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Hi everyone. So, I think this has been a sort of ongoing thing since I first got Willow, but figured I'd ask about it on here to see if any of you have similar experiences. I don't remember this happening with my other dog.

Once every couple of days, it seems, I'll smell that distinct fishy anal-gland smell, and then Willow will immediately lick her behind for 20 seconds and the smell goes away. I've examined her bottom and everything seems normal, no inflammation, no obvious swelling. She doesn't scoot, she doesn't show any sign of infection or anything, she only does the butt-licking occasionally and always seemingly in the evening (maybe she does it during the day too and I'm just not there, whatever). It just seems like a normal thing she does. It's kind of annoying, especially if it gets on her bedding and the smell kinda lingers.

I've wondered if this has anything to do with her poops being soft. They've like...always been soft except for when she was on metranidazole for diarrhea. On both grain-free and food with grain. I've tried adding pumpkin to her food but her stools are still soft. It's better than diarrhea, and has a form and is sometimes segmented, it's just always squishy when I pick it up and usually leaves a residue on the ground. I'd read that soft stools could cause problems with the anal glands because the poop isn't expressing the glands on its way out.

Should I be concerned about this or nah?
 

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This has been a struggle for my dog, Loki, ever since I got him this past June. We tried so many different kinds of food and supplements (like pumpkin, even splurged and bought that Glandex stuff). We did finally fix it when he was on Taste of the Wild, but of course with the recent issues around grain-free, particularly with that food, I had to take him off of it. Now he's on their new recipe ("with ancient grains!") and the key here has been adding a spoonful or two of yogurt packed full with probiotics. All of the sudden, he has solid poops again.

The anal gland issue persists, but I think it's because we only just recently discovered this yogurt thing (like, 2 weeks ago-ish?), so the soft stools left some full pockets. But I think (hope?) we're getting to the end of that. For some reason, his glands extremely hard to empty manually.

Anywho, bottom line; try the yogurt!
 

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I have one who needs his glands expressed monthly or this will happen. As long as I keep him on his schedule he is fine. It isn't thst hard to do if you aren't too squeamish about sticking your finger up a dog's butt. (Gloves needed!!)

Your vet can do it if you can't do it by yourself to start. Vet can also show you how to do it yourself, mine did
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have one who needs his glands expressed monthly or this will happen. As long as I keep him on his schedule he is fine. It isn't thst hard to do if you aren't too squeamish about sticking your finger up a dog's butt. (Gloves needed!!)

Your vet can do it if you can't do it by yourself to start. Vet can also show you how to do it yourself, mine did
Uuugh, I was hoping I wasn't going to have to express her glands manually. Do I have to? I had read somewhere that messing with the anal glands can cause more problems...I'd kinda rather not mess with them, unless I have to. It seems like her regularly expressing them like this is preventing things from building up, I guess I just wasn't sure if that was normal or not.

Good news this morning though...she had solid-er poop! Woohoo! She's gotten into the habit of saving up her poop on walks so she poops twice (and I have to pick it up twice, the little skamp) and the second one is always softer. But I think that's normal? And I didn't really change anything in her diet; I have no idea why some poops are good and others are soft. shrug
 

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Walking stimulates pooping, and the second one isn’t “ripe” yet. Don’t mess with anal glands, as the article explained. I would add some yogurt and see if it helps. A heaping tablespoon of plain, unflavored yogurt between meals.
 

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Mine get a big knuckle bone once a week, for half an hour or so. Keeps their teeth clean and the next day, really solid poops, hard almost. Always felt like that was good for their anal glands.
 

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You might try different foods.

What works for one doesn’t work for all - the majority opinion is often to go for higher fiber, lots of bulk in stool. But for one of mine, a lower fiber / high cal/cup, non bulky food solved the problem when her glands were not emptying properly. It’s probably a good idea to have your vet examine and express right now (if needed), because an impacted/infected gland is a much bigger problem. The goal is ultimately to manage it via food and not need intervention regularly, but if you’re seeing a problem, don’t let it get worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You might try different foods.

What works for one doesn’t work for all - the majority opinion is often to go for higher fiber, lots of bulk in stool. But for one of mine, a lower fiber / high cal/cup, non bulky food solved the problem when her glands were not emptying properly. It’s probably a good idea to have your vet examine and express right now (if needed), because an impacted/infected gland is a much bigger problem. The goal is ultimately to manage it via food and not need intervention regularly, but if you’re seeing a problem, don’t let it get worse.
Yeah right now she's on Diamond Naturals Large Breed Lamb/Rice, has been on it for 5-6 weeks now. According to the bag it's 5% fiber which I think is on the high end. Before, I was feeding her Canidae Grain-Free Salmon and her poops were the same. And before that, she was on Diamond Naturals Grain Free Salmon. I have yet to buy a second bag of the same food, was hoping to keep her on her current food as the larger size kibble slows down her eating and the food's fairly affordable, and I feel like constantly switching up her food probably isn't great. I'll try adding yogurt, also heard kefir was good but it's more expensive.

I guess the good news is it appears the food with grain isn't causing problems with her GI system, knock on wood. :)
 

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Uuugh, I was hoping I wasn't going to have to express her glands manually. Do I have to? I had read somewhere that messing with the anal glands can cause more problems...I'd kinda rather not mess with them, unless I have to. It seems like her regularly expressing them like this is preventing things from building up, I guess I just wasn't sure if that was normal or not.

Good news this morning though...she had solid-er poop! Woohoo! She's gotten into the habit of saving up her poop on walks so she poops twice (and I have to pick it up twice, the little skamp) and the second one is always softer. But I think that's normal? And I didn't really change anything in her diet; I have no idea why some poops are good and others are soft. shrug
Well, I had a vet who is well respected in my area tell me I needed to do my dog regularly. I had him checked at vet due to "leaking" and having that intermittent glandy smell like you describe.

Not too long ago my lab was kind of chewing at his butt and I asked my vet to check back there and he expressed them and said based on the consistency of the stuff they probably werent draining properly on their own. He said I should do them regularly. 2 different vets, 2 different dogs. Neither has had any issue while I've been doing them. One is 4 1/2 and I've been doing his since he was 6 months old

If you have never done it I'd just have your vet do it while giving you a tutorial.
 

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Well, I had a vet who is well respected in my area tell me I needed to do my dog regularly. I had him checked at vet due to "leaking" and having that intermittent glandy smell like you describe.

Not too long ago my lab was kind of chewing at his butt and I asked my vet to check back there and he expressed them and said based on the consistency of the stuff they probably werent draining properly on their own. He said I should do them regularly. 2 different vets, 2 different dogs. Neither has had any issue while I've been doing them. One is 4 1/2 and I've been doing his since he was 6 months old

If you have never done it I'd just have your vet do it while giving you a tutorial.
Here's my last gland story. This is yet another dog, neither of two described above. I've never done her glands in her life. I took her to the vet when she was about 7 for a nasty smell at her hind end that wasn't hygiene related. I cleaned her and she still smelled bad back there. Took her to vet and they found one of her glands was infected. So she had to have something like a 3 week process of expressing and then infusing it with antibiotics directly into gland. She's never had a problem since that, and to this day I've still never expressed her glands.
 
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