🐱 NEW!

Introducing the Cat Food Advisor!

Independent, unbiased reviews without influence from pet food companies

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
  • Author
  • #79440 Report Abuse
    Trevor V

    Hey all,

    I’m new to the forum and I need some help. We’ve been feeding our dog (Schnauzer/Powderpuff Cross) Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost (Dry) for about a year now. She has some anal gland problems and our vet has recommended we change her food and that a food that is too high in protein may not be good for her. She has recommended Hills Ideal BAlance, Purina Pro Plan, or Royal Canin. They don’t sell any of these brands, so I don’t believe she’s recommending them for financial reasons. These foods all rate MUCH lower on your site than what we’re currently feeding her.

    Can anyone help me parse this out? 2 different vets have both said those 3 are all good foods and that our dog would do well on them but this site rates them all poorly. I don’t think that either this site or the vets are trying to mislead us so I’m confused as to what to do.

    #79441 Report Abuse

    The best thing that you can do for a dog that has a tendency to have impacted anal glands is to learn how to express them yourself. example http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+express+canine+anal+glands&FORM=VIRE7#view=detail&mid=76593F745A542FBF1DE476593F745A542FBF1DE4
    Have your vet tech/vet go over how often this needs to be done for your dog (once a week?)
    With the right diet, exercise and routine care, you may find the condition will clear up quite a bit and you may not have to express the anal glands as often…if at all after a while.
    Make sure she is drinking adequate water, maybe add a splash to her meals.

    Find a food that will give her firm stools, rather than mushy (less likely to get clogged in the anal glands) I would cooperate with your vet’s recommendation for food, but ask him if you can add something tasty 🙂 Also. some dogs have better stools on canned food, others do better on kibble. Buy small amounts of the recommended foods and see what works, sometimes it takes a week or two to see a difference.

    Did you try the search engine here? http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+express+canine+anal+glands&FORM=VIRE7#view=detail&mid=76593F745A542FBF1DE476593F745A542FBF1DE4

    I don’t necessarily agree with all the opinions posted.

    PS: I almost forgot, some good info here http://skeptvet.com/Blog/category/nutrition/ and here http://skeptvet.com/Blog/?s=prescription+foods
    Plus, feed only once or twice a day, don’t leave food down.

    #79444 Report Abuse

    I’ve never had to express my dogs’ anal glands. Neither my vet nor my groomer has ever recommended it either.

    One of my dogs has multiple food intolerance issues. It is frequently the case that when he begins reacting to something that he’s eating, his anal glands begin smelling strongly. A change to one of his “safe foods,” typically resolves the problem.

    Regardless of the brand, although I’m not a fan of any of those your vet mentioned, if you don’t identify the trigger, the problem will continue.

    It could be a food intolerance and it could also be a fiber issue. Have you tried adding additional fiber to see if that helps? Some easy choices for fiber are ground chia seed, plain canned pumpkin, ground psyllium, and even Metamucil.

    Interestingly, I find that my Golden does better with a more moderate level of protein (right around 30%) and a bit less fiber (around 4.5%). You might also find that your pup is getting too much fiber and its what’s causing the most stool.

    What is the fiber in the food you’re currently feeding?

    #79453 Report Abuse

    DogFoodie is absolutely correct. If you start expressing the anal glands manually, you are just setting up a lifetime of possible problems. I have a foster that has these issues occaisonally, so I supplement with some additional fiber in her diet. I use pure canned pumpkin. It has taken care of the problem for over a year.

    Here’s Dr. Peter Dobias’ link:


    #79455 Report Abuse

    Excerpts (out of context) from article below: http://www.vetmedclinic.com/?p=290
    click on link for full article.

    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.

    PS: Hope this helps, I don’t want to play “Dr Google”, obviously anyone can look up stuff and find articles that support their opinions, however, some articles are better than others, imo 🙂 See what your vet recommends.

    #79458 Report Abuse

    Oops! I think a posted a wrong link, regarding using the search engine at this site: /forums/search/anal+glands/

    This is the one where I meant to say I didn’t agree with all of the opinions expressed, not the youtube one.

    #79460 Report Abuse

    Hi Trevor V,

    I’m just curious, do you only feed one formula of the Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost? There are several different proteins. As DF said, it could be an intolerance to a particular protein, or possibly something in the food that is causing a soft stool, if that’s the case. Stools that are too soft and/or loose or too small and dry can cause the anal gland issue, which is why I suggested adding pumpkin. You can add any type of fiber, as long as it works. It is highly possible that NV Instinct just doesn’t work for your dog. Just an FYI, the three foods recommended by your vets are all made by the 3 most common vet formulas. Hillspet, Purina and Royal Canin. I’m not saying use or don’t use, but that’s probably why those brands were recommended by your vet(s). It’s likely that’s what they’re most familiar with. It’s up to you to decide what works for your dog.


    I’m not sure why you included the skeptvet links as neither of these links have any direct articles on anal gland issues. Your link on the “oops” comment leads to a search engine for DFA anal gland discussions rather than an actual discussion.

    It seems that you simply like to discredit any alternative or natural methods other than what you believe in. I’m not sure if the “Dr. Google” reference was to me, but if it was…….I have spent many years owning and fostering a lot of dogs with many different conditions, including CCL, liver and kidney disease, every type of worm and parasite, broken teeth, and a host of other medical problems, too many to list. I’ve also dealt with a lot of personal and foster dogs with social issues as well, involving a lot of time with trainers. I’ve used MANY vets, both for my dogs and whatever vets are used by the various rescues. I think there is value to both the traditional and alternative methods of treatment. I’ve used both and have found that both have flaws and both have value. I’ve had vets completely misdiagnose a dog or be spot on and I’ve had natural and/or alternative methods cure in a much less toxic way or not work. There is room for both.

    #79464 Report Abuse
    Jenn H

    From my experience adding fiber has been what works best.
    My choice is canned pumpkin.

    Interestingly enough the dogs that have needed it for anal glands are the ones that don’t hang out with the horses. The ones that do I know snack on their manure and/or dropped grain. So they get plenty of fiber!

    #79467 Report Abuse
    Trevor V

    Sorry all, my question wasn’t about what to do with her anal glands. The question was about how to figure out what to give her when this site recommends foods that 2 different vets don’t, and that the vets recommend 3 different foods that are rated poorly here.

    #79468 Report Abuse

    Most vets don’t have much training in nutrition. Unless yours is a veterinary nutritionist, I would take their food recommendations with a grain of salt. My vet typically only recommends raw diets.

    My recommendation is that you find a food that you like and is high quality and to which your dog doesn’t react. You also need to look at the fiber content and is if the anal glad issue is fiber responsive.

    #79470 Report Abuse

    I made the suggestions I did, because I found out based on my experience of taking care of dogs that had anal gland issues, that the food wasn’t always the problem. Just a small piece of it.
    I am hoping your veterinarian has the time to explain it in detail.
    I have also learned from experience, it is best to go along with the vet’s treatment and dietary recommendations, at least until the dog is stable. Then discuss changes you would like to make (if any) with him. In other words I would be inclined to trust a vet that has examined my dog, first.
    Most vets advise pet owners not to look up things on the internet, for obvious reasons.
    Best of luck

    #79471 Report Abuse

    Hi Trevor,

    As I stated earlier, what you decide to feed is totally your decision. If you have only used 1 formula of NV, you might try switching to a different protein. You could also find a grain free that is slightly lower in protein as DF suggested. NV Instinct carries limited ingredient diets that are lower in protein and are specific proteins, so if it is food intolerance, that could solve the issue.

    I found that when my dog had an allergic reaction to a specific protein and I switched to a different protein and added a small amount of fiber until the stools adjusted, the anal gland issue was resolved. She did see a vet and had a bad issue including an abcess. This happened quickly. It was a combination of allergic reaction to food and antibiotics, which created diarrhea, causing an anal gland problem.

    What you need is a food that gives her a solid, normal sized stool (barring any medical issue relating to the anal glands). That’s the reason some added fiber was also suggested. I hope this helps your dilemma.

    #79474 Report Abuse

    Come to think of it, my senior dog that has occasional anal gland issues does well on Wysong senior dry food, soaked in water overnight in the fridg. I have had him on canned, but a combo works best.

    Another small breed of mine who has allergies and has had a positive response to immunotherapy, does well on Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea dry as a base. Prior to her allergies being treated by a dermatologist, she had occasional anal gland issues. Issues appear to be resolved at present.

    So, when the dust settles, ask your vet if he thinks these foods might be worth trying 🙂

    PS: check Chewy .com for price comparison

    #79475 Report Abuse
    Amy W

    Hi! I joined this site in July after adopting our family’s first dog. Trevor, all of the choices and information is intimidating and overwhelming! I have learned a lot reading these forums, and neurotically changed my poor dog’s diet 3 times in the process! Just know that the very fact that you are researching your dog’s nutritional needs shows that you are a great dog owner and will not make a “bad” decision. Thanks to all of you whom from I quietly take tips😊

    #79476 Report Abuse

    The foods your vet recommended are all good, I might try the Royal Canin first, I have heard good things about it.

    I don’t read the ingredients too closely anymore…..you can get a headache that way.

    #79480 Report Abuse

    Red, maybe you should read the ingredients more closely, even if it gives you a headache.

    #79484 Report Abuse

    Hi Trevor V,

    This site evaluates diets based on ingredients and favors higher protein diets.

    Veterinary nutritionists usually would not use an ingredient list to evaluate a diet. Instead they focus more on the company and evaluate based on other criteria as most do not feel you can tell the quality of a diet by looking at an ingredient list. Criteria they use are things like: Does the company employ a veterinary nutritionist? What are the credentials of the person formulating the diet? does the company make it products or outsource production? Can the company answer nutritional inquires correctly? Does the company contribute to nutritional research? Does the company feed trial their diets? Will the company provide a nutritional analysis on request? Does the company test their foods for nutrients or just calculate what they think they are? What are the companies quality control measures?

    Because of the difference in focus the food will rate differently. When evaluated by the above criteria the companies that your vet recommended score highly and many 5 star foods would fail miserably.

    When choosing my dog’s food I use company criteria over ingredients. The food I feed rates 2.5 stars.

    #79486 Report Abuse

    Welcome to the forums! I’ve never expressed my dogs anal glands myself, never been told to do so. Amy W above said it correct: you’re here so it’s a good thing.
    I’m laughing at not reading ingredients due to causing a headache. JMO but the ingredients are the first thing to read. Regarding vets vs reviews: you don’t have to look at the reviews. Read articles here; that alone will allow you to choose a high quality food. Vets get very little nutritional education in veterinary school. Unless they are a nutritionist or holistic vet (or are interested in nutrition & learn just like we did), they don’t know a whole heck of alot.

    #79487 Report Abuse

    I can’t help but get the impression that many of the regulars at this site dislike veterinarians. I base this on all the negative remarks observed, plus blanket statements. Except of course, for the “homeopathic” vets that support their opinions.

    Ingredients are not accurate (imo), companies lie, they use different names for the same ingredients, even a chemist would not be able to figure it out! Therefore I trust my vet to guide me with dog food decisions, along with a little common sense 🙂

    After the second or third time I had to have a dog’s anal glands lanced (painful and expensive) I learned how to express them myself (supported by my vet), over 20 years ago. I never had an issue with any of them in that department again. Whatever works.

    PS: There is nothing wrong with having differing opinions….

    #79488 Report Abuse

    I dislike it when veterinarians tell me that what they sell is a good food yet cannot tell me why. Red, if you want to not bother reading ingredients due to a possible headache, have at it. I have typed up a few other sentences but deleted them but will say to people needing help: ingredients are important. There are reputable dog food companies out there; ask them. Find ones you trust. I personally would ignore people who don’t read them & “parrot” what SkeptVet says. JMO.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.