Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fibre: A Dog's Friend...Maybe?

So this may be a bit of an icky subject, but we took Oscar to the vet recently to get his anal glands expressed. That's right, dogs have anal glands, and if they fill up, they need to be emptied. Gross, huh? I definitely didn't read about this before I got a dog! If you notice your dog sniffing at his backside or scooting along the floor, it's possible that his anal glands are the reason he's doing that. Soft stools contribute to the problem, because then the glands don't empty on their own as they would with bulkier stools. We asked our vet what we could do about it, since it would be better not to have to head to the vet for that too often. First off, she said that we could do it on our own, but I am definitely not that desperate to save the money that it takes to get it done! She then also recommended getting treats that have fruits or veggies in them, or adding a spoonful of Metamucil to his food to increase his fibre intake and bulk up his stool.

I did some more reading about this. There are some good articles here and here about anal gland issues. I'm a bit confused now, though, because this whole time I've been reading about what kind of dog food is good for dogs, and the ones with less grains are the better quality ones. The general rule is to look at the first five ingredients, and the more meat there is in those ingredients, the better. But now I'm hearing that adding fibre might be better for Oscar...but doesn't fibre generally mean non-meat products, like grains? This is getting complicated. I think for now, I'll stick to fruits and veggies in his treats and keep avoiding grains. I've also started feeding him carrots and bananas as treats, and will be adding apples and green beans to the menu too. Hopefully these little changes will keep us from having to head to the vet too often...and I'm sure Oscar would appreciate that too, since I'm sure the process isn't pleasant!

8 comments:

Rubie said...

Hi Oscars Mum, From the very beginning I have tried to give Rubie a raw food diet due to the immense benefits. So in her evening meal she gets 1/3 grated carrot (sometimes zucchini) 1/3 boiled lentils, and 1/3 raw meat (minced chicken necks are fab for the high calcium content). We have never had an issue with her anal glands, and her number 2's tend to be firm and bulky. She has a little high quality kibble for brekky in the morning. Good luck, Rubie's mum.

Katie said...

I'm confused on this, too. Fortunately I've heard the anal gland issues aren't extremely prevalent in the larger breeds. That doesn't change the fact that the grains vs meat vs fruits/veggies content in dog food debate has my head spinning! Seems like every time I log onto the computer or pick up a new magazine, I see an article arguing something different. Goodness... I'll just stick with something natural that they like. The Nutro brands have been good for both taste and er... um, processing :) And we love bananas too!

Catalina said...

Try canned pumpkin. I mix a little into Tibby's food. She loves it! And it is full of fiber.

dog kennels said...

It's a major factor that what kind of dog food is good for dog's health, and the ones with less grains are the better quality ones and the more meat is more better. But fiber is also much better to them.

Santa, Minnie and Christmas said...

Expressing the anal gland isn't as gross as it sounds. Initially, we thought so too but we were like you, not wanting to go to the vet too often for that and so we learned how to do it. I remembered the first time I did get something out, was I excited! We do that once a week and most of the time, we do get something out eventhough their stools are firm.

Oskar said...

I bet Oscar will be thrilled with the diet changes as opposed to the manual expressing *shudder*!

Nubbin wiggles,
Oskar

Oz the Terrier said...

Well, I have never had this problem and thank goodness because I don't think I would like the remedy. Personally, I enjoy when Ma adds either carrots or sweet potato (both great source of fiber and a sweeter treat) to my food.

I think the debate will rage on, but my Ma decide a while ago that every dog is different and so if I need a bit more fiber, well she was going to give it to me along with my 'meat' food.
Good luck and hope there doesn't have to be another round of 'remedy'.
Cairn cuddles, Oz

Blue Eyes said...

Hi. Well, you know... if there is alot of bones in the dogs diet it will definitly be a firmer stool :) Good Luck! /Linnéa

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