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"Dogs are not our whole lives, but they help make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

Anal Gland Problems

in dogs


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I haven't ever had experience with this problem in our beagles, so can't help you as far as from firsthand knowledge. A few family members and friends have told me of their encounters with this issue, leading to a little bit of research on my part.

A straight-forward description of this issue:  http://www.dr-dan.com/analsac.htm


Anal gland contents are smelly! I know of a shih tzu that needed to have her glands expressed almost every month. Some people do it by themselves at home, but I have to admit that it is pretty fragrant! There are instructions online if you feel like you'd rather clean them at home than pay a veterinarian.

http://www.smalldogsparadise.com (bottom of the page)



The softness/hardness of the stools is a key to prevention. For hundreds or thousands of years, dogs ate meat primarily. Their diets were extremely low carb, so their stools were hard. If you've ever been on a low-carb diet, like the Atkins diet, you know what a difference this makes!

Now, almost all packaged dog foods contain corn, rice, etc. which makes their stools softer. The glands can't express with each bowel movement if the stools are soft...these glands need hard stools to self cleanse.

Alternatively, maybe you could try to find a food that produces the firmest stools possible. A food with low vegetable ingredients and more meat products is probably going to help. My brother feeds his mini Aussie Natures Variety, which is a no-corn food, and his dog has as close to perfection hair and body shape as you could hope to find. http://www.naturesvariety.com/instinct_dog_kibble  There are probably other, similar foods available that are low in corn, rice, and other grains.

Adding fiber might help, because fiber absorbs moisture...and therefore, may cause stools to be more firm.

If you don't have good luck with low-carb foods, try making your own dog food with all meats and fibrous vegetables...no grain fillers.

Great site with treatment/prevention ideas, including dietary supplements:  http://www.smalldogsparadise.com/health-care/empty-your-dogs-anal-sacs-the-natural-way/


The surgery is probably not a complicated situation, since the glands are right below the surface. Unless there are a lot of blood vessels supplying them, it should be a quick procedure. I don't know if there are side effects of not having the glands, though. Talk to your veterinarian if you find yourself and your dog having to repeatedly deal with anal gland impaction.




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Last Updated
05/07/2011 09:32 AM -0500

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Bedford, Iowa
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