Almost every dog owner has to deal with their pooch’s anal glands eventually. Anal glands, or anal sacs, are scent glands that release an oily substance. If you have ever commented that your pup is “marking his territory,” then you are actually right! When your dog defecates, his anal glands are expressed, leaving a scent that other pooches can recognize.
Sometimes, however, those sacs have problems. They might become impacted, meaning the oils are not being released properly or frequently enough. It is important to take care of the anal glands before they cause too many issues for your pup.
Reviews of the Best High-Fiber Dog Food for Anal Gland Problems
There are all sorts of dog food options out there to consider. Always keep in mind that 6 to 10 percent is the target amount of fiber and make sure that you consider any other food allergies or sensitivities that your pooch may have.
One thing to remember is that cheaper is not necessarily better. Sometimes, high-fiber dog food formulas will scrimp on protein and instead add too much fiber to save money in production. On the other hand, expensive is not necessarily better either. The most important thing to do is look at all of the ingredients and make sure you understand what – and how much of it – is in your dog’s food.
Main source of protein: chicken
This dog food option has a lot of fiber, which is perfect for your pup. The first ingredient on the list is deboned chicken, an awesome meat option. It also has a lot of antioxidant-loaded ingredients, like cranberries and blueberries. Other ingredients include sweet potatoes and peas to supply carbohydrates without any grains, and fish meal to provide essential fatty acids. As stated above, sweet potatoes are full of fiber, which is great for your pooch. It is made totally in the United States, so you know that it will pass safety inspections. Pet owners also love this recipe because of its reasonably low price, making it an affordable option for people and their pups. Dog owner testimonials and reviews explain that the recipe helped work out intestinal issues in their pets, as well as improved their skin and coat.
Main source of protein: turkey
If your dog is a senior, this is one of the best high-fiber options on the market for him. It also has a ton of protein, perfect to help maintain muscle mass in your aging pooch. There are whole grains, but they are digestible: brown rice and oatmeal, for example. Further, it includes extra probiotics to ensure that there is healthy digestion. If your pup has a grain allergy or sensitivity or needs more protein, then this is not the right option for them, but otherwise, it could be a good fit for you and your pooch.
Percent fiber: 8.5
Main source of protein: turkey
This recipe is beloved by many dog owners because it is great for overall health. It is totally grain-free and chock full of the protein that your pup needs and loves. By using real turkey, they lower the amount of fat in your pooch’s diet. Other ingredients include potatoes, peas, and chicken fat. There are no corn, soy, or meat byproducts, which is perfect for your pup. You will also probably love that there are no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. Flaxseed and salmon oil add essential fatty acids help with fur and skin. Plus, it is made in the United States, which has high standards for dog food formula safety. It is intended for weight loss, and obese dogs are among those most at risk for anal gland problems. That means it is a high-fiber, low-fat diet perfect for pups that have an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Percent fiber: 4.5
Main source of protein: chicken meal
There is a ton of protein – they market it as having 87 percent from animals – in this formula, along with a lot of fiber, healthy carbohydrates, and fats. Probiotics are included in the recipe to help with weight loss and digestive support. There are a lot of essential fatty acids coming from saltwater fish included for fur and skin health. Instead of grain or corn, there are peas and potatoes, the second and third ingredients listed. It does not necessarily have the most fiber, but it is well-rounded for an overall balanced diet and healthy pup.
Percent fiber: 4
Main source of protein: Real Deboned Salmon
This recipe is based on a diet of fish for getting protein. Along with Real Deboned Salmon, it also containsOmega Fatty Acids, all of which have a lot of essential fatty acids. The fish also support your dog’s immune system. To ensure that pups with food sensitivities can enjoy it too, it is gluten-free. Further, it is grain-free too. For antioxidants, it contains a lot of fruits and veggies, like blueberries, peas, carrots, spinach, cranberries, and apples. They also provide other nutrients, of course. In terms of what is else is excluded, it is potato-free as well. In terms of making sure your ultra-sensitive pooch can get some fiber, this is one of the best options. However, if your dog has severe problems with his anal sacs, this might not be quite the right fit.
Percent fiber: 4.5
Main source of protein: Turkey
The two main proteins in this recipe are turkey & chicken. There is not as much fiber in this dog food formula as some others on the list, but it is affordable, and supplementing it with treats like Glandex Soft Chews would provide more than enough fiber. If you use treats with a very high-fiber dog food, then it is possible to make your dog sick, so consider that before making a decision. If your dog has a food sensitivity, this grain-free option is great. To ensure that there are essential fatty acids, it has salmon oil included. Keep in mind, of course, that your dog may be sensitive to chicken.
Percent fiber: 8.5
Main source of protein: chicken meal
Not only is this healthy recipe grain-free, but it also lacks corn, meat byproducts, and artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors. There is a lot of natural fiber to help your pup empty his anal sacs, and live yogurt cultures are there so he has an easier time digesting. Plus, it has probiotics and digestive enzymes. This formula was intended to help dogs lose weight, so if your pooch is obese, this is a great option. The fiber is intended to make sure your dog stays full between meals instead of begging for snacks all day. The main protein is chicken meal, and the secondary main ingredient is peas. This is a great, well-rounded option that has plenty of protein, fiber, fat, and essential fatty acids.
What causes anal sac problems in dogs?
Anal sac problems develop in pups that do not eat enough fiber, as well as a balanced daily diet with protein, vitamins, and minerals. They need a high-fiber, well-rounded diet to support their anal glands emptying out regularly and naturally. If your pup is constipated, then they will not be using the bathroom and releasing the scent from their anal sacs enough.
You might notice your pup scooting across the floor, dragging his anal area across it. He may also lick the area excessively. If you notice either of these things, then his anal sacs could be impacted or infected. It is also possible that the sacs could get so swollen that you can visibly see swelling. Worse, the sacs could make it difficult for your dog to even sit comfortably. Sometimes, you will even notice an unpleasant odor coming from your pup’s rear end.
Scooting is a dog’s attempt to manually trigger the release of the scented oil from the anal sacs. While your pup might be able to successfully execute a manual release, doing so could traumatize the delicate anal sacs, especially if it is done frequently or incorrectly.
Another significant possibility is that your pooch was simply born with anal sacs that are too deep in his rectum. Digestive pressure cannot reach glands that are too deep, so a veterinarian may need to perform an operation to remove the sacs.
Are their other health problems that come from a lack of fiber?
One of the most common problems that humans and pooches share if they don’t get enough fiber is constipation. If you notice your pup struggling to poo, particularly whimpering or whining, then he could be constipated because he isn’t getting enough fiber. The constipation could alternate with diarrhea, making potty time an unpleasant experience for your dog.
At worst, there are some long-term health problems. Your pooch’s immune system will weaken over time if he isn’t getting enough fiber. He might also struggle with weight loss, especially because a lack of fiber can cause issues with blood sugar levels. That could result in canine diabetes.
Can a high-fiber diet help with weight loss?
Yes! Fiber is incredibly filling, so your pup will not beg for food soon after eating. This means they will be able to eat less than usual, keeping off the pounds and eventually helping to shed them. Your pooch will be on the road to weight loss in no time!
What about diabetes?
Even if your pup doesn’t have diabetes right now, a high-fiber diet will help him. It will lower the risk of your pooch even developing diabetes.
If your dog has canine diabetes, then high-fiber veggies and vitamins will help regulate his blood sugar levels.
Are there any other major health benefits?
Yes! One of the most significant benefits of a high-fiber diet is helping with your pup’s colon health. If your dog struggles with constipation or diarrhea, then he will really appreciate a high-fiber diet healing his colon. It may even reduce your pooch’s risk of developing colon cancer.
How much fiber is the right amount?
No diet is going to be 100 percent fiber. A typical dog food will have an average of 3 percent fiber, while a high-fiber dog food is going to be somewhere around 6 percent and 10 percent fiber. That is the target amount of fiber for your pup.
What can I feed my dog that is high in fiber?
There are two especially great high-fiber options: pumpkins and sweet potatoes. These two ingredients in dog foods help with constipation and diarrhea. Just make sure to grind them up first so that it is easy for your pup to digest.
Other options include carrots, flaxseed, apples, barley, steamed green beans, legumes, beet pulp, oatmeal, and rice. All of these should only be added to your pup’s diet in small amounts.
What should I avoid feeding my dog?
Two of the most important things to avoid are refined grains and corn. Both of those provide fiber to humans, but they will not be safe or healthy for pups. Since pooches have shorter intestinal tracts, grain and corn could cause bloating and gas, both of which are uncomfortable for both you and your pup.
If you add too much of any high-fiber ingredient, like those listed above, then it might make your dog sick.
Substitute vs supplement: which is right for my dog?
Some pups have many different health problems that their diet addresses. If that sounds like your pooch, then switching to a new dog food formula might not be an option. His current dog food could be giving him almost everything he needs, and changing his diet abruptly could cause more digestive health problems. In that case, consider adding a supplement to his diet instead, mixing it into his regular food. Another option is to buy or make high-fiber dog treats to give him throughout the day.
One of the most popular, veterinarian-recommended treats for anal sac problems is Glandex Soft Chews. The two most important ingredients are pumpkin and apple, both of which are high-fiber. In 3 to 5 weeks, you can expect to see results in terms of the size and firmness of stool. The treats also contain probiotics that help with digestion, and all of the ingredients are natural. They are made in the United States, so you can be sure that they are safe for your pup. Plus, with tasty flavors like peanut butter, they are made for your pooch to enjoy!
What dog breeds have the most issues with anal sacs?
If your pup is a smaller breed, then he is more likely to have issues with his anal sacs.
The most common breeds that struggle with impacted anal glands are chihuahuas, dachshunds, beagles, basset hounds, and cocker spaniels, among others.
Readily digestible low-fat high-fiber diet for dogs
There are some key things to look for in a readily digestible diet. If you look for these things in your possible dog food formulas, then you are likely to find a great option.
First, make sure that the main ingredient in your pup’s food is a whole protein. Even though pooches are carnivores, they need a protein-based diet, with whole grains, fruits, and veggies coming secondary to meat. It should be a whole protein, not an unidentified byproduct or meat meal. You should see a single species on the label before “meal” or “byproduct,” not a generic term like “poultry” or “meat.”
Make sure there are not any artificial ingredients, flavors, or colors. There is no reason to add these in a dog’s diet.
Omega fatty acids, on the other hand, also known as essential fatty acids, are a great thing to make sure are included in your pup’s food. They can help keep swelling down while helping with your pooch’s immune system, all of which is awesome for overall health. In general, your dog’s food should be healthy; make sure his food has a lot of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and nutrients.
Is a DIY diet a possibility?
Certainly! You could add ingredients like sweet potatoes and pumpkins on your own if you wanted to, using them as treats for your pooch or adding them to his food.
To add something like pumpkin, buy something like canned pumpkin pulp, and just add a tablespoon with each meal for your dog.
Does a high-fiber diet have any side effects?
If your pup’s diet has a high-fiber diet in healthy proportions – the 6 to 10 percent mentioned above – then there should not be any adverse side effects. However, as with any dietary change, there are some risks.
Any time you change your pooch’s diet, you have to do so carefully and slowly. You cannot jump from one dog food formula to the other without a week or so of transition. It almost always causes digestive problems. The side effects of a rapid dietary change are even more severe if it is from a low-fiber diet to a very high-fiber diet. It could cause colitis, or colon inflammation.
Colitis leads to diarrhea and your pup will struggle to absorb nutrients. Poor nutrient absorption contributes to excessive eating and obesity. Worst case scenario, that will result in diabetes, heart problems, and arthritis.
How do I transition from one dog food formula to another?
Always remember to test a little bit of new dog food formula before buying a lot and committing to the transition. Your pooch might not like the new food, either because of the taste or because of the other effects it has on his stomach. If the test goes well, then you can begin transitioning to a new formula.
Switching from one dog food to another takes a little bit of time. For the first five days, most of the food should be the old formula. On day one, it will be mostly the old food with a sprinkle of new food. Each day, have a little bit less old food and a little bit more new food. By day five, you should be half and half.
For the next five days, it should be the opposite, with more new food than dog food. On day ten, there will only be a sprinkle of old food. After that, you should be good to go! Your pooch should be able to handle exclusively the new dog food formula.
Should I talk to my veterinarian about a high-fiber diet?
Definitely! Always talk to your veterinarian before considering a change. It is possible that if your pooch is constipated, it is only temporary. In that case, your veterinarian might suggest temporarily using fiber tablets or powder instead of a total dietary change.
Otherwise, your veterinarian can help you choose the right dog food formula so that you aren’t struggling to figure it out on your own. Research and bring in some options that you think will work, and your veterinarian can help you make the best possible choice. Your veterinarian can also manually release the oil from the anal sacs to prevent further build-up or possible trauma from actions like scooting until the high-fiber diet is fully implemented.
Keep in mind that the symptoms you have spotted might not be issues with anal sacs or constipation. Ask your veterinarian to exam your pooch’s rectum to see if it is constipation or urinary obstruction before assuming that what your pup needs is a high-fiber diet. The symptoms are also similar to parasitic infections like tapeworms, as well as to tumors in the rectal area. Remember: the veterinarian is the expert, not you!
If you are considering adding sweet potatoes or pumpkins to your pup’s diet, talk to your veterinarian about whether or not your dog has kidney issues. If he does, then it might be difficult for him to digest food that is full of carbohydrates like pumpkins and sweet potatoes.
What if my dog is in pain after switching dog food formulas?
Go back to your veterinarian if the high-fiber diet does not seem to be helping your pup. Anal sacs are not necessary to your dog’s overall health, and the dietary change might not be enough to help, especially if your pooch has recessed anal glands. In that case, surgery to have the anal sacs removed is the best option.
No matter which dog food you decide to go with, remember that the most important thing is your pooch’s overall health. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian if you are concerned about all things anal sacs!