The smell of your dogs impacted anal galnds is one that most dog owners will never forget!!The issue of anal gland problems is a real and common one for some dog owners- and the connection between anal gland issues and sloppy poohs are problems that dog owners may come up against everyday. So today lets look at the common and also less well known reasons why those anal glands become a problem for your dog and some ways to help. So stay tuned for more.
Around 10% of dogs will have issues with their anal glands, in their lifetime.. Although anal glands are supposed to empty as your dog passes a poo, this doesn’t always happen. Over time the anal glands can fill up and can become inflamed, impacted and pretty painful. But firstly lets take a quick look at the function of these tiny glands. The anal glands main is to release pheromones, which helps your dog communicate with other dogs and other animals too. They are located on the lower sides of the anus, and produce a fluid with a scent that identifies your dog- this is why you will see dogs sniff each’ others backsides for that particular ‘scents’. When your dog passes a poo, the anal glands excrete fluid. In a healthy gland, this should be liquid and this contains I part those pheromones. However, if the glands become impacted, Scooting (dragging bottom on the floor), Licking or biting at the bottom area, and Difficulty sitting or standing and you might also notice a distinct and very unpleasant smell.
When we talk about anal glands, the top cause of impaction really comes back to the quality of your dogs poo. To fully express the anal glands, the poos need to be firm and your dog shouldn’t be straining to pass it. Basically you should be able to pick up the poo pretty easily. This firm poo helps to naturally express the glands as it passes through. If your dogs poos are loose, soft, watery or even too dry, the glands over time may not be getting properly expressed and so they can become impacted. Poor quality bowel movements whether Constipation or diarrhoea can produce poos that just sufficient to empty the anal sacs. To make sure your dogs bowel is healthy, aside from the appropriate diet, supporting healthy levels of digestive enzymes and other gastric juices from the liver and stomach are incredibly important for a healthy functioning bowel. There is also a link to both SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and yeast infections that may cause more frequent anal gland issue and this is most likely once again, due to a lack of enough good bacteria as these help keep the gut in optimal function, preventing bad bacteria and yeast overgrowth. In addition, checking for worms and parasites can be helpful in anal gland dysfunction so natural worming is also something to consider rather than relying on chemical products. In conjunction with the bowel, the liver and gallbladder are most closely connected to digestive function helping with the break down and absorption of fats. Your dogs liver needs to be working effectively for the digestive system to work efficiently and therefore, reduce the toxic load on the anal glands. Herbs like Milk thistle , Dandelion root and Globe artichoke are a great combination for liver and gall bladder health and to support the anal glands via the liver.
Now what about other reasons:
2. Stress; low grade stress or anxiety (commonly experienced by many dogs) can interfere with the function of your dogs gut, which can slow down digestion and the transit of food. Also if your dog has been under long term stress this can damage the gut flora and reduce the good levels of bacteria which can further slow down the digestive process and lead to anal gland issues. 3. General Immunity; if your dog suffers from food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities this is connected to both and over and under functioning immune system. Food allergies and intolerances commonly affect your dogs digestive system including the anal glands (as the end section of the very long digestive tract) so addressing this by healing leaky gut, removing offending foods such as gluten, certain proteins, dairy etc, healing leaky gut, reducing inflammation- this can help rebuild the immune system, improve the digestive and the health of those tiny anal glands.
4. Neurological connections- there are many nutrients that are essential for the nervous system and this is a complex system. One key mineral is magnesium, essential for neurological function and in particular the large vagus nerve that connects what is known as the the gut-brain axis. If your dog is lacking in magnesium, this can cause a slow ‘peristaltic’ movement within the bowel (this is the contraction of the intestinal tract that pushes food through. If this peristalsis is slow, then the slow passage of food means that it takes longer to move through the digestive tract, leading to creating constipation and impaired emptying of the anal gland fluid. 5.Hormones; low oestrogen levels in your dog can lead to chronic constipation in certain sensitive female given that most dogs have been desexed and the level of this hormone automatically drops after surgery. Seeing as many dogs (bitches) are neutered this can pose a problem. Both oestrogen and progesterone affect how well your dogs intestines work as there are hormone receptors actually in the gut. This can lead to constipation in some dogs and hence, anal gland problems. IN addition in both male and female dogs, Low thyroid hormones can slow down digestion and cause constipation also which of course can impact emptying of the sacs. Helping to support hormones can indirectly effect the digestive system and anal sac emptying.
So as you can see, there are a number of reasons why your dog might be having recurring or ongoing anal gland issues. Focusing on improving your dogs gut health, feeding a natural raw diet including raw bones, reducing stress levels, adding in magnesium and other anti stress nutrients and supporting hormone levels naturally though the use of herbs and other nutrients can all improve the overall health and function of the anal glands if this is something that is affecting your dog. And if you have a dog that does suffer from anal gland problems and you need some help then please feel free to reach out to me to advise or a consultation- I am open for bookings. I hope you enjoyed this short video guys if you did then please like and share it and subscribe for more videos!