Best Foods & Remedies to Help Dog Express Glands

Written by: Dr. Steve Sanderlin, Holistic Veterinarian, DVM

What Are the Best Foods & Supplements for a Dog with Anal Gland Issues?


I have a small poodle mix who just turned 3. Her anal glands have become such a problem I have to take her to the vet every 3 weeks to get them expressed. The vet says that food is not an issue, but I have seen articles that say it is. What are the best foods & supplements for a dog with anal gland issues? 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 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 can be a major factor in anal gland problems, and some simple guidelines about a healthy diet for dogs and cats can go a long way. Fresh food may help support proper anal gland function. Raw is best, followed by home-cooked, then cold-pressed dog food, dehydrated or freeze-dried dog food, then HIGH QUALITY canned and dry kibble. The most important thing is the quality; high quality natural dog food is essential.

Adding freshly ground or lightly steamed vegetables to the diet may also be helpful for anal gland problems to help bulk up the stool.

In addition, animals can benefit from an essential fatty acid supplement to support a healthy inflammation response, support the immune system and maintain the gastrointestinal system.

Lack of exercise and constipation may also contribute to anal gland problems. Overweight animals are more prone to anal gland problems.

Proper exercise helps support proper digestion and bowel health. Animals that are not allowed outdoors often enough tend to hold their urine and stools for too long, which may cause 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 asking a responsible neighbor to help get their companions out of the house during the day.

Additional Resources

Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.