Pawsh-Magazine-impacted-dog-anal-glands-1In February while out for a walk with Rory I noticed a small lump on her rear end. Upon closer inspection I decided it looked like an unfortunate spider bite so thought nothing of it. Then later that same day while giving her a bath I noticed that the small lump had swollen up at an alarming rate to the size of a golf ball!

Not sure what to make of it, my guy and I rushed her to the 24-hour emergency vet clinic. The vet told us that she had an impacted anal gland and that if we hadn’t brought her in when we did it would have ruptured.

The vet had to take Rory in for a procedure to lance the glands (yes, both, because by this time the second one was also swelling) and listening from the waiting room to my sweet little dog yelp and scream as it was done* I cried. I felt so guilty, so helpless – why did this happen? Could it have been prevented? (*despite numbing the surrounding area, draining an impacted gland is still quite uncomfortable and scary for a dog.)
Impacted anal glands were something I was completely unaware of, so once Rory was completely recovered and off her medication, I reached out to Dr. Aleksandra Milaszewska MS, DVM of Queen West Animal Hospital in Toronto for an interview about this condition. Here are her professional thoughts and advice:

1) What are the dangers of an impacted or infected anal gland?
Anal glands can get big enough to literally block the stool from coming out. While they won’t be able to render the dog not being able to defecate completely, it makes for a painful and a very unpleasant experience for them. Once the glands get very full, the contents are thick and cannot empty themselves, so anal glands will physically rupture through the skin, which is extremely painful and often bleeds.
Pawsh-Magazine-impacted-dog-anal-glands-32) What are some common causes of this ailment?
No one seems to know for sure and there is no scientific proof of any theories out there as to what causes impacted anal glands. We suspect diet and genetic predisposition, but nothing has been definitively proven right or wrong. I do tend to see this more commonly and to a more serious extent in obese dogs, but that is just what I am personally seeing in my practice. This in no way means that impacted anal glands do not effect dogs of normal body condition.

3) What are the signs of an impacted anal gland?
Signs can be scooting on the floor, chewing, licking, defecating soft and ribbon like stools. However, sometimes there are no signs until the glands swell, rupture and are bleeding.
Pawsh-Magazine-impacted-dog-anal-glands-44) What are the dangers of an anal gland that erupts?
Ruptured anal glands are painful, infected and swollen. Usually the hole in the skin that the glands make while rupturing is large and may need surgical cleaning and closure. If an infection goes on too long, I have seen them getting necrosis all the way into the muscle layer which requires a major surgery. Difficulty defecating is another problem as it may be too painful to poo.

5) What can owners do to prevent this condition?
Since we don’t know what causes it, it is hard to say what to do to prevent it. There is some anecdotal evidence that increasing fiber in a dog’s diet helps. I have seen it work, but not in all dogs. The best thing to do is to be vigilant as to signs of a problem and check the glands regularly if you think something may be wrong or you know that your dog is prone to this problem.

With Rory, we still don’t know what caused her impacted anal glands. But in an effort to prevent a recurrence, I have boosted her daily fiber intake and I take her to the vet about once a month just to have her glands checked out – it’s a quick two minute exam and helps to keep my mind at ease.
Pawsh-Magazine-impacted-dog-anal-glands-5I would also recommend that you specifically ask your vet to check your dog’s anal glands whenever you take them in for their yearly checkup, as some vets do not automatically check during the physical.

Needless to say, it was an extremely scary experience and one that I do not wish for anyone, so please keep an eye on your dog’s rear end. It sounds funny, but it is actually a serious issue.

{Special thanks to Dr. Aleksandra Milaszewska for speaking with Pawsh about this ailment and to the wonderful Tonya Pet Photography for the adorable photography,}

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BK-LOL-Beef-500x500 BK-LOL-Chicken-228x228 BK-LOL-Peanut-new-500x500It’s been a long time since I’ve found a wholesome, hearty dog treat that has knocked my socks off, which is why I just had to share with you the LOL (Lick-out-loud) Dog Treats from Buddy’s Kitchen. I picked up a bag of the Yummy Chicken treats last week for Lucy’s training and both she and Rory are bonkers for them!


Reason #1
They are all natural, wheat free dog treats — two things that are extremely important for good canine health and diet. I feel good giving my fur monsters treats that are bursting with natural goodness — plus they are low-cal, which is ideal for training.

Reason #2
They are local! At least, they are local if you live in Toronto. The Buddy’s Kitchen headquarters are in Aurora, ON. Nothing makes me happier than being able to support small businesses, especially ones that are a hop, skip and a jump away from where I call home. Locally made — how refreshing! Plus, the name of these treats is absolutely adorable, don’t you think?

Reason #3
These treats are produced in small batches, which means there is a greater quality control ensuring that our pets are getting the best! How wonderful is that? In a world dominated by mass-production at every turn, having something artisanally made for our dogs is a welcome change.

I would highly recommend these dog treats for any occasion, whether you want to further your dog’s training, reinforce what they already know or just spoil, knowing that each tasty bite is packed with nutrients.

Visit Buddy’s Kitchen today for their great selection and free shipping on orders over $50. And for behind-the-scenes fun, take a peek at their Instagram feed. So fun!



Green-pet-products-Pawsh-Magazine-1 How green is your pet? It’s not a new question by any means, but it is a consideration worth revisiting every year, as the environment impacts us all (whether we have two legs or four!) With spring officially here and almost in full swing, what better time to explore this matter. Consider it a bit of a spring cleaning do-over to help your pet reduce his environmental pawprint. Here we go! (more…)


Pet-Safety-Puppy-Checklist-Pawsh-Magazine-1Now that spring has arrived, many people may be planning to add a puppy to their family unit. While the precious little babes may seem like low maintenance, the truth is they require a lot of preparation and care. So here’s a brief checklist for first time puppy parents that overviews some important things to keep in mind before puppy comes home.

This cannot be stressed enough. Researching puppy care in general, as well as the care required by its specific breed, is number one. Different breeds come with different needs which an expectant puppy parent should know about.

Keep a couple of reputable puppy books on your coffee table, or bookmark some informative blogs and websites on your computer, so that you can easily turn to a reliable source if faced with an unknown when your ball of fluff arrives. Be prepared to tackle house training, teething, exercise needs, nutrition and more all at once. Taping your local vet’s emergency telephone number to the fridge isn’t a bad idea either — just in case.

Pet-Safety-Puppy-Checklist-Pawsh-Magazine-2Puppies like to put anything and everything in their mouths, so be sure to put anything that is potentially harmful out of puppy’s reach. Tape down wires and cover electrical sockets. Put baby gates across stairs so your puppy cannot fall down and injure themselves, and put away any rugs or valuable items in your home that might get broken.

Your puppy is going to need a place to call their own, a safe place to hideaway and sleep when they want to. Introducing your puppy to a crate at an early age is a good idea so that they are comfortable and can be left in it when you have to go out. This will help keep them safe and out of mischief when you’re not around to supervise.

Pet-Safety-Puppy-Checklist-Pawsh-Magazine-4Yes, puppies need a special form of dog food. Visit your local pet shop ahead of time and choose a kibble that suits your puppy’s age. Talk to the sales clerk if you are unsure.

Puppies have little mouths with little teeth that need to be worked, so be sure to have a few toys in the house for them to play with. It is important to get toys that are designated as ‘suitable for puppies’ because these will be designed specifically for little ones who are just growing into their chompers. Puppy chew toys especially will help them when it comes time for teething.

Pet-Safety-Puppy-Checklist-Pawsh-Magazine-3Just like babies, puppies are a lot of work and demand a lot of attention. Sometimes, as the doting parent, you’ll need an afternoon or an evening out to clear your head and recharge your batteries. Or sometimes you have to travel for work and run out to unexpected meetings. Thus it’s a good idea to have a reliable puppy babysitter on speed-dial for those hectic times, somebody who can lend a hand and help you ensure that puppy is getting only the best.

As a first time puppy owner there is a lot to take in. Enrolling in a puppy obedience class never hurts, because you will have access to an expert trainer who will teach you how to train your puppy and communicate effectively with them. Plus, it is an opportunity to socialize your puppy with other dogs their age and provides them with a new exciting experience.

*** For any concerns regarding proper puppy care, be sure to consult a qualified veterinarian.***

Bringing home a puppy to a well-prepared home is a magical experience like none other. What was your first day home with your puppy like? We’re dying to know and relive some precious puppy moments!

{Photography by Pawsh Studio}


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