High Fiber Diets & Anal Gland Disease in Dogs
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Q. Why are high fiber diets recommended for anal glad disease?
 
A. Illustration of anal gland location As the dog or cat is viewed from behind, anal glands (also called anal sacs) are located on each side of and slightly below the anal opening, at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions. A tiny duct or tube leads under the skin to an opening directly beside the anus.

Anal gland impactions, infections, and abscesses can occur. Here is how: For various reasons, such as the conformation of the animal, the thickness of the gland's secretions, or the softness of the stool, these glands and their ducts may become clogged, or 'impacted.' When this occurs, the animal will sit down on its rear quarters and drag its anal area across the floor or ground. This is called scooting. Both dogs and cats may lick the anal area excessively. Impacted anal glands are a very, very common problem for dogs, especially the smaller breeds.

Pets with recurrent anal gland impactions are often placed on a high fiber diet. The high fiber makes the animal's stool more bulky. The stool will put more pressure on the anal glands and hopefully the glands will express themselves when the animal defecates. There are several commercial brands of high fiber dog food available. Animals may also be supplemented with bran or medications such as Metamucil, which will increase the bulk of the stool. While this is not a cure for anal gland disease, it is beneficial in many animals.

If your pet has anal gland problems, discuss a change in diet with your veterinarian.

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