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Why Do Dogs Drag Their Butts (Scooting)? Vet Answer

The sight of your dog dragging its butt over the floor may amuse you. It can also be quite embarrassing if it occurs in front of friends and guests.

This activity, usually known as "scooting," cannot be ignored. Scooting is an obvious sign that your dog is experiencing pain or discomfort in their hindquarters.

If it just occurs once or twice and then stops, it may be a temporary problem, such as a piece of dried feces trapped in the hair surrounding the anal region.

However, if the conduct occurs more frequently, it is indicative of a medical condition that must be treated. Let's get into the specifics in "Why Do Dogs Drag Their Butts (Scooting)? Vet Answer" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

What Medical Issues Can Cause a Dog to Scoot?

A dog may scoot if it has irritation, inflammation, soreness, or discomfort in the anus region. These are the most frequent reasons of this behavior.

1. Anal Sac Problems

Have you ever wondered why dogs like sniffing one another’s buttocks? Evidently, dogs have particular secretory glands that create a foul-smelling material that is highly appealing to their kind. This fluid drains into a pair of sac-like structures situated on opposite sides of the anus; these structures are known as anal sacs.

Similar to a biomarker, the odor released by the anal sacs is utilized to signal the existence of the dog to other canines. Under normal circumstances, the dog’s feces will cause the emptying of the sacs and the release of the odorous material with the stool.

However, if the stool is excessively soft, as in cases of diarrhea or if the dog has constipation, the contents are not expelled and might begin to accumulate. The accumulation of contents causes the sacs to become blocked.

Clogged sacs can cause pain, get infected, and even abscess. A dog that is scooting is attempting to cope with pain and discomfort. However, the act of scooting tends to exacerbate the problem, since irritation and germs from the ground contribute to inflammation and infection, creating a vicious cycle.

Obstructed Anal Sacs

Anal sacs that are obstructed must be expressed, preferably in a veterinary facility. Historically, dog groomers emptied the anal sacs as part of the standard grooming technique; however, it was discovered that this caused the sacs to lose muscular tone and the capacity to drain normally.

Anal sacs should not be handled needlessly. Therefore, it is not advised to manually express the anal sacs unless they are overfull and have enlarged. The sacs may be readily expressed by your veterinarian, thus it is a good idea for dog owners to check on this at each vet visit.

If the anal sacs are not swollen, groomers should avoid from physically emptying them; nonetheless, it is a good habit to examine them on every dog while grooming.

Pathogen-infected Annal Sacs

If the anal sacs have developed an infection, a veterinarian should be consulted. After extracting the glands, the veterinarian will clean with an antiseptic solution and then propose a course of oral antibiotics and antibiotic creams.

Abscessed uterine sacks

If the anal sacs have grown into an abscess, a veterinarian may need to incise and drain the abscess, or in extreme circumstances, a tiny surgical procedure would be required. Please do not postpone the veterinarian visit to prevent reaching such a dire situation.

Due to the stress and microorganisms drawn from the floor during scooting, untreated anal sac issues typically worsen if left untreated. Additionally, your floor or carpet will be contaminated with fecal germs or feces.

2. Parasites

Dogs afflicted with fleas become infected with tapeworms after consuming fleas carrying tapeworm larvae. This often occurs while they are self-grooming and scratching with their teeth. Flat and segmented parasites that induce a dog to scoot are tapeworms.

In certain circumstances, tapeworm segments, known as proglottids, can be observed in the canine anal region. They resemble rice grains and cause irritation or pain in the anal region. Each discharged segment contains around twenty tapeworm eggs.

A veterinarian should confirm the tapeworm infection with a fecal test and prescribe praziquantel for your dog’s deworming. You must also maintain your dog’s flea preventive regimen current to prevent reinfestations. Consult your veterinarian for an efficient method of flea control in the house.

In situations of blocked or infected anal sacs or parasite infestations, your scooting dog may likely bite or lick its anal region and rear end in an effort to alleviate pain and suffering.

3. Food Allergies

Food sensitivities and allergies result in gastrointestinal pain, bloating, and loose, watery stools. The mechanical pressure exerted by soft stool is insufficient to activate the anal glands to discharge their contents into the stool. As previously described in this article, overfilled anal sacs cause complications.

The stool consistency can be improved by adding fiber to the dog’s food; pure canned pumpkin, all-bran cereal, brown rice, beets, and carrots all work well.

You will still need to determine what your dog’s digestive system is sensitive to, which may be done by dietary changes or a full elimination diet in which the dog is fed minimal ingredient meals and items are added progressively in order to determine which ingredient is causing the problem.

A veterinarian should be able to devise a precise approach for identifying your dog’s sensitivities. In addition to dietary sources of fiber, you may supplement your dog’s diet with tasty commercial treats or powdered formulations that are simple to provide.

4. Irritation

If there has been a recent trip to the groomer, a change in shampoo, or the introduction of a new “dog perfume,” there is a good probability that the scooting is due to irritation induced by these items.

A dog that is irritated will often roll onto its back and scratch. If this is the case, use a hypoallergenic natural oat-based dog shampoo and request that groomers use only this product when bathing your dog. Avoid scents and use extreme caution while cutting and trimming your pet. Razor burns may be responsible for the irritation.

Other potential irritants include floor or carpet cleaning solutions, as well as those used to clean the dog’s bedding. Therefore, if there was a recent change of these items around the time the dog started scooting, consider exchanging them for the previous ones.



Why Do Dogs Drag Their Butts (Scooting)? Vet Answer” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has made it clear that a scooting dog may appear amusing or humiliating, but it is a clear indicator that something is causing pain or discomfort to your dog’s rear end.

After reviewing recent changes in cleaning solutions, it is advised to consult a veterinarian in order to rule out anal sac difficulties and parasites. The veterinarian will assist you find a solution to this problem based on the circumstances.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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