Food recommendations for anal gland issues

My 6-month old Basenji pup is perfect in every way except one thing... his anal gland issues. We have been to the vet a couple of times and they expressed the glands, but the problem always comes back a week later. He has chronic soft stools which is the problem leading to the anal glands. He has no signs of any allergies. We give him plenty of exercise and he drinks plenty of water.

In an effort to bulk up his stool, I switched him over to a higher fiber dog food (Blue Buffalo Puppy Chicken and Rice) which has 5% fiber content. I also add a tablespoon of pure canned pumpkin to his meals. Both of those things seemed to help a little, but didn’t solve the issue. Our vet says there isn’t anything we can do about it. I don’t know what to do, but I’m desperate for a solution. I want to avoid the surgery and I also want to avoid having to go to the vet frequently to express his glands.

I’m wondering if anyone has ever actually had a Basenji with anal gland issues and somehow SOLVED the issue permanently? Does anyone have a specific food brand they use that has helped relieve the issue? Thank you.

Sorry your pup is having this problem. I'm sure it's upsetting.

A question and an observation. The observation is that, if the anal glands are becoming impacted from chronic loose stool, the issue wouldn't be the anal glands. It would be the loose stool. What does your vet say about the loose stool?

The question relates to symptoms. What problems do you see arising from the anal glands?

We had a female Basenji who had to have emergency surgery for an impacted anal gland. She did fine with the canned pumpkin to the extent that she never had the issue again. Just to be sure we're on the same page, as I'm sure you know, the canned pumpkin sold for pie making isn't what we want. (I mention this because some grocery stores only sell the canned pumpkin for pies).

I believe that repeated anal gland expression is a route to impacted anal glands.

At six months I'd wait before doing anything drastic, especially since the cause of the loose stools is unknown.

last edited by DonC

I agree with DonC. Can you find out the reason for the loose stools? Maybe you need to keep changing foods until you find one that works - it might not be a special prescription food - it could be a simple less expensive food - whatever works! Does the breeder have a suggestion? I would ask the vet if there wasn't something you could give to make the poops less loose. Peptobismol? Immodium? Rice water?

I had a basenji that had explosive diarrhea - it was from nerves. If anything changed or he had a new experience, it would happen. He got much better as he got older. It doesn't sound like this is your problem, but it may give you hope.

Excitement can lead to loose stools. If he is over enthusiastic about his walks, for instance. My boy Sunny would go from normal to basically liquid with frequent stops to defecate when we went for a walk in the woods, because he got so excited. BTW, some horses are the same way!

Buy an inexpensive bag of frozen veggies like: Brocolli, Cauliflower, Carrots (mixed or alone), or Green Beans. Avoid corn, it's harder to digest. Thaw the veggies and run them through your food processor or chop them up a bit. Heat a 1/4 C in the microwave about 15-20 seconds and serve it stirred into his kibble. The extra fiber should assist in solving the problem without unecessary calories.

I agree - the stools are causing the anal gland problem, not the other way around. The more you express the glands, the more you have to and this is not the answer..

You have to firm up his stools - I am mildly surprised your vet didn't suggest this. Possibly he was getting too big an income from dealing with the glands ? LOL

High fibre diet is good but do address this side of the problem with your vet.

@kayg - I would suggest that you see a specialist as regular Vets for the most part are not that well educated in diet issues. And I would also see a different Vet as "there isn't anything we can do about it" is not a proper response, in my opinion.

@tanza said in Food recommendations for anal gland issues:

"there isn't anything we can do about it" is not a proper response, in my opinion.

Mine too !

Also, have you spoken to the breeder? Was this something from the time you got him? What was the breeder feeding? And again, I would refer to a specialist especially after the comment by your Vet.

last edited by tanza

Thanks everyone! I think after reading these responses I am going to avoid any more anal gland expressions because I don’t want to make the issue worse. I’ve only been giving him pure canned pumpkin/100% pumpkin. It has helped but didn’t solve the issue. He doesn’t have problems with loose stools- the stools are always formed well, but they are just soft and airy and not firm. I think I’m going to reach out to a specialty vet next- that’s a great suggestion. I also read an article that overeating can cause anal gland issues. He’s 20 pounds and I was feeding 1 1/2 cups total per day over three meals. I’m going to eliminate lunch starting today and see how he does.

And the breeder hasn’t gotten back to me yet but I will follow up. He didn’t seem to have anal gland issues the first 2-3 weeks we had him but his food was the same so it could be an environmental allergy too

Would you like to share his breeding? That might give other breeders that know bloodlines if there could be an issue?.... What was the breeder feeding?

At 6 months he should be on two meals a day - I feed twice daily to all my pack - Definitely cut out lunch.

And do let us know his breeding so he can be included in the database.

@kayg said in Food recommendations for anal gland issues:

He’s 20 pounds and I was feeding 1 1/2 cups total per day over three meals. I’m going to eliminate lunch starting today and see how he does.

Wow - that seems like an awful lot of food for a 6 mo old pup.

I realize every situation is different and feeding can be a very personal/touchy subject, but as a reference point, my 6 yr old basenji eats 1/4 cup kibble with water in the am, 1/4 cup kibble with water in the evening and gets some treats or cream cheese in a bone in the middle of the day. He weighs about 25 lbs and looks chubby.

@kayg said in Food recommendations for anal gland issues:

Thanks everyone! I think after reading these responses I am going to avoid any more anal gland expressions because I don’t want to make the issue worse. I’ve only been giving him pure canned pumpkin/100% pumpkin. It has helped but didn’t solve the issue. He doesn’t have problems with loose stools- the stools are always formed well, but they are just soft and airy and not firm.

Diet can do it. You may want to experiment with a different kibble. It's possible that your little guy is having trouble digesting the food and dogs, like people, can have food allergies. In this regard. some of the "higher" quality dog foods can cause digestion problems. We've had good results using Hills Prescription Diet I/d as a supplement rather than the pumpkin. We just add some to the kibble and it seems to help avoid issues. Probably other alternatives as well.

Best case you cut back on the food and the problem resolves itself. You might want to do that before seeing the speciality vet. You haven't mentioned color. I ran across this description of "Poo Hue". You might find it helpful. https://www.thedrakecenter.com/services/pets/blog/get-scoop-what-your-pets-poop-telling-you

I'm still not clear -- maybe a reading comprehension issue -- what made you think he had an anal gland issue.

@kayg said in Food recommendations for anal gland issues:

I’m going to eliminate lunch starting today and see how he does.

I forgot to stress, when you eliminate lunch, don't just spread the same amount of food over two meals instead of three. Cut back. I need to weigh Mku who will be 6 months old on Friday, but I am sure he is nowhere near 20 lbs. He is sleek and svelte and a perfect weight at the moment for his age. Lovely shape LOL.

And at risk of becoming boring, I say again, no actual treats do mine get. I measure the daily amount of kibble each morning into a container and from that container I take some with us on walks (to encourage recall) and I dip into it as a reward for particular good behaviour. Hoover and Mku think they are getting a treat, but it is not 'extra' - it comes out of their daily ration !

And I agree with DonC - what exactly started you worrying about his stools ?

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