Similar to humans, dogs are prone to digestive issues. Many digestive issues are directly related to the types of food your dog consumes. Food allergies or intolerance’s to certain ingredients or flavors can lead to. Alternatively, some dogs have digestive issues due to separation anxiety or being in unfamiliar places.

Upset Stomach - Painful Anal Gland Dogs

Moving May Have Created an Anxious State of Mind

A friend of ours has a German Shepherd named Ozzy. She said “my dog’s stomach is upset!” which was odd, because Ozzy never had stomach problems until they moved. After that, Ozzy started having loose stools. They tried changing to a natural brand food but that didn’t work.

Then they tried feeding Ozzy a bland diet of boiled chicken and white rice. This combination is recommended by Veterinarians when dogs have an upset digestive tract. Plain chicken provides a light form of protein while the white rice acts as a gentle binder in the stomach. Unfortunately, his digestive system was so inflamed that the chicken and rice didn’t work. The irritation spread to his anal glands. Ongoing digestive issues are not uncommon for German Shepherds.

Ozzy Sad - Upset Stomach

Signs of Upset Stomach and Anal Irritation

It became difficult and painful for Ozzy to climb up stairs. He had to be careful and limped to favor his rear side. He then started whimpering every time he had to go to the bathroom. Relieving himself was painful due to how irritated his anal area became. Whether from food or environmental reasons, digestive irritation occurs in many dogs. Dog owners are often able to nurse their pups bag to health with at-home treatments like the chicken and rice meal. Or by adding anti inflammatory ingredients to their food like ginger or pumpkin. Sadly, Ozzy was past this point and he had to go to the Vet.

Medication Can Help

According to the Vet Ozzy’s stomach became upset leading to an overactive digestive tract. His anus and anal glands became inflamed due to increased bowel movements. If not treated properly, irritated anal glands become infected. Ozzy was put on an antibiotic to treat the infected inflamed anal glands. Small dogs receive a smaller dose and bigger dogs receive a larger dose. Stronger doses mean more medicine and higher costs. Along with an antibiotic, Ozzy also took a low dose pain killer to ease his pain. The pain killers allowed him to go to the bathroom with less pain.

The combination of pain killers and antibiotics will eliminate the infection and pain but it doesn’t last forever. The Vet said there was approximately a 40% chance his stomach and anal glands could become upset again. This is more likely since there wasn’t a specific incident that upset his stomach (for example: eating a whole chocolate cake). Ozzy is getting an upset stomach because he is prone to stomach issues then it is likely to happen again. In this case, the dog is diagnosed with anal gland disease. This causes multiple trips to the bathroom. Their rate of elimination doesn’t allow the anus area to rest.

If Ozzy experiences more infections then he will receive a monthly medication. Medications will keep his stools regular and prevent his anal glands from becoming infected. The downside of the medication is that it’s expensive. In our area (New England) the medication costs $500 per month. This price isn’t feasible for many households. Option B is surgery. Surgery will be more expensive but it will be a one time cost versus a monthly medication expense. We will keep our fingers crossed for Ozzy’s health!

Be Mindful of Your Dogs Health

Always be aware of your dog and their daily routine. Dogs are creatures of habit. Any unusual changes can mean your dog needs special care or medical attention. How your dog walks, eats, groans, or goes to the bathroom can all be indicators of their health status.

Written on September 3rd, 2015
Updated on May 21st, 2019
Kimberly Mattar