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Animal Doctor Articles Weekly on September 24, 2012

Question

I have a question about my two dogs. I have a Havanese and a Chihuahua. Both are very healthy, get regular exercise and have no abnormal bathroom issues. But I need to have their anal glands expressed often -- at $22 each every time. I don't have the stomach to express the glands myself.

I feed them an organic raw diet (usually chicken), and they get wheat-free treats (wheat treats appear to make them itch) and Bully Sticks.

Is there anything I should add to their diet? My neighbors don't have this issue with their dogs. I haven't had issues in the past with any of our other pets.

D.S., Naples, FL Sep 24, 2012

Answer

Two dogs with anal gland problems is a handful! Normally, the anal sacs empty out when the dog defecates, leaving a scent mark on the feces. With low-density/low-fiber dog foods, you can get smaller stools that may not provide sufficient pressure to stimulate the anal gland sacs to contract.

Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of psyllium husks moistened with water and a teaspoon of olive oil to your dogs' food every day; this should increase the bulk of the stools, which may help. Repeated manual emptying may cause more inflammation if not done gently.

If the anal glands are simply hyperactive, irrigation with antibiotics and steroids may help. But in many instances, there is an underlying food allergy or hypersensitivity. So you may need to experiment with different diets -- canned, raw and dry.

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