High Fiber Diets and Anal Gland Disease Average Cost

From 595 quotes ranging from $75 - 2,000

Average Cost


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What is High Fiber Diets and Anal Gland Disease?

The anal glands in dogs are small oval sacs that sit on either side of the anus just inside the rectum. They produce an oily substance that collects in tiny ducts and is expressed when they have a bowel movement; it is believed that this substance is used as a territorial marker. Dogs with bowel movements that are either too hard or too soft may not trigger the release of the fluid, and the sacs can become infected or rupture. Many veterinary professionals recommend a high-fiber diet to help prevent this problem in dogs who are prone to trouble with their anal glands.

Anal gland disease is a common disorder in canines characterized by the inability to express the fluid from the anal gland. A high-fiber diet is often recommended to reduce incidents of anal gland disease.

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Symptoms of High Fiber Diets and Anal Gland Disease in Dogs

One of the primary symptoms given for anal gland disease is the behavior of scooting the hindquarters along the ground. Although this is common among almost all dogs that are experiencing trouble with their anal glands, it is not the only reason dogs will exhibit this behavior. Other symptoms that indicate a problem with the anal glands can include:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Excessive chewing or licking around anus
  • Excessive chewing or licking at the base of the tail
  • Swelling in the anal area
  • Uncharacteristic snapping 
  • Unpleasant odor


There are several ways to add fiber to your canine’s diet and not all of them include grains. 

  • Adding fruits or vegetables - Some more popular fruits and vegetables to add to your dog’s diet include pumpkin, apples, and carrots; remember that dogs cannot digest whole vegetables, and they should be ground before offering them to your pet
  • Adding grains - Oatmeal, rice, and barley may be added to your dog’s food in small amounts if your dog isn’t sensitive to these ingredients
  • High-fiber dog food - Many commercial dog foods are formulated specifically for dogs with high-fiber needs, including several varieties that are grain-free
  • Psyllium - Psyllium produces a type of soluble fiber with high water binding capacities, making it a good option to promote optimal stool quality; Metamucil is made from psyllium and is sometimes prescribed for dogs who need to increase the fiber in the diet

Causes of High Fiber Diets and Anal Gland Disease in Dogs

Although a dog’s diet plays a significant role in why some anal glands get infected or impacted, this is not the only contributor. Dogs that are obese and smaller breed dogs are more likely to develop this disorder, and trauma to anal glands can also precipitate this. The anal glands are somewhat delicate and can be injured if a manual expression is done incorrectly or too often. Some dogs also have anal glands that develop too deeply in the rectum, preventing the pressure from the digestive system from reaching them. Dogs with deeply inset anal glands may require an operation to remove the glands.

Diagnosis of High Fiber Diets and Anal Gland Disease in Dogs

Many of the symptoms of anal gland disease are similar to symptoms you might see with certain parasitic infestations, such as tapeworm. The scooting behavior and the licking and chewing can also be indicative of food allergies, tumors, or a rectal prolapse. A thorough physical exam will be completed, and the standard tests such as a biochemical profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count will be evaluated to check for any infections, toxins, or imbalances that may have an impact on the overall diagnosis. The veterinarian will also need to perform a complete rectal exam at this time as well. Doing this not only allows them to determine if the anal gland is impacted or swollen, but it also allows them to check for potentially dangerous abscesses as well as tumors and polyps that might be located in the anal glands or rectum.

Treatment of High Fiber Diets and Anal Gland Disease in Dogs

In most cases, your veterinarian will start by manually expressing the anal glands. This is done by using the finger to apply gentle pressure to the anal gland to release the substance inside, and if any abscesses have formed they will need to be lanced by a veterinary professional as well and if any bacterial infection is suspected or confirmed then antibiotics may be prescribed to address the problem. In many cases, your dog’s doctor will recommend that you increase the fiber in your pet’s diet to help prevent further cases of impaction or infection.

Increasing the fiber your pet consumes causes the stools to be larger, allowing for more pressure on the anal glands to ensure that they are able to be expressed naturally. The fiber increase may have the added benefit of reducing the weight of dogs who are obese, helping them to feel full faster and for a longer period of time.

Recovery of High Fiber Diets and Anal Gland Disease in Dogs

For dogs that have chronic anal gland disease that is not helped by a change in diet or lifestyle, or for dogs who are afflicted with deeply inset glands, a surgical alternative may be the best option. Anal glands, like the human appendix, are not absolutely needed for your pet’s continuing well-being and can be surgically removed. There are risks involved with any surgery, however, and this is no exception. The anal sacs sit very close to the nerves that control the anal sphincter, and even in an entirely successful operation, the swelling in the area may cause incontinence or loose stools for one to three weeks after surgery is complete. In rare cases, cutting these nerves may prove impossible due to swelling, and some of these dogs may lose the ability to control their bowels or develop anal leakage.

High Fiber Diets and Anal Gland Disease Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Husky American staffordshire
19 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Foul odor
Excessive licking -at night
leaking at night

About 6 months ago Mazey started to occasionally leak a foul smelling liquid from her behind. She then licks obsessively and it only seems to happen when she is sound asleep. I took her to the vet and they expressed her anal glands and had us add pumpkin to her diet. That worked for a while but she has since started to leak again at night. Not every night but enough to try something new to resolve the issue.
She has also since started to snub her nose at pumpkin. But I do make her treats out of pumpkin and peanut buttter.

To Michelle C.,
Had your dog had to have vet empty anal glands before you started and had success with www.purely.dog ?

Hi! My dog was having anal gland issues — lots of licking, irritation, and a terrible smell. I started giving her raw carob fruit treats (www.purely.dog) which are really high in fiber and now she has no issues.

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9 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Anal Itching

I have a 12 pound pom who developed bladder stones in Jan 18 and had surgery. They changed her diet to Prescription CD food dry mixed with wet. Since this change she loves the food but does a lot of butt scooting. I had her anal glands checked, they were fine. She never had this problem on other food. Could she not be getting enough fiber with this food?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Does Roxy have issues with defecation? Generally if a dog is scooting due to lack of fibre we generally see issues with defection. Other causes may be parasites, trauma or allergies; i cannot say what the specific cause is, but commercial dog food is nutritionally balanced so there should be enough dietary fibre for her to do her business. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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4 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Impacted Anal glands

How much metamucil should I use for a 6 pound maltese? I feed her Purina Pro-Plan grain-free dog food. Would she be better off on the regular Purina Pro-Plan?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Without knowing anything about Tilly or her health status, I'm afraid I can't recommend any dosages of supplements or medications. Metamucil can help with dogs with chronic anal gland problems, as it firms up the stool. It would be a perfect question to ask your veterinarian, who knows Tilly and her history, what amount of Metamucil would be appropriate for her, as a little goes a long way!

Thank you. I have contacted my vet to get her opinion.

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Blue heeler mix
10 Months
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms


My dog is having problems with her anal glands . She’s licking and scooting her butt across the carpet . I woke up to her having diarrhea through the night .. like 6-10 different piles . I was wanting to know what to do and how to stop the diarrhea.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
It depends on the underlying cause, it is possible that there is an issue with the anal gland, an infection, parasites, foreign objects among other issues; if she is having diarrhoea I may lean more towards protozoan parasites but make sure that she is hydrated and give some plain canned pumpkin which is high in fibre and can help firm up the stool. It may also be worth having a sample of her stool checked by your Veterinarian for parasites to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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