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!