Rear view of brown Feist dog in the woods

How to Help Dog Express Glands With RMBs

Did you know that RMBs aka raw meaty bones help your dog express glands?

Yep, there’s something specific in RMBs that naturally helps your dog’s anal glands function properly.

And in this blog post, I’ll explain what that is and how it works.

And it sure does work, because all my dogs ate RMBs and never had or have any anal gland issues.

Besides that, I’ll also dive into what anal glands are in the first place, and what symptoms to look out for that indicate that a dog’s glands are full.

Ready? Let’s go.

How to Help Dog Express Glands With RMBs

Rear view of a brown dog on a walk

First Things First – What Are Dog Anal Glands?

So, dog anal glands are small sacs that produce a unique fluid. This fluid serves as a form of communication for dogs and helps them mark their territory and identify each other.

Now, every time a dog poops, a small amount of this liquid is released, and that leaves a distinct scent behind on your dog’s poop.

It’s unique to every pup, just like every human has unique fingerprints.

Dogs can tell EVERYTHING there is to know about another dog just from sniffing their poop!

It’s gross and fascinating all at once!

As far as where they sit, the anal glands are located on either side of your dog’s rectum.

That’s the final portion of the large intestine or colon in your dog’s digestive system.

It’s essentially the last stop before waste is expelled from their body, in other words: right before they poop.

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How Do You Tell If Your Dog’s Glands Are Full?

When anal glands become impacted or infected, they’re too full and make your pup itchy and uncomfortable.

So when you see your dog do any of the behaviors that I list below, your dog’s anal glands aren’t working properly and need to be expressed:

  • Scooting
  • Painful poops
  • Bloody poops
  • Licking or biting at their anal area

Another good indicator is a fishy dog smell.

At this point, you can either schedule a vet visit or a groomer’s appointment for them to express your dog’s anal glands manually.

Tip: You can also try relieving your dog’s full anal glands with a fiber broth I read about on Dogs Naturally Magazine.

A vet helps dog express glands

Going forward, you can avoid having to do any of this and help your dog express glands naturally by including raw meaty bones in their diet.

That’s not only more comfortable and potentially less traumatic for your pup than having someone manually express them, it’s also less expensive for you!

The cost of an anal-gland expression grooming add-on is somewhere between $30 – $90, depending on your geographical location.

What Causes Dog Anal Glands Not To Express Themselves Naturally?

One more thing before I explain how RMBs help your dog in this area, and that’s understanding what prevents anal glands from working.

(1) Soft Poops

When your dog’s poop is consistently soft or lacks firmness, it doesn’t apply enough pressure on the anal glands to trigger natural expression.

Note that an acute case of diarrhea shouldn’t have any impact on your pup’s anal glands, but chronic diarrhea would.

(2) Dietary Factors

A poor kibble diet with cheap grains and fillers or insufficient fiber in your (raw) dog food can lead to irregular poops and interfere with the natural expression of your dog’s anal glands.

So if you don’t add any dietary fiber at all to your pup’s meals, consider looking into veggies or fur, fins & feathers as an add-on.

A raw-fed dog wearing a dog backpack stands in the background and someone holds a red poop bag with firm dog poop on the inside
Wally’s raw-fed, firm poop

(3) Obesity & Lack of Exercise

Also, if your dog is overweight and doesn’t exercise enough, they have reduced muscle tone around their anal area.

And that makes it more difficult for the glands to express naturally.

Click here to read my blog post on how to feed raw dog food for weight loss.

(4) Gland Issues

Last but not least, anal glands can become impacted, infected, or develop other problems that hinder normal expression.

Some dogs also have a genetic predisposition to anal gland issues.

For example, breeds like Pugs, Chihuahuas, Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds with naturally smaller anal sac openings or specific anatomical features.

And just in case you’re wondering – yes, small dogs can eat a raw meat diet including RMBs as well!

OK, let’s talk about raw meaty bones and their impact on anal glands next!

So, Do Bones Have Fiber?

Well no, bones don’t have any dietary fiber, so that’s not what helps dogs express glands.

But bones are naturally rich in calcium, which makes their poop firm!

Raw meaty duck bones in a clear glass bowl on a digital food scale
Weighing raw meaty duck bones

And on the way out of your dog’s digestive system, the firm poop applies pressure to the anal glands. That’s when the glands release their fluid onto the poop.

If you’ve ever fed your dog too much liver or other secreting organs and not enough bone, you’ll have noticed that your pup’s poops are soft.

When they are, they don’t help empty your dog’s anal glands. So adding the right amount of raw meaty bone is crucial!

Next up, let’s look at some examples of raw meaty bones you can feed to help your dog express anal glands.

Examples of RMBs That Help Your Dog Express Anal Glands

You can feed your dog raw poultry bones as well as bones from smaller animals like rabbits, lambs, pork as well as fishbones.

They make up around 10% of your adult dog’s raw diet, and about 17% for your puppy’s raw meals.

Common raw meaty bones from poultry include the following:

  • Chicken necks, heads, quarters, backs, wings and feet
  • Duck necks, heads, frames, wings and feet
  • Turkey necks and heads
  • Whole quails

Common raw meaty bones from other small animals are:

  • Rabbit heads, legs and ribs
  • Lamb heads and ribs
  • Pork feet and ribs
  • Frog legs

Click here to learn how to safely feed your dog raw meaty bones.

Brown Feist dog sitting in the yard looking up at a hand holding a raw pig foot to help the dog express glands
Wally about to eat a raw pig’s foot

You can also feed your dog whole fish including the raw fishbones. For example, raw mackerel, herring, sardines and salmon.

Click here to learn more about how to feed raw fish for dogs.

How To Help Dog Express Anal Glands: Bottom Line

So, properly functioning dog anal glands produce a unique fluid that’s added onto their poop.

When your dog’s anal glands aren’t working properly, your pup can have a hard time pooping along with blood in their stool.

They’re also likely to scoot their butt on the ground in an attempt to relieve their full itchy glands.

The fastest help you can offer them is to manually express their glands, or have a vet or groomer do it for you.

To avoid this scenario altogether, simply include raw meaty bones (ground or whole) in your dog’s diet.

Since they’re naturally rich in calcium, this firms up your dog’s poop, rubs against the glands and makes them release their fluid.

When you include RMBs in your dog’s diet, make sure to only feed them RAW and never cook them.

Why? Because cooking turns them brittle, and that’s when they can break and become dangerous.

Any questions about RMBs?

Please leave them in the comment section below this blog post for myself or others in this community to answer.

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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