Dog Anal glands … a very stinky problem with an easy and cost-effective solution.
Sure, it’s not the most pleasant subject, but it’s a really important part of your dog’s health. If the anal glands aren’t functioning correctly, they can cause discomfort and even infection.
I’d like to share with you an easy way to help express dog anal glands naturally.
First, ponder this…
If you decided to juice fast yourself for a week the last thing you’d expect is to have is solid poop. Yet when it comes to our dogs, many of us seem to think that we can feed them foods with a mushy puréed consistency and expect fairy dust and rainbow sprinkles to come out the other end.
To help the anal glands to function properly, dogs need to consume the right amounts of fiber. Sadly, due to a lack of good fiber in the average canine diet, many dogs have to have their anal glands expressed manually … meaning the vet or groomer squeezes them by hand to get the fluid out.
The Function Of Dog Anal Glands – Both Fascinating And Gross!
You know your dog marks his (or her – girls do it too!) territory with his pee, but did you know he also marks with his poop?
Dogs have two small glands on either side of the anus. These glands fill up with a fluid that has a scent exclusive to each dog. When your dog secretes this fluid during defecation, he spreads his unique signature through his poop.
Isn’t it remarkable that when dogs sniff each other’s backsides they are analyzing their equivalent to human passports!
Anal Gland Problems
When the anal glands don’t express naturally during defecation they become painful and produce a foul odor. This can lead to chronic infection and, in some extreme cases, conventional vets will surgically remove the glands.
If you see your dog scooting his butt on the ground, licking or biting at it, or sitting seems to be uncomfortable, he may have an anal gland problem.
The reason that diet plays such a big role in anal gland problems is that commercially processed foods and even some raw foods are too soft. When the diet contains the right fiber it promotes a good push with wide expansion of the anus during defecation, which in turn helps to express the anal glands.
Naturally Expressing The Anal Glands Through Diet
In 2010 I started working toward my ambitious goal of making the world’s greatest dog food. I wanted to give my Boxer, Augustine, the best chance at living a long and healthy life that far exceeds the Boxer average.
Once I’d produced a successful recipe that was benefiting Augustine and also turning dogs around from all sorts of ailments, people started to ask me about cruelty free options. They pressed me for short-term vegan diets for dogs who had intolerances to all meat proteins, or had conditions needing a much higher fiber diet.
So I got back in the test kitchen and formulated a fresh vegan recipe. Here’s where it gets interesting…
My Aha Moment
All science starts with an observation, which leads to a hypothesis and then on to trials. I fed this new vegan recipe to my dogs and made an interesting observation.
There’s no way to say the following without admitting that I’m a poop watcher. Let’s be honest – observing your best friend’s poop is a great way to get an indication of physical health.
I was astounded by how large Augustine’s poop was on the new vegan recipe. Even my little Maltese, Mishka’s poop looked like it came from a dog twice her size.
That’s when this enthusiastic poop watcher had an epiphany. I thought back to conversations about dogs who couldn’t express their anal glands through raw diets with bones and realized…
… it’s less about how hard a dog squeezes when pooping and more about how wide the anus expands.
This makes sense to me. Bones in the diet partially dissolve during the digestive process, creating those small firm poops raw feeders are so proud of! But sometimes these little poops are too small to expand the anus wide enough to naturally express the glands.
So… I made some calls and asked dog owners to try the vegan high-fiber recipe twice a week. It worked! The recipe got their dogs’ anal glands working properly.
An Easier Solution
I don’t expect everyone to make fresh vegan dog food for their dogs twice a week, so here’s an anus-expanding recipe for Fiber-Broth. This simple recipe produces firm rubbery poops that help expand the anus wide enough to get the job done.
Fiber-Broth also acts as a doggy colon cleanse. The extra bulk that the psyllium creates will stimulate better movement of the muscles in the walls of the intestines and help to push waste matter along.
Here’s how to make your own bone broth.
Bone broth and fresh coconut water are for extra nourishment, as well as flavoring to encourage your dog to eat the broth. If your dog will drink the broth with water that’s fine too.
Please read ALL the directions before feeding. It’s important to follow this recipe carefully as psyllium husk sucks moisture out of the digestive tract and can cause constipation if over-fed.
If the poops are still not large enough, you can very slowly and carefully increase the amount of psyllium husk.
Just to give you an idea of the difference the fiber broth can make to your dog’s poop size, take a look at this comparison between an adult Boxer’s poop (without fiber broth) and an adult Maltese’s poop with fiber broth. As you’ll see, the poops are almost the same size, even though the Maltese is a much smaller dog.
[Related: Homeopathy can also help with anal gland issues. Find out more here]
And there’s one more thing…
Supervise your dog during poop time while you’re feeding the fiber broth. This is gross, but some dogs may need help getting their poop out at first. You can do it by placing your hand in a clean poop bag and pulling the poop out. Your hands won’t get dirty so grit your teeth, hold your nose, and give your dog a hand if he needs it.
I wish your dog a happy pooping experience and please remember that food IS medicine and don’t let anyone tell you different!