are having trouble expressing them on their own (which most pets will do while pooping). Unless he was diagnosed with an anal gland issue by a vet or showing signs of irritation before his grooming appointment, like constantly scooting or licking back there, I would inform the groomers not to bother expressing because it really doesn't need to be done and will just irritate him without cause or reason.
If he does have anal gland problems and needs expressing often, then you can either have the expression done at a vet's office because we express them on the inside and are more careful not to cause irritation, or you can try applying a small amount of Diaper rash cream (I.e. Desitin) to his bottom after his growing appointments to help soothe his irritated bum.
A. If done correctly, this procedure should not cause any problems at all for a dog afterward. Perhaps you should have the vet do it next time--the dog can also be checked then for any anatomical anomailes that mght be the source of his discomfort.