I have a small poodle mix who just turned 3. Her anal sacs have become such a problem
I have to take her to the vet every 3 weeks to get them squeezed. The vet says that
food is not an issue, but I have seen articles that say it is. What food or remedies
should I use to help this problem? The vet mentioned surgery, but I would like to
avoid that if at all possible.
Anal sacs, or glands, are a pair of small scent glands on either side of a dog's
anus just under the tail. They contain a very strong-smelling fluid that is said
to be used for marking territory. In domestic dogs these glands can become impacted,
where the gland becomes too full, or abscesses involving an infection in the gland.
Dogs with impacted anal glands will often "scoot" across the floor in an attempt
to relieve the pressure.
Diet is often a major factor in anal gland problems. Please read our article, "What
You Need to Know About Your Pet's Food," for some guidelines about a healthy
diet. Basically, the fresher the food the better. Raw is best, then home-cooked,
then dehydrated or freeze-dried, then HIGH QUALITY canned, and lastly dry kibble
- again, high quality is essential. Adding freshly ground or lightly steamed vegetables
to the diet can be helpful for anal gland problems to help bulk up the stool.
Any of the foods from
Natural Balance or most any of the others that we carry would be good choices
for your poodle mix.
Digestive enzymes and
probiotics can also be helpful for reducing anal gland issues. Most holistic
veterinarians recommend using digestive enzymes whenever feeding processed (dry
kibble or canned) or cooked food. In addition, I recommend an
essential fatty acid supplement to help reduce inflammation, aid the immune
system and keep the gastrointestinal system and skin healthy.
Exercise and constipation also contribute to anal gland problems. Overweight
animals are more prone to anal gland problems. Proper exercise helps stimulate the
digestive system and bowels and improves health in so many ways. Animals that are
not allowed outdoors often enough tend to hold their urine and stools for too long,
causing both emotional and physical stress. For those guardians who are gone to
work all day with no way to return mid-day, I always recommend finding a dog-walking
service or hiring a young neighbor to get their companions out of the house during