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Anal glands for beginners

None of us like to think of our sweet little canine friends as having anything so indelicate as dog anal glands. Sad to relate however, they do. They have them, they need them and, like it or not, they sometimes don’t function quite the way they should. If they did, we wouldn’t be needing to have this conversation now would we?

For anyone with a delicate stomach, you might wish to look away now!

Anal glands – the low-down

Anal glands, sometimes referred to as anal sacs, sit at your dog’s rear end either side of the anus. When your dog defecates, a small amount of the fluid contained within these glands comes out too. This strong-smelling, oily fluid lubricates the stool as it leaves your dog’s body making the defecation process easier and gentler for your dog. And, from a dog’s point of view anyway, has the added benefit of marking his or her territory. (Yes, something both male and female dogs do).

This entire, somewhat unsavoury process, normally happens automatically. A good quality, fibre-rich diet produces a stool solid enough to squeeze the anal glands as your dog goes to the toilet. Out comes the fluid, out comes the stool, everyone’s a winner!

But when this doesn’t happen, oh dear. The fluid in the anal glands solidifies and the result is something known as Anal Sac Disease. Also known as Anal Gland Impaction. It’s an uncomfortable, painful condition which is likely to involve your vet expressing your dog’s anal glands manually. Embarrassing for all, painful for your dog and expensive for you. Especially if infection sets in and surgery becomes necessary!

Anal gland impaction – the signs

You’ll soon know if your best friend has an anal gland problem. If you notice he or she licking or biting their rear end more frequently than usual or starting to scoot around on his or her bottom, chances are you’re witnessing an anal gland problem. This will be further evidenced by a particularly foul odour because of the build up of fluid.

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Anal gland impaction – prevention is better than cure

You won’t be surprised to hear that the solution to this unmentionable issue can be found in your dog’s diet. A high quality, fibre-rich, homemade diet should produce stools of sufficient size and appropriate firmness to enable your dog’s anal sacs to perform the function for which they were designed.

So, the occasional leafy greens, cabbage or broccoli, for example. Or add a spoonful or two of rolled oats or bran to your dog’s food a couple of times a week. Or do the same with cooked and mashed pumpkin. About a teaspoon for every 5 kilos of your dog’s bodyweight.

And if you want a really, really healthy solution that will also provide your dog with added goodness, add a tablespoon of psyllium husk to one of my pots of Chicken Bone Broth. Psyllium husk has been used in natural medicine for centuries. It’s a constituent of modern day human laxative formulas. It will stimulate the muscles of the walls of the intestines and help cleanse your dog’s colon as it pushes the waste matter through its system.

Gerald Pepin

Gerald Pepin

Canine Nutritionist

Gerald Pepin is a qualified canine nutritionist, writer, speaker and homemade dog food advocate. Gerald believes that good nutrition can improve or cure most canine health problems and that the natural way is always the best way when it comes to healing man's best friend. A life-long lover of German Shepherds, Gerald and his wife The Dog Chef have two GSDs and live in rural Somerset.

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Better Food, Better Health

Fresh food has been proven to improve dog health.
Know exactly what's in your dog's food.
80% of canine health issues can be improved with healthy food.
There are no chemicals or artificial additives in homemade food.
Life expectancy has been proven greater with fresh food.

Do you really need any more reaons to improve your dog's diet?

Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Better Food, Better Health

Fresh food has been proven to improve dog health.
Know exactly what's in your dog's food.
80% of canine health issues can be improved with healthy food.
There are no chemicals or artificial additives in homemade food.
Life expectancy has been proven greater with fresh food.

Do you really need any more reaons to improve your dog's diet?

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