Anal Gland Problems; The stinky odor no one wants to talk about.
There is no nice way to ease into talking about anal glands. They are smelly, irritating, and can sometimes be a problem. Here we dissect and inspect why and how dogs get anal gland problems, what they are, and how you can help your dog.
Let us first start by explaining what anal glands are in dogs. They are two small oval shaped
sacs that sit on either side of the dogs’ anus. These two sacs hold inside them a brown, oily like fluid that smells like rotten sardines and then some.
Anal glands are scent glands that posses two functions.
A) Produce a strong and penetrating scent to mark their territory and
B) Help the body eliminate unnecessary toxins.
These glands express the foul fluid onto their feces as another way of marking their territory.
There are a quite a few different types of anal gland issues that dogs can suffer from.
1) Anal gland dysfunction – not discharging on their own
2) Anal gland inflammation
3) Anal gland abscess – the rupturing of the glands due to obstruction of the opening
4) Anal gland tumors
What Causes Anal Gland Problems?
There are a number of factors that can be at play if your dog is having problems, such as;
Diet and obesity – these can be tied together in one. Making sure you are not over feeding your dog as well as feeding them a kibble-free diet is the most beneficial way to keep the anal glands from backing up and clogging. If your dog is on a diet that is causing them to be overweight, the glands can dissipate into the fatty tissue making the emptying process impossible. The glands can become inflamed and are unable to detox properly causing pain and irritation to your dog. Generally hard stool makes for good anal gland function. The glands are massaged as the dog defecates and that is how the glands release the toxins from their body.
A large tell is if your dog is constantly scooting (dragging) their bum on the ground. They are trying to relieve themselves of the pain and pressure that he built up in his anus.
What Kind Of Treatments Are There?
Traditional treatment focuses on the main issue – discarding the content. Sometimes your veterinarian will recommend flushing the glands and in some extreme cases, antibiotics or surgery. The most commonly used method is expressing the content from their rear which can be done by your vet or local groomer. This can however lead to a repeat of expressions and with the worse case scenario, the entire removal of the anal gland.
The Good News
Feeding a biologically appropriate diet to your dog will help make all of his bodily functions run smoothly. Adding proteins that are rich with bone allows everything to be pushed out nice and cleanly. The bone content is necessary in hardening the stool which aids in massaging and releasing the fluid in the sacs. We also highly recommend adding tripe to your dog’s diet as it is full of gastric juices and enzymes which aid in digestion. Not only does it aid dog in digestion, it is full of amino acids, calcium, and phosphorous. Your dog’s health will improve and the discomfort of anal gland expressions should be minimized drastically and hopefully eliminated for life. Now if that isn’t a good reason to go raw we don’t know what is.
Check out this informative video by Dr. Karen Becker to learn a little more about anal glands!
If you have any questions about your dog and an all natural and holistic approach to your dogs diet or special needs, feel free to give us a call or come into our fun and exciting Kerrisdale store!
-The True Carnivores Pack