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Q&A: Why Do My Dog's Anal Glands Keep Getting Impacted?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Recurring anal gland issues are no fun for anyone. Here are a few ways to prevent them.

Recurring anal gland issues are no fun for anyone. Here are a few ways to prevent them.

How Can I Keep My Dog's Anal Glands From Causing Problems?

"I have a Chihuahua who is about 6 years old. She seems to have a gland problem. She had her glands cleaned out twice in the last month, but they continue to bother her. What can I do to help her, as I can't afford to keep taking her to the vet?" —Dawn

Chihuahuas Are Prone to Anal Gland Problems

According to a recent study, Chihuahuas are the breed most affected by this problem. They probably have more problems because they are prone to obesity and the anal sac ducts are small and get clogged more easily than those of large dogs. (1) They are also likely to be fed low-fiber table scraps, which makes matters worse.

Many dogs with anal gland problems also have allergies and skin diseases, so if this is the case with your Chihuahua, that needs to be treated too.

How to Prevent Anal Gland Impaction

Feed a High-Fiber Diet

The best method we know of to help your dog is to put her on a high-fiber diet. The stools are larger on that type of diet, and the anal sacs are expressed every time your dog goes potty. This food is a non-prescription diet that can help, or you can search for a high-fiber diet she likes at a pet store.

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Do Not Feed Table Scraps

Do not give her table scraps. If you are used to giving her treats from the table, keep a few pieces of pumpkin on the table to give her when you are eating. (You can buy canned pumpkin, but not pumpkin pie mix, which has sweeteners and spices that can hurt her.) Almost all dogs like pumpkin, and if you give it by hand, they are even more likely to accept it.

Consider Surgical Removal

If switching the food and stopping all table scraps does not work, the only solution to permanently get rid of the problem is surgical removal of the glands.

Get started on her weight and switch her diet and hopefully it will never get to that.


  1. Corbee RJ, Woldring HH, van den Eijnde LM, Wouters EGH. A Cross-Sectional Study on Canine and Feline Anal Sac Disease. Animals (Basel). 2021 Dec 31;12(1):95.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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