I had my Cavalier on ANP Naturals Grain Free Fish and Potato about 2 years ago through the winter. He was on this formula for about 6 months and in the Spring he developed an abscess on his anal gland. That particular winter we had a ton of snow, so I didn’t notice if his stools were getting loose. Now I’m afraid to try another grain-free food because I’m afraid this will happen again. It was an expensive procedure to have it taken care of. Has anyone ever had any type of issue with grain-free foods? Or maybe it was just this particular formula? He is allergic to chicken so he is currently on Canidae Lamb and Rice and seems to be doing well, however I’d like to try a food rotation with him and have heard some believe Grain-Free Formulas are better for toy breeds.
That is interesting!!! Actually one of my dog did much better with grain free food and no longer have issues with gas and anal gland (Thank God!). If it helps, I feed my dogs Earthborn Holistic and have been very very pleased with the results. My other lab has digestive issues and is thriving well on Earthborn as well.
Hopefully someone else can give you better insight than me. I know Hound Dog Mom would be a good person talk to….she is very informative! She is always on this forum so look her up! Good luck with your dog!
Aw, thanks stampede! 🙂
Hi Cavalierluvr –
There are a few things that can cause anal gland issues. First of all small breed dogs and toy breed dogs are more susceptible to anal gland trouble in the first place – it’s very uncommon for large breed dogs to experience anal gland troubles, although it’s definitely possible. If you have a vet or groomer that frequently expresses your dog’s anal glands when there is no problem, it can lead to problems. The dog becomes dependent on the vet or groomer expressing their anal glands and loses muscle tone and the glands become unable to express themselves on their own. Another reason your dog may develop anal gland issues is if your dog has had diarrhea or loose stools for an extended period of time. Whenever you switch foods you should monitor your dog’s stools. Some mild loose stools during the initial switch are normal, but it shouldn’t persist for more than a few days. It’s common for dogs that have eaten the same food for a long period of time to get loose stools when switching to a new food – especially if the change is drastic, such as switching from a grain-inclusive food to a grain-free food. When you’re transitioning to a new food it’s a good idea to add a spoonful of pumpkin (plain) or a sprinkling of psyllium to each meal – both are high in fiber and will help to control loose stools by soaking up excess water in the colon. I would also recommend using a high quality multi-strain probiotic supplement and a digestive enzyme supplement during the transition – the probiotics will help to normalize the balance of bacteria in the gut and the enzymes will aid in digestion. It will take at least two weeks to know whether or not a new food is working for your dog but in some cases a food just doesn’t work and it may be necessary to try another food. Just because one grain-free food doesn’t work out, however, doesn’t mean that no grain-free foods will.
Wow…thank you both. I have been thinking of trying either Earthborn Holistic or Taste of the Wild as they are a little more in my budget range. I do a slow transition (usually close to 10 days) whenever I’ve tried a new food….and the transition has always gone well. Jasper is almost 4 and had mostly been on a Chicken based diet. He was on Fromm Gold for a while and Canidae Chicken when it got to the point he was eating grass and throwing up almost daily. I have used pumpkin on him but he’s not a big fan of it, unless I offer only a really small amount. I have tried InClover OptaGest Digestive Aid but that didn’t seem to make much of a difference over time. He is currently on the Lamb formula and seems to be doing ok, but he still seems to scratch his ears or shake his head, not constantly, but enough that I wonder if it is the grain in his food. I do think you may be right HoundDogMom that not all grain-free foods will be the same for him. And once the weather breaks I’ll have to try the new food where I can really monitor him to make sure stools are fine. Maybe it was just a fluke the abscess happened. He only goes to a groomer 3-4 times a year and I did ask her to pay close attention to that. My sister has a Maltipoo and his glands always seem to be swollen…I would not say that is the case with Jasper. He’s a larger Cavalier and I would really not consider him a toy dog!
If you’re debating between Earthborn and Taste of the Wild I’d suggest Earthborn. They’re both about the same price and have similar ingredients but Earthborn is manufactured by a much more reputable company (TOTW is made by Diamond). Also, check with your retailer to see if they have a frequent buyers program – my retailer has a buy 9 bags get the 10th free for Earthborn.
I thought TOTW was part of the last recall. And yes, my retailer also has that offer…although at the rate I’m going it will take me forever to get there! I occasionally see coupons for Earthborn too, so that always helps! Thanks for the great info!!
Taste of the Wild is a Diamond product, so they were indeed part of the Diamond recall last spring. Not all of their foods were affected, as only one plant (I believe their South Carolina one) had an outbreak, but things like that have been happening with Diamond for a long time now. So I’d move away from them.
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