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How a Raw Diet Benefits Your Dog's Anal Glands

Posted by Jessica McCarthy on

Dogs love butts.  We’ve all seen them run up to sniff each other’s, right?  Twitching their sensitive noses up to a new pooch pal’s posterior is how they learn the kind of info it would usually take a human at least one full coffee date to find out.  And the secret to giving off a good healthy whiff from behind?  Clean and happy anal glands!    dog sniffing another dog's bum

What Do Anal Glands Do for Your Dog?

Your pooch has two small modified sweat glands inside his or her butt.  These are the anal glands, and they are a vital player in the complex scent communication life of a dog.  


Dog poop may be an inconvenience to us humans, but to your canine it is a little dossier of information that tells them so much about the pooch that pooped.  With one whiff they can tell what the pooper ate, how healthy they are, and how recently they deposited the turd, often marking out their territory.  Thanks to the smear of anal gland fluid on the poop, they also get some more personal information – including individual identifiers (like a fingerprint), and pheromones that indicate if bitches are in season or how mature a male is.  Bet you never knew how impressive your dog’s rump is!

Close up of puppy's butt

Anal Gland Problems

These little glands have an important job – to secrete that special fluid.  But all too often, dogs develop blocked or clogged glands, which leads to the hilarious clown routine of your pooch scooting its bum across the grass or your favourite carpet.  If you’ve seen yours do that lately, their glands might be giving them trouble!  A quick Google search may get you convinced that you have to personally express your dog’s anal glands on its behalf – and that doesn’t sound fun for anyone – or go rushing off to the vet.  But we have the great news for you that there is a simpler solution…

Good Stuff In, Good Stuff Out

The secret to the best quality poop is the best quality food.  A leading cause of anal gland blockages is a diet that is too high in grains and fillers.  As you know, wild dogs and their wolf ancestors aren’t big on wheat harvesting, so the grains found in many modern dog foods are not what their bodies naturally crave.  A raw diet has no such ingredients though, and is the key to healthy anal glands.

dog looking at bowl of raw food

A raw dog food diet is a fantastic source of both soluble & insoluble fibre, as well as natural digestive enzymes.  These contribute enormously to gut health, and naturally reduce anal gland inflammation.  Probiotics are important too – some of our foods include yoghurt (a wonderful source of probiotics), or if your chosen brand doesn’t then there is the option to add some kefir or plain yoghurt to your dog’s diet. But the real raw-food Hero of the Anal Gland is bone.


Raw-fed pets have smaller, firmer stools than dry-fed ones.  This is thanks to the bone content in a raw diet, which binds everything together.  As their posteriors pass these firmer stools, the anal glands are naturally expressed.  This means no build-up of unused anal gland fluid, and therefore no blockages! Some customers who are new to raw worry that their dog is constipated from the new food because they strain a bit to poop and the stools are much firmer.  Actually those worried humans are just used to cleaning up the soft, sloppier poops that a dry processed diet results in.  A more solid stool is much better, as it cleans out the anal passageway (plus it’s so much easier to pick up on a walk!). 


When a passing pooch sniffs one of those neat little raw-fed stools, they immediately look up at their owners with big brown eyes as if to say, “I’ll have what that dog is having!”  Feeding raw is the best thing you can do for your pooch’s butt, and they and the dogs who sniff it will thank you.

Jessica McCarthy

Jess is a founding member of Natural Born Pets, and has been a writer and an animal lover all her life. A Cape Town gal and a lover of nature, the mission to bring proudly local and naturally healthy living to your pets is very dear to Jess's heart. Whether she's researching and writing non-fiction articles and social posts, devising full-length plays or short stories, or writing one of her infamously long and colourful emails to friends, Jess is happiest with a pen in her hand and a pet on her lap.