Save 30% on your next dog food order

Best High Fiber Dog Food For Anal Gland Problems in 2021

poodle dog pooping

This review aims to give you a definitive guide to some of the best dog food for anal gland issues that can be found in 2021.

Anal glands can sometimes get blocked. Blocked anal glands can be quite uncomfortable for dogs and they often try to solve the problem by scooting on your best carpet or nibble at their anal region- resulting in a vile smelling carpet, an irritated perianal area or even infection of the anal glands.

I have also had patients whose anal glands became so infected that they burst and formed so-called fistulas: holes going all the way through the skin. 

As you can imagine, when anal glands get infected or fistulated your dog will be in a great deal of pain. In some cases some dogs can get feverish and need to be treated for that too.

I deal with anal gland issues on a daily basis and spend a lot of time researching the best dog foods for anal gland issues to recommend to my patients’ owners. 

An adequate diet is one of the ways that you can help prevent anal gland issues in dogs.

It is always important for your dog to see a vet when you suspect anal gland issues; other diseases might have similar symptoms to anal gland issues or the anal gland issues might be secondary to other underlying health problems. 

This article will explain or discuss:

  • What to look for when buying food for a dog with chronic anal gland issues.
  • The differences between diets and how they aim to solve the problem.
  • How some ingredients can help.
  • Food options for dogs with fussy palates. 

Let’s get started.

Our Best High Fiber Dog Food For Anal Gland Problems

  1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Satiety Support Dry Dog Food
  2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Fiber Dry Dog Food
  3. Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
  4. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Select Blend Overweight Management Formula Dry Dog Food
  5. Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
  6. Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food
  7. Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+M Weight Management + Mobility Support Dry Dog Food
  8. Blue Buffalo True Solutions Fit & Healthy Weight Control Formula Dry Dog Food
  9. Royal Canin Medium Weight Care Dry Dog Food*
  10. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food
  11. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

11 Best Dog Food For Dogs With Anal Gland Problems Reviewed

Here is our list of which dog foods we think are the best for anal gland issues.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Satiety Support Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Satiety Support
  • First 5 ingredients: Powdered Cellulose, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn, Wheat Gluten, Wheat
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management

If your dog suffers from frequent anal gland problems, this dog food by Royal canin is one of the best high fiber dog foods on the market.

Anal gland problems are sometimes associated with obesity, and this fiber rich diet will not only bulk up your dog’s stools for some anal gland expressing action, but will also keep your dog’s waistline in check.

The powdered cellulose in the diet will help your dog feel fuller quicker and also provide the right kind of fiber to bulk up your dog’s stool without retaining too much moisture. This will make your dog’s stools firmer.

The diet also contains other fiber sources with psyllium seed husk being one of them. Psyllium seed husks trap water content to form a gel and increase the size and frequency of stools.

The Satiety Support range has a product specifically formulated for small breed dogs that is better suited to their nutritional exigencies.




Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Fiber Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Fiber
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Powdered Cellulose, Corn
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of gastro-intestinal issues

The anal glands may be at the very end of the digestive system but this does not mean that they are any less important than the rest.

Like the above diet, this dog food contains powdered cellulose, dried plain beet pulp and psyllium seed husk that all help optimize stool formation.

This diet also promotes a healthy digestive tract which acts as a further preventative of anal gland issues.

This diet is available in wet form.




Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Meal
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Steady weight loss

This high fiber dog food intended to promote weight loss can be a good diet to bulk up your dog’s stools.

The powdered cellulose and dried beet pulp form firm, sizeable stools able to express your dog’s anal glands naturally.

Hill’s, like Royal Canin, produce high quality dog foods and it should come as no surprise that this diet is one of the best high fiber dog foods on the market.

This diet also has a wet food alternative.




Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Select Blend Overweight Management Formula Dry Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management
  • First 5 ingredients: Ground Yellow Corn, Soybean Meal, Soybean Germ Meal, Soybean Hulls, Soy Flour
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management

Purina’s take on a high fiber diet uses soybean hulls as their major fiber-contributing ingredient.

They bolster the hulls’ stool bulking effect by including pea fiber and powdered cellulose later in the ingredient list.

This high fiber dog food makes a high quality weight management and stool bulking dog food that can help your dog with keeping a trim waist while preventing future anal gland problems.

This diet also comes as canned food.




Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Soybean Mill Run, Corn Gluten Meal
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management

Soybean mill run is this diet’s biggest fiber contributor. Soybean mill run is the by-product of the soy dehulling process and is made up of soybean hulls and any remaining soy bean meat. [1]

It is therefore more protein rich than other fiber sources and can add to the nutritional value of the dog food.

This diet also contains pea fiber, dried beet pulp and dried tomato pomace as other significant sources of fiber.

The fiber content of this diet can reach 15%, making it more than adequate to help express your dog’s anal glands while doing their business.

This dog food can also be found as canned food.




Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food

Hill's Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Management of Gastro-intestinal issues

This Hill’s diet only has a maximum of 9% fiber content. However, we feel that this diet still deserves a place on our list as it promotes the health of the gut’s microbial population and that of the general digestive system.

This is very important because research shows that most episodes of anal gland problems follow bouts of loose stools and intestinal upset.

This diet also comes as a canned food.




Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+M Weight Management + Mobility Support Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+M Weight Management + Mobility Support
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Powdered Cellulose, Peas
  • Type of product: Veterinary Diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term management of weight and mobility issues

Blue Buffalo go all out on their weight management and mobility support dog food.

This diet contains powdered cellulose as its first ingredient followed by other fiber sources like dried tomato pomace and pea fiber.

The diet also includes dried chicory root that is a source of soluble fiber that can be fermented by bacteria in the colon and maintain a healthy digestive system.

While the beneficial effect of the various bacterial extracts incorporated in such dog foods is debatable, the overall composition of this diet seems to make it a good candidate to prevent anal gland problems in dogs with an adequate immune system. [2]

This diet can also be found in wet form.




Blue Buffalo True Solutions Fit & Healthy Weight Control Formula Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo True Solutions Fit & Healthy Weight Control
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Barley, Brown Rice
  • Type of product: Commercial diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management

This Blue buffalo high fiber dog food can pack a fibrous punch (14% crude fiber) and does not need a veterinary prescription.

Oatmeal, barley and brown rice somewhat contribute to the fiber content of the diet.

Ingredients such as powdered cellulose, dried tomato pomace, and dried plain beet pulp also help the diet bolster its satiating and stool bulking effect.

As with the other Blue Buffalo dog food making it on this list this diet contains dried chicory root that helps promote beneficial colonic bacterial fermentation.

As said before, the benefits of the addition of bacterial extracts in Blue Buffalo diets are debatable but this diet can be a good option for long term prevention of anal gland problems.

This diet also comes as canned food.




Royal Canin Medium Weight Care Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Medium Weight Care
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Pea Fiber, Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat
  • Type of product: Commercial diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management

This diet forms part of Royal Canin’s care range which requires no veterinary prescription to buy. It has similar ingredients to their anal gland benefiting veterinary diets but at different proportions.

At a maximum of 12.5% crude fiber content, this diet bulks up your dog’s stools through the inclusion of pea fiber, dried plain beet pulp, powdered cellulose and psyllium seed husk in your dog’s diet.

The inclusion of fructooligosaccharides which act as prebiotics help establish and maintain a healthy intestinal bacterial population that can help prevent future gastro intestinal upsets and associated anal gland problems.

The Weight Care range of products has formulations that target different breed sizes and caters to their needs.

This diet also has a wet food alternative for all sizes dogs.




Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Pea Fiber, Corn Gluten Meal
  • Type of product: Commercial diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management

Hill’s also provides a high fiber dog food that requires no veterinary prescription to buy.

The diet uses fiber rich carbohydrate sources such as brown rice along with the usual fiber bulking agents. Pea fiber provides the majority of the diet’s fiber content.

Other fiber sources in the diet include dried tomato pomace, oat fiber, and dried beet pulp.

The fiber content of the diet can vary between 5 to 13% of the diet. While this can mean a great variability in the final product, this diet is still richer in fiber than most commercial products and will be a better fit for dogs prone to anal gland problems.




Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Healthy Weight Adult
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Pea Fiber
  • Type of product: Commercial diet
  • Life stage: Adult
  • Best for: Long term weight management

This dog food can have a maximum fiber content of 10%. It can however be bought from a petshop and does not need a veterinary prescription.

The diet uses pea fiber and powdered cellulose to bulk up your dog’s stools. Like other Blue Buffalo diets, it also contains dried chicory root; a good source of soluble fiber that helps colonic bacterial fermentation and promotes gut health. [3]

As in other dog foods made by this brand, the diet contains a number of bacterial extracts whose efficacy in promoting gut health is debatable.

However, as far as non veterinary dog food goes, the diet’s formulation shows promise in helping prevent anal gland problems while keeping your canine friend’s figure trim. 

This diet also comes as a wet food.




white poodle pooping

What are anal glands?

Anal glands are your dog’s pride and are the star of many smelly incidents during my veterinary career.

The anal glands are two glands found close to the opening of your dog’s anus. They are found at the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock marks when facing your dog’s anus. 

The role of the anal glands in dogs can sound trivial to us humans. Their contents and therefore the smell of their contents is unique to every dog and they are used to communicate identity and serve as a stinky deterrent when under threat.

Their contents when emptied can make the most seasoned veterinarian’s stomach clench, however to other dogs the smell can mean “Rover was here”. 

What is anal gland impaction?

Anal gland impaction is when the ducts get blocked and do not allow for the normal excretion of the gland contents. This causes the content to build up and the glands become swollen and sore.

Why does it happen?

The most common reason for this is the blockage of the glands’ ducts with fecal material. This often happens due to poor gut health or inadequate diet.

Loose stools can lead to anal gland impaction, which then causes inflammation, infection and in serious cases abscessation and fistulation.

These are very uncomfortable for your dog. In some cases anal gland blockage can happen due to food allergies.

In these cases switching your dog to a monoprotein or hypoallergenic diet, or allergy medication, will be the solution. Only your vet can accurately determine what is the root cause of your dog’s impaction and help you resolve the problem.

Don’t all dogs need anal gland expression?

It is true that many dogs need anal gland expression at some point in their lives. Some even need it to be done on a regular basis.

While there are some patterns associating certain breeds with anal gland problems, these associations are not clearly supported by science and statistics.

It is certainly NOT a normal thing for healthy individuals, and anal gland impaction needs to be tackled and management by a veterinarian and treated as the medical problem that it is.

How do I recognize if my dog has an anal gland problem?

Common symptoms shown by dogs having anal gland problems are:

  • Scooting their behind on the floor, carpets, or grass.
  • Biting and excessive licking around the anal area.
  • Straining and difficulty while defecating.
  • Bad smell coming from your dog.

While these symptoms can be a sign of anal gland problems, there are other conditions and diseases that can show similar symptoms.

It is always important to ask for your trusted veterinarian’s opinion when you see your dog showing some or all of these symptoms.

Do anal glands need to be expressed or cleaned?

Anal glands do not need to be expressed or cleaned in healthy dogs. However, dogs suffering from anal gland issues do need a helping hand (or in this case finger) to relieve the pressure in their anal glands and dislodge the impaction.

Veterinarians are trained in the correct procedure- please do not try this at home!

You risk injuring your dog (and/or getting a faceful of anal gland secretion) if done incorrectly. It is not rare that dogs suffer from anal gland issues throughout their life. 

Will a change of diet resolve an existing anal gland impaction?

No. A change of diet might help prevent the incidence of future impactions but will do very little to relieve existing ones.

Unfortunately, existing impactions can only be examined and resolved by your vet manually.

fluffy dog butt

What can I do to prevent anal gland issues?

As I said multiple times throughout the article: anal gland impaction should not be taken lightly and needs medical attention.

I have seen many animals walk into my consult room feverish and lethargic because of an infection of the anal glands that started as a simple anal gland impaction.

The old adage of “prevention is better than cure” holds well for anal gland issues. Ask your vet to check your dog’s anal glands when going for a check up.

Avoid meat only or meat rich diets as these have been associated with anal gland impaction due to reduced stool bulk.

Make sure that your dog is not suffering from frequent or prolonged episodes of loose stool as these can also result in anal gland impaction.

Weight loss can also help with prevention of anal gland impaction as excessive weight and chronic anal gland issues often come hand in hand. 

How can a high fiber dog food help?

A fiber rich diet hardens and adds bulk to your dog’s stool. This will help prevent impaction of the anal glands and help express them naturally through the consistency and bulk of your dog’s stools.

The Bottom Line

I hope you found the above list of what I think are the best diets for anal gland problems. 

Many veterinarians have a good success rate using the above veterinary diets to prevent anal gland impaction. However, unless your dog is suffering from chronic anal gland problems or needs to lose a significant amount of weight the above products that can be found in regular pet shops are often enough to help with the problem.

My experience mainly lies with using Royal Canin, Purina and Hill’s products which have been invaluable tools in my line of work.

The Blue Buffalo products mentioned above contain all the ingredients needed to tackle anal gland issues. As much as I would like to try them, I have no personal experience with using these products and therefore can’t personally endorse their efficacy. 

 I am not aware of any complete dog food that is specifically formulated to deal with anal gland issues. Like many vets I am confident that these diets have the necessary properties to deal with this specific issue and the underlying one. 

Save 30% on your next dog food order!

We have partnered with Chewy.com to offer the best deal on high quality dog food to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.