- Global Canine Communication, The World's First Public Website Launched 1998




Diagnosing canine disease starts with "Is it contagious, acquired, or hereditary?"  This section helps you help your veterinarian diagnose and treat your dog.






by Barbara J. Andrews, Publisher and SAAB Member


A dog owner asked what to do about problems with her dog’s anal glands. She said vet bills to have the odious sac expressed are draining her.


Some veterinarians will show the owner how to empty the anal gland sac but it is a job that can get messy. The first question for most readers is what are canine anal glands? Their dog may have a problem they don’t even know about.


Let’s start with symptoms of impacted anal glands and then we’ll offer a simple, sensible solution.


First, what are anal glands? Technically it is not a gland as it serves no glandular function. There are two pouch-like sacs, one on each side of the rectum. They contain an oily secretion that carries a lot of doggy signals. That is what dogs are sniffing when they meet. It is a weird form of hello but for canines, it transmits a huge amount of information as to health, diet (is he eating better than me?) and who knows what else?


Symptoms of anal gland problems are often transient and resolved by nature and/or a better diet. We’ll get to diet but first let’s discuss the potential problems those glands can cause.


When the oil gets too dry and the little sacs get "stopped up" it is very uncomfortable for the dog. He can’t reach his butt to chew or scratch it so he scoots. More on that below but first, understand that instinctively he wants to be able to send a clear signal of health and vitality when he meets another dog.


An impacted anal gland (sack) is a threat to his health and well-being. Dogs need that oily substance secreted by the gland. It helps lubricate the anal opening when he has the occasional dry stool and in the natural world, that helps to pass bits of bone.


Signs your dog will indicate if their anal glands are impacted.


Unable to reach the irritation, the dog will scoot his bottom on the floor. He prefers a carpet which has better traction, and of course, a white one is always best… Sorry, that wasn’t funny and impacted anal glands are no laughing matter. His butt itches and he can’t reach it. He may look funny scooching his buttocks on the carpet BUT if he does it frequently, lick persistently at his anus, or has an unpleasant odor even though he appears clean and well-groomed, is a red flag to you the owner.


Don't ignore any "rotten" odor in your dog. Check both ends! It could be a badly infected tooth instead of an anal gland problem. Dragging his butt on the floor is a sure sign it is the anal gland secretion you smell. His attempts to relieve the itch or irritation may succeed but if he does it often, he needs help with that anal sac.


So how to treat anal gland disease? Hopefully the impacted gland will be a temporary problem that can be easily corrected. If allowed to continue however, it can become much more serious. You can help him or you can get him to the veterinarian ASAP, before his rubbing causes open sores.


Equally important, you can prevent clogged-impacted-infected anal glands by feeding the diet carnivores are meant to eat. If he has an impacted anal gland now (he has two sacs) it is likely to reoccur. You can help prevent the sac from being stopped up by switching his diet. Some veterinarians or vet sites will tell you this but don't count on it. Clogged anal glands are easy money for an unscrupulous veterinary practice and especially when it requires surgery…


Food choices are pretty easy and if he gets what nature intended, the anal gland cleans itself as the food passes by it in the process of elimination. The possible exception is elderly dogs who, in the wild, would have not lived as long as your well-cared for dog. Some veterinarians recommend a soft diet (canned stuff they sell) when meat, bones, and veggies are what he needs.


So keep the canned or dry kibble just for travel or when you run short of the natural doggy diet. There’s an entire Nutrition section in and for the pros, Dog Food Section in But in a nutshell here is what I’ve done for over 55 years: I give raw beef bones and raw chicken wings, fresh fruits and cooked veggies, all of which helps clean the lower intestine. Your dog would seek and eat the fruit and certain grasses in the wild and carnivore though he is, he would obtain vegetation from the stomach of his prey. He would never-ever eat corn or wheat…


Introduce some raw veggies which provide “roughage” as well as essential nutrients in a natural bioavailable form. You will note that some of the raw vegetable matter is not well assimilated but it helps get the “job” done.


And be sure to see why ii Dogs Eat Grass (Instant Information) which includes video by a licensed veterinarian. EST 1998 © 2002



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