Ask the Vegan Vet: Why Does My Dog Have Anal Gland Issues?

"My dog's anal glands often need to be expressed. What's going on? Do I need to change his diet?" -- Kevin L.

Dear Kevin,

The underlying cause of anal gland issues (often called anal sacculitis, inflammation of the glands) include obesity, skin allergies and incomplete emptying of the glands during defecation (cause unknown).  Some dog breeds and some individual dogs appear prone to anal sacculitis genetically.  Many vets will prescribe increased fiber content in the diet for dogs with anal gland issues, though I'm not aware of any studies confirming the efficacy of diet change.  Presumably increased fiber will increase fecal bulk, which can help press on the anal glands so they empty normally during defecation.  Hypoallergenic diets are also occasionally prescribed.  V-dog is hypoallergenic.  If diet change alone does not help, consider a supplement such as Glandex (which contains beet pulp, along with other ingredients) and see if that resolves the issue, along with regular anal gland expression as needed.


All the best,

Lorelei Wakefield, VMD


V-dog is a vegan owned and operated family business in San Francisco that makes healthy kibble and treats for your pooch. Not only does a plant-based diet save lives and minimize your pup's environmental impact, it also provides all the nutrition they need to thrive. (Plus, it tastes amazing...just ask these dogs!) Learn more about what we do at

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