If you are looking for dog anal gland home remedies, most likely you have been seeing your dog scooting across the carpet. As much as watching a dog scoot across the floor may be a funny sight, that awful fishy smell following the act when the dog is successful in emptying the glands, may be far from being funny. Problems start though when dogs have difficulty emptying their glands and the area becomes inflamed and swollen. Understanding how dog anal glands work and what makes them work properly is important so that you can gain a better insight into treatment options.
Dog anal glands are found at the 4 o’clock at 8′ o’ clock position around the dog’s rectum. They are not visible to the eye, but they may be felt in the area if palpated. Their main function is to provide dogs with a unique scent which is used for scent marking and release of alarm pheromones.
It is not surprising now to understand why when two dogs meet, the first thing they do is to sniff each other’s behind! Lots of information back there, so much so that sniffing under the tail has been compared to hand shaking in humans, or even better, trading business cards!
Anal glands contain a secretion which is excreted when the dog defecates. To be more exact, firm bowel movements are what it takes to cause anal glands to successfully empty as the stools pass through. However, not all dogs are fortunate enough to empty their glands successfully when they defecate, and this in part may be due to domestication and the diets and stress our dogs are put through.
Some dogs may suffer from soft stools or diarrhea, and therefore, their stools may not be firm enough to cause the glands to empty. However, some others are simply prone to this problem regardless of how they defecate due to predisposing factors such as conformation, obesity and allergies. A dog with an anal gland problem will feel uncomfortable as the anal glands become full, and may therefore, scoot, insistently lick his bottom, have trouble sitting and sometimes even chase his tail.
There are several home remedies for anal gland problems in dogs that you can try at home. As seen, one important step is to firm up those stools so that dogs can successfully empty the glands. This can be accomplished through dietary changes or supplements. And if you are courageous enough, perhaps you may even try to learn to empty those gland on your own on an as needed basis.
If your dog though develops an anal gland infection, you are better off seeing your vet. Your dog may need a course of antibiotics to keep the infection at bay. A prescription for steroids or non-inflammatory drugs may also be added to reduce the swelling and associated pain.
In the case of impacted or abscessed anal glands, some dogs may also need to have the anal glands flushed and packed with antibiotics under anesthesia.
Another good reason to see the vet is to rule out other possible causes. There are other causes of scooting in dogs such as perianal fistulas, allergies, hot spots, mats under the tail, parasites and in some cases even tumors. For this very reason, when a dog starts scooting it is best to have the vet examine him/her so to rule out these other causes and then ultimately, provide the very deserved relief.
Fiber in Dog Food
Dogs with anal gland problems may benefit from a high fiber diet. Ask your vet for a recommendation, or look at pet food labels. Generally, weight control diets are very high in fiber while being low in calories. As with every new dog food, remember to introduce it gradually over the course of one week by adding the new food slowly to the old to prevent stomach upset. On top of dog foods with fiber, there are several natural dog anal gland supplements available over the counter.
The Power of Pumpkin
A favorite source of fiber is pumpkin. Some plain canned pumpkin, (not the pie filling which has spices in it) added to the dog’s food daily can be beneficial. The fiber content in pumpkin may help bulk up the stools so to make them of the ideal consistency that will help the anal glands empty naturally as they pass. The fiber may also help soften the dog’s stool so that it is less painful to pass.
How much pumpkin should you give to your dog? It ultimately depends on your dog’s weight. Veterinarian Dr. Jean Dodds suggests working up to 1 tablespoon a day for smaller dogs and 2 tablespoons a day for the larger ones. Dr. Dodds points out that it is important to start with small amounts, gradually building up to the suggested dose so to help the bacteria in the dog’s digestive tract to adjust to the increased fiber.
Soothing Warm Compresses
Some temporary relief may be provided by applying warm compresses to the inflamed area. You can warm up a cup of water and then add a little of antibacterial soap such as Hibitane or chlorhexidene soap to it, mixing it well. You can then soak a washcloth in the mixture, wring it out and apply to the swollen area for 10 minutes, rewarming every 2 minutes or so, suggests veterinarian Dr. Fiona After you are done, pat the area dry. This can be repeated about 3 to 4 times a day. Caution is needed with dogs who are in pain and not collaborative.
Emptying the Glands
Relief from filled up anal glands is fortunately easy, all it takes is to manually empty the glands. The most effective way is to digitally insert a gloved finger in the rectum and squeeze the glands until they are empty. This is best if done by a veterinarian, however if you are interested and willing to try doing this at home, your vet or vet tech may give you a demonstration.
However, if you are attempting to empty your dog’s glands at home, consider that at times the secretions may be pasty and the glands may be difficult to excrete. Care must be used to prevent matters from getting worse. If difficulties are encountered, it is best to leave this practice to the pros. Be warned: protection is important, as it is not uncommon for squirts to leave terribly odorous marks on cloths and even walls.
What has worked best for your dog’s anal gland problems? Please comment below what helped so you can help other dog owners in need.
*Disclaimer: All remedies suggested are not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your pet is sick please refer to your veterinarian for a hands on examination. If your pet is exhibiting behavior problems please refer to a professional pet behaviorist.