Dog Anal Gland Problems?

Well - no one is running out in the the woods or fields expressing the anal glands/sacs of Coyotes, so why do our dogs "need" them expressed sometimes? Truly they generally do not! Not since my first dog, Tally, have I expressed the anal sacs of any dog. Why? I'm a raw feeder... Once eating a more appropriate diet, they're much less likely to have anal sac problems. 

But you don't want to feed an all raw diet yet you still have issues with anal glands? I do have a few tips that can assist even dry fed dogs.

  • Feed LESS dry food - Sorry - but it's true. Dry food is the major cause. Too much carbohydrate in dry foods, without the proper balance of the (RIGHT) fiber, tends to impact the anal "sacs". Poops become far too large and too soft creating thick discharge so that when the stool passes through, the discharge gets lodged in the anal sacs. Anal glad/sac discharge is normal. They should be expressing them when they pass stool, on their own - with small and firm stools. Unfortunately, when the stools are too large, a thick discharge is produced and that thick discharge can cause inflammation and infection, then swell the sacs shut. When they are closed, they are also painful so the dogs start to lick and scoot... The next time the dog goes to the bathroom, the dog cannot express them when they pass stool since they're swollen shut, and that is when the cycle of "needing to have them expressed" begins. But what if you want to continue feeding dry? Keep reading please! 

  • Feed more complete fresh food diets. When feeding a complete and balanced fresh food diet that is species (carnivore) appropriate, the fiber balance from a small amount of veggie and ground/crushed and chewed soft raw bones (never cooked) creates firmer, smaller stools. These stools pass more easily without back filling anal sacs. Adding even 20% complete fresh food can make a difference. Cut back on the dry by 20% and add in a gently cooked like Nature's Logic or Open Farm, or better yet, a raw food as a topper or mix in like Primal, OC, Steve's, and Bones & Co - or any of the fresh foods we have in our multiple freezers. 

  • Use quality enzymes & probiotics. Especially when feeding a mostly dry food diet. This helps break down carbohydrates and will assist in firming the stool and making them smaller by helping dogs digest their food, better. 

  • Add more moisture from pet specific bone broth & goats milk, fresh meats, even eggs and then mix in dehydrated (rehydrated with water) pumpkin powders (all of these we stock at Wags to Whiskers). When doing so, cut back on the amount of dry food you feed to reduce the amount of carbohydrate consumption. Bone broth and goats milk have anti-inflammatory properties, goat's milk is loaded with enzymes and probiotics, and pumpkin powder, rehydrated, is a great source of fiber to help firm the stool.

  • Don't ask a groomer express your dogs anal glands - seek vet care. The more the anal sacs are squeezed, the weaker the muscles around the sacs get and the more likely that they will impact again. If they MUST be expressed internal expression is recommended, and this is BEST performed by someone trained in a medical-like procedure. Ask your groomer to NOT express your dogs sacs, or find a groomer - like Wags to Whiskers - where they do not express anal sacs. 
    • If you MUST continue to feed dry food - add in as much fresh as you can afford, but please make sure the dry you choose is a high meat content and the lowest carbohydrate content foods you can find. At Wags to Whiskers, we can truly assist with this. We specialize in stocking the lowest carb/starch and highest meat content foods on the market. It matters and it does help. 
  • Finally - truly consider feeding a 100% complete and balanced raw food diet if your dogs anal sac problems are frequent. This is most species appropriate for proper balance. It produces smaller, firmer stools to support healthy bottoms :) If you just cannot go all raw, we truly understand this. Try to feed at least 20%-50% of the diet from complete fresh foods for pets, add in probiotic and enzymes, goat's milk/bone broth, dehydrated pumpkin, and do not use any carbohydrate based treats/biscuits (meaty treats only). 

Absolutely feel free to reach out to us at the store, and stop in for free consultations anytime! If you are not located in the Plainfield IL area and would like to consult with me, Janelle, by phone or video chat, you can register for this on our website at this link and I will contact you set up your appointment. 

I hope this information is helpful! Being that my dog's anal glad problems when she was a puppy is literally what helped me start my store over 16 years ago now, I have had a lot of first-hand experience with this problem - and please believe IT CAN BE SOLVED. Wags to Whiskers is here to help.

Best regards,


Wags to Whiskers - Owner

Visit Wags to Whiskers in Plainfield IL for food changes & proper supplementation!