this post does contain affiliate links but as always all thoughts & suggestions are from my experience
My Puggle MaHoney suffers from a horrendous set of anal glands. I mean the worst of the worst when it comes to clogging, bloat, irritation, giant red inflamed booty bumps. Yes, I know, I’m being way scientific here but in reality, her discomfort has been a major issue.
Signs of Angry Anal Glands
First things first. How to diagnose anal gland problems. This was tricky at first for me. She is allergic to everything so her bum, body, and paws were all red and inflamed. During her detox and elimination diet, I had a bright red dog that was scratching and chewing her whole body and was not able to distinguish anal gland problems from food allergy issues. After I got her food allergies under control I started noticing distinct symptoms that ended up being her anal glands only. I listed MaHoney’s below. Every dog is different and nobody knows a dog like their owner but these are some common symptoms along with my experience:
- Swelling Under My Dog’s Tail – Now due to the above-mentioned allergies, her bum is already overextended. Now when she is fine the area under her tail is pink and the skin is slack. When she is not fine that area blows up like balloons. Angry red balloons.
- Bright Red Bumps On Her Bum – These are little red pimple-looking buggers that rise on the swelling under her tail. It is from the stress of the unreleased gland fluid.
- Scooting Across The Floor – This differentiates from her worm scoot by one big difference. This scoot is not to satisfy an itch & scooting only feels good. This scoot is due to discomfort and scooting on those inflamed glands actually hurts. Therefore she scoots a little, stops abruptly, pouts a lot, then repeats.
How I Express Her Anal Sacs
Now manually expressing glands manually is not recommended by holistic vets. They advise letting the glands express themselves naturally. And I agree with them if that is an option for your dog. Unfortunately, MaHoney was a rescue, age 5, and the damage had already been done. Once she starts having a flare-up her discomfort is extreme and something needs to be done. There are a few things I have tried that actually work on my stubborn little lady. Here is what I do and don’t do.
- Express glands internally by a finger in the bum – This is a big DON’T for me. Not only will my poochy struggle and contort herself into impossible positions that turns this method into a traumatic event for us both it also renders it ineffective and may cause harm. I just don’t feel that I have the expertise to execute this successfully.
- Express the glads externally – This is where I massage the outside of the inflamed bum area with my fingers to promote secretion. This too is not always recommended due to the possibility of overexertion.
- A hot washrag applied to the bum – This is my favorite way to relieve her during a gland flare-up. I just run a washrag under the hot tap and hold it against her glands while she is eating. Luckily she likes her food enough to not bite her mom while I do this. This makes the fluid in her glands rise and secrete. It is the least evasive way I have found to relieve her.
Daily Anal Gland Care for My Dog
Now the best part. What I do daily to promote gland health and prevent those nasty flare-ups besides feeding a raw diet of course. Both of these remedies came from Dr. Deva Khalsa who is one of my favorite holistic vets when it comes to natural dog care.
- Silicea: More commonly known as Silica helps your dog pass foreign materials out of their system. In other words, it will help your dog expel the irritant that is causing the impacted gland and aid in healing. I use this as a daily treatment of 3 pills dissolved in her water bowl and have seen a definite decrease in booty scooting since.
- Myristica: I use this every time she has an inflamed gland. Once the silica pushes out the clog she then has an open sore that is bound to get infected from all the scratching, scooting, and other itching methods she can think of to utilize. Myristica treats this infection before it becomes another issue for her already uncomfortable situation. I just rub 2 pellets on her gums both morning and night.
Anal Sac Clean Up
What to do about the smell? I wish I had an easier way to get rid of the smell besides actually having to clean things, being the “lazy” gal I am, but unfortunately, I do not. I do have a few natural cleaning methods I prefer over chemical options.
- Clothes & linens: I have realized that no amount of deodorizing spray will tackle anal gland expressions so I resolved to simply wash them. (Even when I just washed that darn blanket yesterday.) My favorite laundry soap that doesn’t break the bank & actually works is Sun & Earth. You can get scented or unscented depending on your preferences.
- Furniture: I have 2 different methods for this depending on my time & motivation for the day. If it is a small spot, like if most of the secretion was on my sweater and just a touch leaked over to my couch, I just make a quick backing soda compress and dab/apply it to the area. If the majority of the smell has soaked into the fabric I sprinkle baking soda over any affected areas, go run errands for a few hours, & vacuum it up when I return.
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