|The reason that squeamish PON owners need to
read this article is because they are the folks most likely to
avoid addressing this issue, which can cause pain and suffering
to if neglected.
As your book on canine health has stated, anal glands, are
supposed to secrete fluid every time a dog has a bowel movement.
However, things can go wrong, especially with dogs who have
digestive/immune problems. The anal glands can fill up and get
impacted or even infected. Obviously, no one enjoys dealing with
the "business" end of their PON, but problems down there are
pretty common and can be very uncomfortable. Not having anal
glands ourselves, we can only imagine what it would be like when
they get impacted―probably like sitting on a couple of marbles,
only much more painful. Therefore, although unpleasant, owners
need to cope with this.
Signs that your PONS anal glands are full include scooting
across the floor, chewing at the " tail " area, and the
extremely pungent odor of anal gland secretions, which can
overflow out of the glands when they're too full.
The following e-mail recently arrived from a PON owner:
"Wendy [not her real name] is suffering from anal gland
problems―both have abscessed and one of them can't even be
expressed. My vet advised surgery to remove them, but two other
vets have said no, avoid surgery. I prefer no surgery, of
course, and probably won't, but I'm afraid these abscesses will
return. They are truly horrible."
The PON owner went on to explain, "The problem is that none
of the vets have been able to express her left gland at all and
can barely get anything from the right because it’s so thick.
When the right does express, it is with great difficulty and
pain for Wendy. They had to put her under out last week in order
to apply enough pressure to express both glands. They then
flushed them out and inserted antibiotic ointment. She’s going
back in about a week to see if they can start expressing them on
a regular basis―hoping that the infusion of that ointment will
help break up the horribly thick gunk."
Some suggestions for keeping your PON's anal glands
in top shape:
•Be sure that there is enough fiber in your PON's diet. I
have been adding a substantial amounts of pumpkin and green
beans to my own PON's diet and have not had to deal with this
problem at all.
• Choose whole, natural foods and avoid too high an amount of
protein. Consider crafting a home cooked diet for best digestive
•Be sure that your PON gets lots of exercise which include
•Make sure that your PON has ample opportunity to do his/her
"business" in a non-stressful environment.
•Avoid making your PON feel too crowded in his own home, and
give him a room that he can retire to in order to "get away from
it all." Your PON needs to relax.
•Have your PONS anal glands expressed periodically by a
professional. If you're motivated, have your vet show you how to
do it. It's not hard, and it's such a relief to be able to
express the glands in calm, rather than having to wait for a vet
appointment in an urgent situation. Yes, the stuff that comes
out of them smells horrible, but it's probably no worse than
If you think that there is a problem, you can take the
following steps at home, but if you don’t see substantial
improvement within a day or so, then head for your vet's office
as soon as possible:
•Make a warm herbal compress by pouring 2 cups of boiling
water over 2 Tbsp. dried calendula herb and letting it steep
until just warm. Dip a washcloth into this warm liquid and hold
it up to the affected anal gland for a few minutes. Repeat
several times, twice a day.
•Offer pumpkin and green beans in large amounts.
Good luck !