Why Does My Dog Scoot?!

If you have ever owned a dog, chances are that you have seen him or her scoot their bum on the floor. Preferably the ground, but honestly, it always seems to be in the most inopportune areas of your house and in front of your dinner guests. YUCK!

So why on earth is your beloved pet performing this disgusting act?

Tip #1: Their anal glands are full.

Anal glands…yep, your dog has a pair of secretory glands nestled between their anal sphincter muscles (to be exact at the 4 and 8 o’clock regions of the anus). These glands typically excrete their content during a bowel movement. However, they will also excrete during times of stress or even relaxation. If you have caught an incidental whiff of these secretions, you certainly wouldn’t forget it because it has a very distinct nasty fishy odor. If these glands aren’t emptying as they should, they could be causing pressure or discomfort. Your pet may start to excessively licking and/or scooting their bum on just about anything. The carpet, the hardwood floor, the ground, or even the pavement have been known to be used by these uncomfortable pets.  Good news is that your trusted vet and their tech would be able to help your pet by simply expressing them. This is one of the most glamorous parts of being in the veterinary field… anal gland expressions. While wearing a pair of lubricated latex gloves, your vet will insert their index finger into the anus and apply gentle steady pressure to the gland to manually express it. Though this procedure isn’t particularly painful, it is likely uncomfortable to your pet. Using treats as a distraction and having the client patting the head as moral support to help aid in getting the job done as quick as possible. Some pets require monthly anal gland expressions due to faulty glands, while other dogs never need them to be expressed.  At times, these glands are surgically removed due to persistent infection/impaction/inflammation and even due to cancer.

Tip #2: They have worms.

Worms… yep, pretty gross to think about. Intestinal parasites are a very common issue in household dogs that a lot of clients do not typically think about. All puppies are born with roundworms. And when your dog goes outside, they are sniffing/licking/chewing on a lot

of random things from the ground. Dogs lick their feet, chew and roll on carcasses, dig and eat dirt, and they even lick their butt! EWWW! Your dog, regardless of being bathed weekly and only walking on your manicured yard, is at a HUGE risk to pick up intestinal worms from your yard.  Intestinal parasites can present a lot of different ways in your dog, including scooting their bum on the ground.

Tip #3: They have allergies.

Believe it or not, allergies are a very common reason for an itchy bum in your dog. An extremely frustrating condition affecting the vast majority of dogs, allergies can be from something in the environment or even from their food. Itchy ears and rears are a common presenting complaint about dogs affected by food allergies. Allergies can present at any age and any breed. Even though you have not changed your dog’s diet, food allergies commonly present later on in life even after years of ingesting the same food without previous problems! A hypoallergenic food trial may be advised as well as allergy medications to help alleviate your dog’s discomfort.

Bottom line… if your critter is scooting, it warrants a call to your trusted vet. During an exam, your vet will be able to use their expertise to help decipher why your pet is dragging their bum and how to help alleviate their discomfort and save your carpets!