Anal Glands & Diet Recommendations

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Anal Glands & Diet Recommendations

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  • #108272 Report Abuse
    Eileen W

    Adopted rescue (Molly) in May and feeding Acana Heritage with my other dog. In the last 3 months, her anal glands have been expressed twice. Her poop is formed but not really solid. I have tried psyllium, pumpkin, pure form, glandex and no real change in stool. Vet has found no medical reason why they need to be done manually. I am seeking a dog food recommendation that is grain free, bird free (no chicken, turkey, duck,etc.), not Acana or Origen. Has anyone had gland issues, made a diet change and found a food that has really worked for them? I have read, on this forum, some correlation between allergies, diet and glands. So, wondering if anyone had an allergy test to help determine best food to try? Thanks!

    #108273 Report Abuse

    I like merrick. They have a good grain free limited ingredient diet. Also they have some regular grain free recipes that are poultry free. The salmon and beef formulas are free of poultry. The best allergen tests will be blood tests through your vet. Saliva ones arent always the best.

    #108274 Report Abuse

    Zignature, for something a bit more reasonable, Nutrisca
    I have found that grain free and avoiding potatoes helps.

    From a previous post of mine per:
    Excerpts (out of context) from article below:
    Anal sacs are the reservoirs for the secretions of anal glands which are located on either side of a dog’s anus, at approximately four and eight o’clock. These sacs contain liquid secretions from the anal gland, which, in healthy animals, are normally pale yellow-brown to grayish in color. The contents are usually emptied during normal bowel movements, or when a dog is nervous or scared. In most animals, these sacs empty easily. However, some dogs, especially small breed dogs, are not able to empty the sacs properly and become susceptible to anal sac disease.
    Transmission or Cause:
    The cause of anal sac disease is unknown. Smaller dog breeds, such as Chihuahuas and poodles, are most often affected. Excessive anal gland production, soft feces or diarrhea, poor muscle tone, and obesity also contribute to higher risk of developing anal sac disease. Anal sac abscess tends to occur after an impacted anal gland has become so severely swollen and infected that the anal sac forms an abscess and ruptures.
    Expression of the anal sacs every few weeks or months often will help prevent anal gland fluid from accumulating and becoming thickened again. High fiber diets have been shown to help prevent anal sac disease in at-risk dogs, especially those that are obese.

    Regarding allergies, it would be best to make an appointment with a board certified veterinary dermatologist for testing/ diagnosis/treatment, if you don’t have good results with your regular vet within a reasonable amount of time.
    In the meantime, has your vet recommended a prescription food/therapeutic diet? That may be a good place to start.
    Beware of homeopathic miracle cures, forget about mail-in hair and saliva tests (no good).
    For science-based veterinary medicine go here
    You can use the search engine there to look up topics.
    This site has a search engine too, see my posts.
    Good luck

    PS: Regarding the blood test via vet, food allergies are rare and food sensitivities tend to fluctuate. Intradermal skin testing done by a veterinary dermatologist is the most accurate. My dog has environmental allergies, her anal gland issues cleared up immediately after she started the prescribed treatment by the specialist.

    #108275 Report Abuse
    Eileen W

    @haleycookie – Merrick was bought by Purina a few years ago. Thinking you have had no issues being on it or you would have mentioned. Just confirming…

    @anon101 – my vet recommended the glandex and pumpkin and seems perfectly happy to manually express them each month. While my other dog has back end “structural” issues that necessitate it for her, I am not yet ready to have this be the new norm for Molly. Thank you for resharing your links (I read those and some others last night). I understand the function, the need, etc. of the glands. Molly is active, of proper weight, the sac content normal, etc. so maybe I need a second opinion.

    Keep the info and ideas coming!

    #108277 Report Abuse

    I have several customers who swear by Under the Sun Whitefish for anal gland problems. My own dog did well on Canidae Pure before I switched him to raw, and he consistently had anal gland problems at the foster’s house while being fed Earthborn. I’ve also heard of good results with people using Super Snouts balance GI or NaturVet No Scoot as a supplement.

    #111694 Report Abuse
    Kathleen J

    My almost 3 year-old Shichon has chronic anal gland problems. I have him on a grain-free diet and have changed his food a few times (Blue, American Journey, Merrick, etc.). None of the diet changes worked. I’m going to try the supplements in this thread. Thanks for the info!

    #111725 Report Abuse
    Eileen W

    I am posting an update on both dogs.
    1. Molly
    I sought a second opinion from another vet. Molly has been on a prescription diet for about 3 months. Her poops are well formed now and the last two times her anal glands were checked they did not need to be expressed. My next steps are to keep her on for another month and then move her to a novel protein and limited ingredient diet food. I plan to try Zignature Kangaroo. I am hopeful the trend will continue on a food more balanced. The prescription diet did confirm she is able to express on her own and the more solid poops likely helped with that process. I have read about the deficiencies in the prescription diets…it is not a long term plan so please refrain from beating me up about it. I started her on a prebiotic when I changed her food.

    2. Sierra
    I switched her from Pure Vita to Fromm Four Star Nutritionals (with grain). She is pooping about 1/3 of what she was on PV and they are also firm. She is no longer scratching or chewing on her feet. Her energy level is great and she seems better than on either Acana or PV. She is off her allergy meds completely now. She still needs her anal glands expressed and as I mentioned she has structural issues which have her anal glands in non standard positioning. I started her on a prebiotic when I changed her food. I am happy with her progress.

    My summation: after months of reading and many conversations with vet and other dog owners, I have come to believe there is no single food (brand, flavor, etc.) or medication or “recipe” that addresses this. I have to be willing to try something new if current plan is not working and it may take months to find the right balance. This is my opinion only and I am not a vet. Good Luck.

    #129632 Report Abuse
    Marci B

    These posts make me want to pull my hair out! Grain free diets have now been linked with dilated cardiomyopathy. And since grain free was introduced, there has been a rise in anal gland issues in dogs. “This does not appear to be just an issue with grain-free diets though. I am calling the suspected diets, “BEG” diets – boutique companies, exotic ingredients, or grain-free diets. The apparent link between BEG diets and DCM may be due to ingredients used to replace grains in grain-free diets, such as lentils or chickpeas, but also may be due to other common ingredients commonly found in BEG diets, such as exotic meats, vegetables, and fruits. In addition, not all pet food manufacturers have the same level of nutritional expertise and quality control, and this variability could introduce potential issues with some products.” Your best bet has been and is well established brands like Hills, Purina, etc. that have the years, science, and research behind them. It should be noted also that some dogs need their hands expressed regularly while others do not and this is not a symptom of some disease but just what is needed for that particular dog. It never hurts to try adding more fiber to their diet. But unless the dog is getting like weekly expressions it is not recommended to try some boutique dog food as this can create way more problems. Dogs are not wolves. They do not need exotic ingredients and they can definitely handle grain in moderation.

    #129633 Report Abuse
    joanne l

    Tell me about it I feel like pulling my hair out too. My dog started with anal gland issues since I put him on Purina. I switched him to Holistic Select grain in and he is fine, maybe there was something in Purina he is allergic to, but who knows. I just go by observation. My dog never had anal gland issues before so I knew it was Purina because after eating it for a month or so it started gradually and I didn’t catch on until it became worse so I figured it was the diet. Also my neighbors dog started having issues too and she is feed Purina, I know Purina does work for a lot of dogs but not mine or my neighbors dog.

    #133742 Report Abuse
    Stacey K

    Does you dog have an allergy to chicken? I have a wonderful food suggestion, but it does have chicken.

    #133743 Report Abuse
    Stacey K

    Oops “your”, not you.
    I respect every single persons opinion, but for those here using “anything” that you can buy on the shelves. If you’re open to it, please find a documentary on Netflix, called “Petfooled”. It’s incredible! It has an obvious bias in favor of feeding raw and is against most kibble, but not some. I sat down with a pen and pad of paper and took notes, so I could check my food with the issues that were a concern (such as processing temperature).
    Thank goodness ours checked out ok:)
    I love it so much, I became an Independant Sales Rep. and would love to share some samples with anyone that would like to hear more:)

    #133744 Report Abuse

    “Pet Fooled” Is propaganda from the homeopathic crowd.

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