Why is My Dog Scooting? A Carmel Vet’s Answer


As a Carmel vet, you get to hear all sorts of unusual questions from people about their pets.  A common one I hear almost everyday from dog owners is:  “Why is my dog scooting his butt on the ground?”  Even though this behavior is comical at times, it can be a sign of an underlying problem.  Although there are several reasons for this problem, the most common ones can easily be addressed.

1. Impacted Anal Glands.  Have you ever noticed why dogs always want to smell each others rear end?  Dogs have small sacs near their anus that contain a smelly liquid that acts a scent glands for the stool.  Some dogs tend to have difficultly expressing their anal sacs and if the material stays in place for a long time it hardens and becomes impacted.  This is uncomfortable for the dog, who tries to relieve the feeling by scooting.  Some succeed and you will know when they do, because the anal gland material has a very potent odor.  If the material is not expressed, it can become infected.  Anytime your dog is persistently scooting or biting around the based of their tail have your local Carmel vet express the anal glands.

2.  Allergies.  The most common reasons dogs itch in general are fleas, but the second and third are both allergies.  Dogs with allergies tend to have inflamed itchy skin especially ears, armpits, groin, between toes, and anal area.  If your dog is itchy in multiple places or has red, rashy skin call your local Carmel vet.

3.  Hygiene.  Dogs do not have toilet paper to wipe with after defecating.  A small amount of feces contains millions of bacteria which can cause local irritation around the anus.  Baby wipes can come in handy if this is a contributing factor for your dog.

4.  Recent grooming.  Because dogs that get groomed tend to have a lot of hair, groomers often use clippers to shave the area around the anus a little shorter.  This is commonly known as a “potty patch.”  This is a must for these dogs, but doing so can sometimes cause minor razor burn irritation.  Regular grooming every 4-6 weeks will make it easier to keep trimmed without any razor burn.

5.  Intestinal Worm Parasites.  Dogs who are infected with tapeworms will often scoot on the ground.  These tapeworms will crawl outside of the anus looking like a small white caterpillar then drying up and looking like a piece of brown rice.  They are caused by eating a flea most of the time, so if you are seeing tapeworms, look for fleas as well.

Scooting once in a while can be normal for dogs, but if it is persistent call your Carmel vet and we will treat the issue and form a plan to reduce scooting in the future.  For more information on our Caring Hands Compassionate Hearts, click on the link to Carmel Vet.

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