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NightStalker's avatar

Why do so many purebred dogs seem to need to have their anal glands expressed regularly?

Asked by NightStalker (459points) September 30th, 2011

I have a few friends with smaller purebred dogs. They have to take their dog into to vets to have the anal glands expressed regularly. I had never heard of this before.

Is it fairly new?

Does it have to do with the size of the dog?

Does breeding have anything to do with this?

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15 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t know but I had to look it up because I just got my first dog, she’s a mix and only 7 months now and I don’t know if this would be an issue, I’m kind of new at the dog thing… but I looked into it because I’m kind of really, really hoping that regularly “expressing” my dog’s anal glands is not going to be a big part of my future, but I did find this article, it’s maybe a little NSFW or not for people uncomfortable with full color illustrations of dog anuses, the vet speculates that it’s becoming a more frequent problem possible because of modern diets for dogs. Maybe it can be correct with the proper diet. Hopefully someone knows more than me because I am interested in learning about it too as a new dog person.

FutureMemory's avatar

Expressed? What does that mean?

creative1's avatar

So does a grain free diet work better to solve this issue for dogs?

SpatzieLover's avatar

I have a mixed breed (Pom-a-poo) that needs his done regularly. It does run through some breeds more than others (small to med poodles come to mind). Out of all of the dogs I’ve had, only one has needed this done regularly.

If we don’t have them expressed they can rupture, which is absolutely not for the faint of heart. It is a smell like none other. I could do this procedure at home, but prefer to have either my vet or my groomer do it. Not only because of the odor, but also because my dog does not like me back there.

We’ll have to have a vet weigh in on this to know “why” some dogs are more susceptible. I know from my vets, that once a dog has the need to be expressed, they will most likely always require the service. As far as I know, it’s the same as with some humans being more inclined to hemmoroids over another…it seems once an issue like that begins, it tends to be a continuing issue.

As for the food question, our dogs are fed a grain-free diet. We do allow for bits of treats/foods that have grains, but those are few and far between.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Here is a vet resource page on anal glands

From the link: The smaller the dog is, the more chance of anal gland problems. Tea cup poodles, Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians have an unusually high incidence of impaction. As with all generalities, of course, we will see exceptions with many small dogs never having any anal gland problems and some large dogs occasionally having severe problems. Overweight dogs also occasionally have a mechanical problem with getting the glands to express well.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t think it has anything at all to do with purebred dogs, it has to do primarily with diet and the particular nature of the individual dog. I do agree that more small dogs seem to be problems but I truly think that is due to diet more than anything else. Think about the little pre measured packets of wet food that is supposed to be chicken, beef, etc but looks like recycled crap in the first place, and when you read the ingredients, it is enough to make any dog pucker!

FutureMemory's avatar

Someone sent me a PM explaining what expressed means in this context…for the good of humanity, please let no one explain it here in the thread. Thank you.

creative1's avatar

My new puppy I am going to be feeding him Origen dog food its what the breeder recommends feeding him. Its a grain free diet and I was wondering if this was one of the reason but I had never heard of the labradoodles having this issue.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@creative1 As far as I know, it’s much less common in larger dogs, and almost unheard of in labs/lab mixes.

My sisters vet recommended adding extra fiber to my sis’s mixed-teacup poodle’s food, as he has a bit of an issue occasionally.

So far no dog I’ve known has had as bad of an issue as our Chumly (other than my friends small poodle…he needed his glands removed). He’s gotten infected a couple of times. We now express him every two months, and I check him regularly at home to make certain neither gland is blocked up.

Good food and exercise usually keeps things moving as they should, unless the dog has a physical issue.

Pandora's avatar

Because when your pure blood anything you tend to be a tight ass. LOL
Nah, my dog is pure breed and he hasn’t had any problems. He goes regularly but then again I don’t have him on a high iron diet or feed him junk food. He drinks plenty of water, gets good amount of exercise and long walks.
He’s a maltese.

rooeytoo's avatar

Usually anal glands are emptied when a hard stool passes by. If whatever you are feeding consistently produces a soft stool, not diarrhea, simply soft, then mother nature’s way does not work so man must intervene. If you feed a dog raw or if you see scat from wild dogs who eat raw meat and bones etc. it is rock hard. That is one of the reasons I switched to raw and modified BARF years ago, my little dog had an impacted anal gland. Since I have switched she has never had another problem.

Obviously not conclusive, but there is much evidence on the net to support this theory. I owned a kennel for a lot of years so have picked up a lot of poop. Dogs on commercial dog food almost always have big soft plops, not small firm pieces.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Because there’s a bunch wrong with them, overall. My toy poodles have this particular issue, we’ve expressed their puss in many ways, it’s awesome~.

Pandora's avatar

@rooeytoo I’ve always fed my dog eukanuba dry dog food and his has never had impacted anal glands. I would occasionally have them checked when he gets groomed or in the doc office but he’s always been good. His stool is neither rock hard or soft or mushy. I think it has more to do with the amount of water he eats as well. He’s not allowed a fatty diet either and a lot of fat in a diet can give dogs really soft stools.

rooeytoo's avatar

I remember when they first started making Euk and it was good stuff. It is now preferable to some but owned by Proctor and Gamble so I have my reservations. It is a fact that in human nutrition they say if it is processed and doesn’t rot, it is not good for you. I personally think the same of dog food. Dry food never rots, it might mold but will never rot.

It is my personal opinion. I don’t want to eat stuff that looks like dyed sawdust pellets so I don’t feed it to my dog either. If you are satisfied with the results you get, then that is great.

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