My dog struggles with anal gland issues, what should I do/feed?

Anal glands consist of two small sacs bordering the anus, under the skin. They release smelly liquid when your dog defecates, which is one way for dogs to mark their territory.

But when anal glands don’t express normally—which is more common in smaller breed dogs that need regular grooming, overweight dogs, and dogs with allergies—the glands become full and uncomfortable.

Then your pup may scoot their bum on the floor or try to lick their backside.

If severely backed up, the anal sacs can become impacted and infected, and even rupture. This requires flushing and cleaning under sedation, medications, and a “cone of shame” to allow the affected gland(s) to heal.

Here are a few ways to prevent anal gland issues and keep your pup comfortable…

  • Get anal gland expressions as often as your pup needs them.

This is a simple, quick procedure (similar to taking your pup in for a toenail trim) in which the glands are gently “squeezed” until they are empty.

Some dogs need expressions more often than others. This can be done by a veterinarian or veterinary technician.

It’s not recommended to try this procedure at home unless you’ve been thoroughly trained. Incorrect expression can cause pain or injury, and may make the problem worse.

  • Add fiber to your pup’s diet.

Fiber aids in stool formulation and regularity—which helps anal glands empty naturally.

Fiber can be added to the diet via high fiber dog foods or dietary supplements.

  • Increase water intake with wet food or a pet water fountain, to aid with bowel regularity.
  • Add prebiotics and probiotics formulated for pets, for digestive health.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Overweight pups are more prone to anal gland issues, whereas healthy-weight pets who exercise regularly are more likely to express their glands normally.

  • Consider surgical removal if your pet’s anal glands frequently cause discomfort and interfere with quality of life.

This is a permanent fix, but usually reserved for the most severe cases due to the risk of incontinence.


Some things to consider when selecting a Fromm food:

All Fromm recipes contain pre- and probiotics for digestive health.

Also, we offer higher fiber diets (such as our Weight Management recipes), and plenty of tasty wet food options to boost water intake.

You may also find our Fromm Nutritionals useful—they’re a dietary supplement with a special fiber blend to promote digestive regularity.