If you have a dog that has recently sustained a back injury or been diagnosed with IVDD (intervertebral disc disease), you're probably thinking about pee - specifically, how to help your pooch pee. Expressing a dog's bladder is actually pretty simple (and not even that gross), it just takes some practice.
I got a crash course in bladder expression after our Dachshund, Greta, ruptured a disc in her back. After a year and a half, I can confidently say that I'm pretty pro! Although Greta has bladder control, the problem is that she can't really stand up long enough to go potty on her own. So, my husband and I roll up our sleeves about five times a day to help her out...
Here's our technique: With my right hand, I support Greta's body by gripping her abdomen (underhand). I cup my left hand over her lower back, just before her legs (overhand). With my hands lined up (right and left thumb touching on her right side and my right and left fingers touching on her left side), I squeeze firmly up and back toward the hips, and voila - Greta pees!
Since I'm so accustomed to this routine, I no longer have to locate her bladder by touch anymore, but I used to. With little pups like Doxies, the bladder can be tricky to find. As you palpate the abdomen with your fingers, be alert to something that feels like a small water balloon. Also, don't underestimate how far back you need to go. As you can see in the diagram above, the canine bladder is much closer to the tail bone than the chest and ribs, etc.
So, that's it in a nutshell. To the uninitiated, canine bladder expression can be a terrifying prospect, but I promise that it's not half as gross as changing a baby's diaper! You basically just have to squeeze your dog's stomach, and nature will do the rest. (Poop, by the way, comes out all on its own because of reflex - even if a dog is completely paralyzed. Many times they will poop at the same time their bladder is expressed.)
For more details, check out this informative page over at Dodger's List. It includes photos and instructions for expressing a male dog - something that I'm not yet familiar with.