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:
CLEANING THE GLANDS AT HOME:
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)
HOW CAN YOU HELP PREVENT PROBLEMS?
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
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
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
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