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Anal Gland Problems in Dogs

Barkin Bistro Anal Glands Min

Not the nicest subject to discuss folks, but here at BarkinBistro we do get asked this question regularly and in this article, we will explain what to do if your pup has problems in this department and how to avoid them in the first place!

Your pup should be able to express his own anal glands naturally and most dogs do, but occasionally you may notice a bad smell and it is not difficult to help your pup express their own anal glands.

What are anal glands in dogs?

Anal glands are not actually glands, but small sacs that contain oil and sweat glands and have two vessels of stinky, foul-smelling liquid. Anal glands help your pup to mark his territory which is very important and there are two very small glands that can empty when your pup poops or is stressed. This is their way of communication! Think about how often your pup bounds up to another dog and the first thing they do is sniff each other’s bottoms!! We as humans think this is revolting behavior, but it is essential for your pup to check out a strange dog and the smells he finds, plus mark where he has been.

Your pup’s anal glands are located on either side of his anus and they have two functions. They are very small and sit at 4 and 8 o’clock just inside your pup’s anus

  • First of all to produce a very strong scent for marking their territory and also to find their way back home.
  • Secondly, to help the body remove toxins.

Can a dog express their own anal glands?

Your pup should be able to express his own anal glands without intervention but conventional vets often recommend a kibble diet and this produces mushy poop which doesn’t allow the glands to empty. A higher fiber diet may help to firm up mushy poop but a fresh, raw diet is a much more effective way of allowing your pup to express their glands more naturally.

What are the symptoms of blocked anal glands?

As dog food has changed so dramatically in the few decades, there is an approximate rise of 12% of dogs suffering from anal gland issues and we believe this is down to diet folks. The signs your pup may be suffering from symptoms are:

  • Scooting and dragging their bottoms on the floor
  • Sitting uncomfortably
  • Chasing or biting their tail
  • Licking and biting at their rear end

As long as the sacs in the anal gland are open, your pup should be able to express them naturally. If the liquid becomes too thick, this is when problems may occur and your pup may suffer a blockage that can become a serious problem.

What causes blocked anal glands?

We believe that the main culprits are poor diet, chemicals, and drugs. The body will be trying to eliminate these toxins through the skin, liver, and even anal glands.

Diet is the biggest culprit as commercial kibble is processed and whether it is wet or dry, it is not a natural food for your pup to eat. Highly heated and full of ingredients we believe to be harmful to our beloved pets. When fed a fresh, raw diet your pup is able to push the food through the anus and we rarely see dogs on a fresh raw diet suffering from anal gland problems.

We have heard that some conventional vets suggest removing anal glands which in our opinion is the worst thing you could possibly do as it may cause permanent damage to the anal sphincter and may prevent the body from cleansing itself. Remember folks, each part of the body is there for a reason-nature is clever!

Here at Barkin Bistro, we recommend that you feed a diet that contains bone content on a regular basis. This helps your pup to naturally express his anal glands and helps create small firm poops. We have some fresh raw diets that have bone content added and approximately 10% bone works for most pups. We also have foods with the addition of vegetables and fruit which add necessary fiber and volume to poops, also helping considerably. Think ‘variation’ in your pup’s diet on a weekly basis and it is unlikely that your pup will have a problem with anal glands.

Should my dog’s anal glands be expressed manually?

We believe the answer to this question is ‘No’ and that the more they are expressed manually, either by a vet or groomer, the more this will need to happen. The glands can become ‘lazy’ over time and get used to being expressed plus repeated squeezing and pinching of the glands may cause inflammation, swelling, and damage. It may also interfere with the natural behavior your pup has to be able to express his anal glands.

Only intervene if your pup has any of the above symptoms of blocked anal glands.

Are there any supplements I can give my dog to help?

We have a great range of supplements that can help your pup with anal gland issues. We also recommend trying a small amount of organic psyllium husk sprinkled into their food. This helps as natural fiber in the diet and can be very effective quickly.

Stoolrite is an excellent choice for pups with anal gland issues too as it acts as an anti-inflammatory in the gut and is also rich in soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, helping to improve gut function and ultimately stool quality. Find it here.

Soil Based Pro and Prebiotics can be effective and help with any gut issues too and Four Leaf Rover-Protect is a great product. Find It here.


The conclusion here folks is to feed the right fresh raw diet to your pup, we have a large range of foods to choose from. Make sure you give plenty of exercise too as it helps stimulate the bowel to have more movements, so your pup poops more often. Prevention is the key here.

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