If you’ve noticed your dog scooting on the floor despite regular worming treatment, it’s time to consider if their anal glands are to blame. In dogs, anal gland impaction is a common problem. It can occur for many reasons, including constipation, diarrhea, and soft stool. Many of these causes come down to an inappropriate or poor-quality diet. As such, many vets will recommend swapping to a diet that is more suitable for your dog. So, what is the best food for dogs with anal gland issues?
If your dog has an anal gland issue, dog food is a leading culprit to consider. Is your dog’s diet high in fiber? Is it high-quality, and made with highly digestible ingredients? If not, it’s best to ask your vet for a recommendation. Ready to find out more? Read on!
What are Anal Gland Issues
Your dog has two anal glands on either side of their anus. These glands produce a liquid with a distinct scent. Your dog uses this scent to tell other dogs about themselves, with information such as their sex, health, and approximate age included. The sacs dispel this fluid every time your dog goes to the toilet.
Anal gland disease is extremely common in dogs. The sacs frequently become blocked, usually because of inflammation of the ducts. The anal gland secretions are an ideal medium for bacteria to grow in, causing abscesses to form later on. Normally, the bacteria are removed along with bowel movements, as the anal gland secretions pass along with feces. If this doesn’t happen, the sacs fill with pus and produce bloody fluid.
Anal Gland Issues Causes and Treatments
While unpleasant to think about, part of pet ownership will always involve helping your dog with problems around their rear end. When it comes to the anal glands, you may need to play a role in helping your dog to express them. But what exactly causes anal gland blockages? And how can you help to get rid of the fluid build-up?
What Causes Anal Gland Issues
In a healthy dog, their bowel movements are usually enough to squeeze the anal glands and empty them. If your dog has soft stools or diarrhea, there is probably not enough pressure on their anal glands to empty them properly. Similarly, irregular bowel movements due to digestive upsets, constipation, or eating poor quality food, can lead to anal gland blockages. Obesity is also a risk factor for anal gland issues, as fatty tissue around the anal glands may stop them from emptying properly. Small breeds are also most prone, potentially because their smaller size means that their glands are small, too. In contrast, large breeds seldom suffer from anal gland issues.
Ways to Treat and Ease Anal Gland Issues
If you spot any signs of anal gland issues for the first time, be sure to have your vet check your dog over for a cause. Your dog will also need a vet if their impaction is severe or infected. Impactions can be treated manually by expressing the glands. Arm yourself with latex gloves and a warm cloth before handling your dog. Once your dog is comfortable, find the anal glands at about 4 and 8 o’clock on either side of their anus. Apply firm but gentle pressure to the glands, moving upwards and back towards the anus. Hold the cloth over your dog’s anus to keep the fluid from squirting onto you. Lastly, wipe your dog clean, and be sure to reward them!
10 Best Food For Dogs With Anal Gland Issues
The best dog food for anal gland problems should have three main traits: high digestibility, full of fiber, and made with limited ingredients. Providing your dog with a digestible diet with plenty of fiber helps to prevent anal gland issues by promoting regular bowel movements and healthy stool. Firm, bulky stools are key for emptying the anal glands naturally.
1. Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food
This food is formulated especially for small breeds, and it’s especially bountiful in fiber. With a crude fiber content of 12.4%, this food is light on the stomach whilst also promoting regular bowel movements. It’s also low in calories, helping to prevent obesity, which happens to be a risk factor for anal gland issues. Lastly, it’s fortified with Omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E to boost your pup’s skin and coat health.
Many positive reviewers discuss how their dogs lost weight on this diet, even the pickiest dogs! Another main selling point for many was that this diet is recommended by vets. It helps to bulk up the stool too, which helps to unblock the anal glands of dogs with anal gland issues.
For some dogs, the taste just isn’t appetizing enough. If your dog has anal gland issues, their unwillingness to change to a more suitable diet could be an issue.
2. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food
This tasty Whole Earth Farms recipe blends chicken and turkey to provide a digestible source of protein. Made without corn, soy, or wheat, Whole Earth’s grain-free diet contains 4.5% crude fiber to aid digestion. Furthermore, it’s made with vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to give your pup’s digestive system a boost.
Happy pet parents love the effectiveness of this grain-free diet! For many dogs, switching to this diet helps to bulk up the stool, eliminating issues with diarrhea. Other pet parents describe how the diet helps to reduce anal gland issues.
The leading problem with this diet is its effect on dogs with cardiovascular issues. Some vets recommend against feeding dogs a grain-free diet as there is a potential link to heart disease. The FDA investigated this link in 2019.
3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food
This tasty, highly digestible diet by Royal Canin is made just for pups with digestive issues. While prebiotics help to maintain the balance of good bacteria in the gut, a healthy blend of dietary fibers supports regular bowel movements. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil also give the GI tract a boost.
Over 1,500 pet parents commend this diet for its effect on their dog’s digestion. For many dogs, stomach cramps, painful gas, and diarrhea are alleviated whilst eating this specialized food. Plus, the addition of this diet being low-fat means that it helps to prevent obesity, a risk factor for anal gland problems in dogs.
This diet is only available through your vet. If your dog has problems with their digestion that cause anal gland issues, be sure to talk to your vet about a prescription diet to meet their needs.
4. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Nourish your pup with Taste of the Wild‘s High Prairie dry dog food. Made with novel proteins like buffalo and bison, this recipe also includes peas and sweet potatoes for high digestibility. It also contains natural antioxidants from vegetables and dried chicory root for prebiotic support. Overall, this diet contains a maximum of 4.0% crude fiber.
Most pet parents recommend this diet. For dogs with digestive issues, Taste of the Wild is often a welcome treatment for their problems. Many dogs’ bowel movements return to normal on this diet, and a healthy, shiny coat is a bonus! Its inclusion of novel proteins also makes it an option for dogs with specific protein allergies.
The main complaint from owners is the caloric content of this diet. For some dogs, this diet may contribute to weight gain. Also, some dogs simply don’t enjoy the taste of this diet and refuse to try even a small amount.
5. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
Need a new diet for your dog’s digestive issues? Nutro Natural Choice may be just the one for your dog. This dry food for large breeds serves both nutrition and flavor. Made with real chicken for a source of digestible protein, this diet also contains essential antioxidants to support good digestion. As a bonus, it also contains glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints.
Several owners report that this diet promotes anal gland health in dogs. As well as this, it’s also great value for money and comes in four different sizes – 13lbs, 22lbs, 30lbs, and 40lbs.
Unfortunately, not all dogs enjoy this dry food. A few owners have also reported that their dogs developed digestive upsets on this food.
6. Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain-Free Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces
Keep your dog in top form with Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight. Made with freeze-dried raw meat, this diet is packed with protein for strong, lean muscles. The addition of L-carnitine also helps to burn fat by supporting a healthy metabolism. It contains a maximum of 7.5% crude fiber, and also contains probiotics.
The main positive aspect of this food is its ability to help your dog lose weight. Many dogs drop to a healthier weight when given this diet! Most dogs love the taste too, though some will pick out the freeze-dried chicken to eat.
Not all dogs enjoy the taste, however, and some refuse to try the food at all. Others seem to develop itchy skin after eating this diet, potentially due to unaddressed allergies.
7. Dr. Tim's Grain-Free Kinesis Formula Dry Dog Food
Dr. Tim’s Grain-Free Kinesis Formula is made with an ideal blend of carbohydrates, fats, and fiber to support a healthy dog’s routine. Made by a canine nutritionist and a vet, this diet inspires confidence in many happy pet parents. It’s also made with prebiotics, probiotics, and natural antioxidants to support your dog’s digestive health. Overall, it contains 4.5% crude fiber.
This is one of the best diets for anal gland issues in dogs. Several dogs show a great improvement in their anal gland health after eating this formula. Plus, most dogs develop a glossy coat, too!
The main problem that dogs face on this diet is gassiness. A few dogs experience more gas, and sometimes even vomiting, on this diet.
8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness High Protein diet is protein-rich and made without corn, wheat, or soy. As well as this, it contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthier coat. Its main sources of fiber are blueberries and carrots, which also add to the enticing flavor. Overall, this diet contains 10% crude fiber.
The vast majority of dogs enjoy the flavorsome taste of this diet. Owners are also satisfied with the high quality of this diet and feel that they can trust the ingredients. The higher fiber content also appears to help dogs with digestive upsets.
The main issues that dogs face on this diet are weight gain and itchiness. For some dogs, this diet may contribute to weight gain, according to reviewers. Some dogs also develop itchy skin and allergies after eating this diet.
9. Castor & Pollux ORGANIX Organic Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe Dry Dog Food
Give your pup a high-quality meal with Castor & Pollux Organix dry dog food. This USDA-certified organic food is made with organic chicken as its source of protein. It’s also rich in antioxidants and made with blueberries, flaxseed, and coconut oil for healthy digestion. Overall, it contains 3.5% crude fiber.
Most dogs are crazy for the taste of Castor & Pollux Organix dog food. Even picky pups seem to chow down with ease. The smell of the food is also appealing, according to reviewers.
For some dogs, this diet isn’t the most beneficial for their digestive health. Some dogs experience more gas and stomach cramps when eating this diet. Some owners are also unsatisfied with the higher price of this product.
10. ORIJEN High-Protein, Grain-Free, Premium Quality Meat
ORIJEN Original Dog Food is a diet rich in whole animal ingredients that are also free-range or wild-caught. This diet is made with a blend of chicken, turkey, flounder, eggs, herring, and more. It also contains plenty of sources of fiber, like lentil fiber and whole carrots. Also, it contains probiotics for extra digestive support. Overall, it contains 4% crude fiber.
This natural diet is a hit with thousands of pups. Most importantly, it helps to bulk up their stool, helping to express the anal glands naturally. It also encourages a smooth, healthy coat in many dogs.
The main issue that dogs face on this diet is digestive upsets. Some dogs experience diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation when on this diet. Some owners warn against overfeeding with this diet to avoid these problems.
Anal Gland Issues & Nutrition: FAQ
Have any more questions or concerns about the best food for dogs with anal gland issues? Feel free to refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for more details. If in doubt about your pup’s anal gland health, always ask your vet for advice.
Dogs with anal gland issues can eat wet food, but it’s essential for the wet food to be high-quality. A low-quality diet is a leading contributor to anal gland problems in dogs. The best food for dogs with anal gland issues will also depend on the cause of your dog’s issues! If your dog struggles with constipation, a wet diet may be better as it provides more moisture, for example. It’s best to consult with your vet about your dog’s anal gland issues to find what’s best for them.
You can express your dog’s anal glands yourself if there is no infection involved. However, it’s always best to have a professional show you how to do it the first time you try. Your vet or a dog groomer can show you how to express your dog’s anal glands quickly and efficiently.
The first sign that most owners notice is their dog scooting on the floor. Your dog might do this to relieve pressure on their anal glands. Other signs include a foul smell, licking their bottom more than normal, and redness and swelling of their rear end. If your dog has an infection, you might also notice blood or pus in their stool.
Any dog breed can develop anal gland impaction, but some are more prone than others. In fact, anal gland problems are most common in Chihuahuas, Toy Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Lhasa Apsos, and Beagles. Large breeds, in contrast, seldom have problems with their anal glands.
Depending on your vet, the cost of dealing with anal gland issues is relatively inexpensive. The cost of expressing a dog’s anal glands is generally $50 or less. However, the price increases if your dog’s anal glands are infected or abscessed, as they may need extra treatment.
The best food for dogs with anal glands is a food that is digestible, higher in fiber, and contains healthy ingredients. Talk to your vet about the best food for your pup.