Between 5-12% of dogs suffer with anal sac issues at least once in their lives. The typical sign owners expect is to see their pooch scooting their bum, but sometimes your dog may jump up and bite at their bum or start excessively licking their bum, which can indicate they’re having some problems with their anal glands.
While there are a variety of possible causes for anal gland problems in our canine companions, one problem that we can help with is by adding fiber to their diet. The goal of many anal gland supplements that are commercially available is to promote digestive health, and some even aim to reduce inflammation. They do this through the addition of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and both prebiotics and probiotics.
Should I give my dog an Anal Gland supplement?
If your dog suffers from typical signs of anal gland issues such as excessively licking their bum, or straining during defecation, or if you see signs of infection or swelling around their bum, then you may need to consider an anal gland supplement. You should also consider an anal gland supplement if your dog has recently had diarrhea and is suffering from some anal gland issues as a result of this.
In the first instance, you should contact your veterinarian if your pup is showing any signs of infection or anal sac impaction, then once your dog has received a clean bill of health, then you can select the best supplement for your dog.
How to pick the best Anal Gland Supplement for my Dog?
Selecting the best anal gland supplement for your dog can be a daunting task, you want to pick the best you can afford for your pooch, and that’s stressful. Luckily, this article is designed to help you make the best choice for you and your dog.
Anal gland nutritional supplements are lacking in a lot of scientific data, however, they tend to provide some extra fiber for your dog’s diet coupled with antioxidants and probiotics to help support a healthy gastrointestinal system:
- You want to pick a supplement with plenty of soluble fiber, such as pumpkin, which is great for normalizing bowel function.
- Anal gland supplements that contain pre and pro-biotics are also great for supporting your dog’s GI function.
- Palatability is another essential factor to consider. There’s no point in having a supplement that you pooch absolutely refuses to eat.
How do Anal Gland Supplements work?
Don’t be fooled by the hype surrounding a lot of products that claim to treat impacted anal glands – because they don’t!! If your dog has an impacted or infected anal gland that’s painful, then you need to contact your veterinarian in the first instance. Then choose a supplement to help prevent recurrence, though it’s not always this simple as allergies, diet, and other factors play a role in your dog’s anal gland health.
Fiber is essential for these supplements to work, so pick one that’s high in this nutrient, for example, psyllium husk or pumpkin. After that, you can select based on the vitamin and fatty acid profile; products containing vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for our pooch pals but don’t expect them to act in a targeted fashion – remember they are contained in tiny amounts and will be absorbed into your dog’s whole system.
Ideally, you should get all your dogs vitamin and mineral needs from their balanced diet. Another consideration is the presence of pro and prebiotics in these supplements, just because they contain them doesn’t necessarily mean they’re present in nutritionally helpful amounts.
After you’ve selected what works for your dog in terms of the nutritional profile of the supplementary product, you should consider the taste and smell. Most come in palatable flavors, but there’s no point in purchasing one that is chicken-flavored if your pooch isn’t a fan of (or is allergic to) chicken.
Next up is how much you need to give and how the supplement is given to your pooch. Some products come in liquid powders, tablets/capsules, or chews that you can either feed your dog or add to their food/water each day.
If you’re selecting powders or liquid, then it’s probably better to select one that you apply to your dog’s food as some will be wasted if it’s a water-based product and your dog doesn’t drink all of the water it’s dissolved within each day.
If your dog is picky, then you might want to choose a chew in their favorite flavored treat or consider a liquid or powder that you can sprinkle on their food to hopefully entice them to have a better apdogite but this isn’t a guarantee. The most popular tends to be chews due to their ease of administration, as many dogs view them as a treat.
You should also consider how much you need to give your pooch, some larger pups may need 3-4 chews per day, so you should consider that when calculating how long each bottle will last. Equally, if your dog is a pint-sized pooch then they may only need half a tablet or a pinch of powder, so you want to select a product with resealable packaging to maintain freshness and prevent rancidity.
Our 2024 Review For the 7 Best Anal Gland Supplements
We’ve trawled the internet to find you the best supplements to help support your dog’s gastrointestinal health and ultimately reduce or eliminate their anal gland issues. Read on for more information.
Vetnique Labs Glandex Advanced Strength Anal Gland Dog Supplement
- A staple supplement in the anal gland support market, Vetnique is a product I use for my own dog when she needs a little extra support after a bout of diarrhea. Containing a proprietary blend of fiber with probiotics and prebiotics, this product supports a firmer bowel movement and a healthy gut.
- 3 billion colony-forming units of Glandex probiotic blend support your dog’s beneficial gut bacteria while the MegaFiber proprietary blend of 6 fiber sources helps to promote more efficient digestion and allows your dog to pass healthy stools more easily, reducing constipation and diarrhea.
- Not the cheapest product on the market, Glandex is my preferred choice, but other products on this list may suit another dog better. Zesty Paws is a favorite of some of my patients, possibly due to it’s delicious chicken flavor, but it’s also beneficial for their gut bacteria and improved stool quality.
VetClassics No Scoot Anal Gland Function Support Soft Chews Dog Supplement
- This No Scoot formulation contains flaxseed, pumpkin, and psyllium husk to improve your dog’s digestion and the quality of their poops to help the natural expression of their anal glands.
- Fiber is provided through the presence of a proprietary blend of psyllium husk, pumpkin, and flaxseed, while vitamins and omega fatty acids are present in salmon oil and mixed tocopherols.
- VetClassics is a USA-based company, and its products are commonly recommended by veterinarians.
- This unflavored supplement comes in a chewable tablet formulation, which some owners report is dry and not suitable for all dogs while Glandex comes in a range of flavored chews or a powder to sprinkle on your dog’s food. The fiber source is also different with Glandex having a proprietary blend containing cellulose and apple pectin. Both products are comparable in price on Chewy.com.
Zesty Paws Scoot Away Bites Chicken Flavored Soft Chews Digestive Supplement for Dogs
- Zesty Paws is another popular brand on the supplement market, and they contain fiber, prebiotics, and vitamin E in this product.
- Complete with isomalto-oligosaccharide (VitaFiber) as a prebiotic for intestinal support, Zesty Paws contains a blend containing dandelion root, nettle root for fiber, and bromelain enzyme that aids in protein digestion.
- Compared with VetClassics No Scoot, this product contains mineral oil, which some dog owners shy away from, and contains arguably less fiber than VetClassics. The chicken flavor chew is a hit with many dogs in comparison to the drier tablets of VetClassics No Scoot.
- This product contains a proprietary blend of apple, pumpkin seed, and sweet potato for fiber alongside probiotics.
- Gland-Ease is an often recommended product by veterinarians for dogs with anal gland issues. Designed for long-term regular use, this product is beneficial for dogs with chronic anal gland problems.
- Gland-Ease contains 1 billion colony-forming units of probiotics per chew while Glandex Advanced Strength formulation contains 3 billion colony-forming units per chew, which may provide better support to your dog’s intestinal system.
NaturVet Scoopables No Scoot Anal Gland Support Dog Supplement
- Containing a blend of fiber sources, Scoopables are suitable for pups over 12 weeks of age.
- Pumpkin, flaxseed, psyllium husk, and dandelion root all provide fiber for your dog to produce healthy, firm stools.
- A USA-based company, Scoopables, doesn’t contain any pre or probiotics in comparison to Glandex Advanced Strength or Gland-Ease products though a vet strength formula is available that contains probiotics and enzymes though this isn’t specifically formulated for anal gland support.
dogHonesty Scoot Stopper Chicken Flavored Soft Chews Digestive Dog Supplement
- Containing pumpkin seed powder, sweet potato, dandelion root, and miscanthus grass, Scoot Stopper promotes the natural emptying of dog’s anal glands.
- Scoot Stopper also contains a unique formulation of probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes to support digestive health and bowel movements.
- In comparison with Gland-Ease, which contains 1 billion CFU of probiotics, Scoot Stopper contains double this at 2 billion CFU per serving however, Glandex contains even more at 3 billion CFU per chew.
VetriScience Express Ease Soft Chews Digestive Supplement for Dogs
- Containing a proprietary pumpkin blend, Express Ease also contains larch tree extract and digestion-resistant maltodextrin for fiber designed to maintain appropriate fecal volume, bowel function, and regularity.
- The chewable stick formulation can be fed daily, and coupled with a highly palatable duck flavor, this supplement can easily be given as a reward or treat for any dog.
- Express Ease contains a range of fibers, but it doesn’t contain probiotics and prebiotics, whereas Scoot Stopper contains 2 billion CFU, and Glandex contains 3 billion CFU of probiotics.
How often should I give my dog an Anal Gland Supplement?
The frequency you need to give any supplement to your dog will vary with the specific brand and your dog’s particular problem.
Most anal gland supplements are designed to be given daily, with Gland-Ease potentially taking up to 6 weeks to see significant improvement in your dog’s anal gland problems.
In comparison, some patients only need intermittent administration of their anal gland supplement for just a couple of weeks at a time after a tummy upset.
Other ways to prevent and treat Anal Gland Issues in Dogs
I often get asked by dog pawrents how they can help their dog with anal gland issues alongside or in place of supplements, and thankfully there are some alternative options you can try out to ease your dog’s struggles.
Commercial foods for anal glands:
- Check out our dedicated article here for a comprehensive review of some commercially available foods to help dogs with anal gland issues.
- We love Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food due to its combination of nutrients, prebiotic fiber, probiotics, and omega fatty acids from quality sources to help your dog fight their anal gland issues from the inside out.
Human fiber sources:
- Some dog’s struggle with anal gland issues after a bout of diarrhea, so there are some high-fiber human foods that you can try out on these occasions to support their gastrointestinal health and healthy formed stools.
- Some of the best foods include pumpkin, banana, sweet potato, and carrots.
- You can of course, attend your veterinarian for manual expression, and this is occasionally the best course of action, particularly if your fur baby has an impacted or infected anal gland.
- Ideally, your veterinarian won’t like to express your dog’s anal glands too often because there’s a risk of trauma each time and the development of scar tissue to the anal sacs causing your dog more problems in the future and preventing them from being able to express their sacs themselves.
- You should never try to express your dog’s anal glands at home due to the risk of rupture and pain to your dog.
- There are a couple of things you can try to help your pooch express their anal glands themselves, including adding high-fiber foods to their diets, supplements, and maintaining a healthy weight, as obesity has been linked to anal sac issues.
- You can also try warm compresses and gentle massage around 4 pm and 8 pm in relation to your dog’s anus, which can help them to express their anal glands naturally once they’re not impacted. Compresses can also help reduce inflammation for your dog.
Anal Gland Expression VS. Natural Methods
Ideally, we want to minimize the frequency that your dog needs their anal sacs expressed, as each time we express your dog’s anal glands, they get slightly irritated and may make your dog more painful for a short period of time. We also run the risk of repeated expressions leading to scar tissue forming in the glands that can prevent your dog from expressing their anal glands naturally in the future.
Natural methods are preferable for your dog’s own health, if possible, when it comes to expressing their anal sacs. One method is nutritional support to help maintain a healthy gastrointestinal system and a firm stool so that your dog expresses their own glands each time they poop. Supplements are part of how you can support your dogs anal gland health and expression. Another option is to provide additional fiber to their diet either through a high-fiber commercial diet or through the addition of some human high-fiber foods such as pumpkin, sweet potato, blueberries, and apples.
Exercise can also help your dog as it helps to prevent obesity and through the encouragement of smooth muscle contractions to aid regular bowel movements. Remember, each time your dog defecates, they naturally express their anal glands. If your dog has mild irritation, you can try warm compresses over their bum, which may help them to relax and allow their anal glands to release.
Other tips for handling Anal Gland Issues
If your dog is suffering from anal gland issues, then you should attend your dog’s veterinarian to advice for your dog’s own specific situation and also to express your dog’s anal glands if medically required. Only your dog’s veterinarian should express your dog’s anal glands.
The Final Woof
Some dogs need a little assistance in the anal gland department from time to time, and if this happens, you want to prevent your dog from going through that pain again.
There are lots of things you can try out to support your dog’s gastrointestinal and anal gland health. Each time your dog poops, they express their anal glands naturally to coat their poop with their signature scent, so healthy poop helps in this task.
One method you can use to support your dog’s anal gland health includes supplements like Glandex, even if it’s only required intermittently.