Anal gland problems in cats and dogs

Wednesday 17th July 2019

Problems with anal glands are common and highly unpleasant for pets and pet owners alike! This is less prevalent in cats, but they can still be affected. Containing a pungent, oily liquid, properly functioning anal glands lubricate the stools to ease their passage and act as a scent marker.

Several factors may prevent them from emptying normally, which can lead to a nasty infection that must be properly treated by a veterinary professional. (See our fact sheet for 6 common reasons why impacted anal glands may occur).

Here are 3 steps to take if your pet experiences this problem:


1. Consult your vet

You must consult your vet to administer treatment before infection sets in or worsens. This will probably involve cleansing or manually flushing of the glands and possibly a course of antibiotics. Surgical intervention is a possibility but usually undertaken only as a last resort.


2. Consider a recovery diet

A pet with loose stools may benefit from a low fat recovery diet. Your vet might recommend some foods or prescription diets during this phase. Arden Grange Partners Sensitive wet food could also be a good option for dogs as it contains only 2% fat. This product may be beneficial if a meat or grain allergy or intolerance is contributing towards the problem, because it is a white fish and potato based diet. The higher moisture content could also ease symptoms of constipation in dogs.

Be sure to remove rich treats and ‘tid-bits’ during this time to allow the digestive system to rest.


3. Longer term diet changes

Good nutritional management can be very beneficial as many of the causes of anal glands problems have their roots in what goes in the front end! Ensuring your pet is at/or achieves a healthy weight via a weight management diet such as our light diets for cats and dogs, or removing common dietary allergens, which may be provoking a negative response, may help.

All of our diets are naturally hypoallergenic and free from some of these more provocative ingredients (find out more about dietary allergens in our fact sheet ’Adverse Food Reactions’). We also produce diets for ‘extra’ sensitive cats and dogs which are fish based and grain free.

Some pets might have a natural need for more fibre than their current diet, or standard maintenance diets, contain. Your vet may have a recommendation here or might suggest adding a fibre supplement that is safe and specifically formulated for use in pets.

For a more in depth look at this topic, check out our full fact sheet here.

By Ness Bird – Nutrition Adviser and RVN CertCFVHNut

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