Have you ever seen your dog dragging his butt across the ground? The act is commonly known as “scooting” and is done in an attempt to alleviate an itch or irritation caused by anal gland issues. The first time I saw my Chihuahua scoot was about two years ago. First, it was outside on the grass and then, later that day, he dragged his booty across my living room carpet—those are two surfaces that dogs seem to choose.
Since scooting can be triggered by a number of different anal gland conditions, I immediately hopped in my car and drove to my vet. I kept praying it wasn’t worms or something worse. Turns out, Diego had swollen anal glands that needed to be drained—it’s pretty common. But, during my vet visit, I busted out my old news reporter skills and interviewed her about the common causes of scooting.
Four Reasons Dogs Scoot
1) Anal Sac Problems
Located internally on each side of your dog’s anus (at approximately 4 and 8 o’clock) are small pouches—they are called anal glands. They make a smelly, oily fluid used to identify each other and mark their territory. Usually, these glands drain themselves when they pass a healthy bowel movement of normal consistency. If they don’t empty properly, though, the anal glands can become inflamed, blocked, and abscessed. This causes a lot of discomfort for your canine cutie. So, in an attempt to relieve that discomfort, they will scoot their butt across the floor.
Scooting is one of the main signs of anal sac problems. Other signs include:
- Chewing or licking the area
- Swelling around the anus
- Trouble defecating
While you can learn to drain the anal glands yourself, it’s easier to have your vet or well-trained groomer do it for you.
Another reason dogs drag their butt on the ground is because they have tapeworms. Your pup can get infected by tapeworms if he swallows worm-infested fleas. If you find your dog scooting, check his rectum. If you see tiny, white, rice-like worms then your dog may have tapeworms. Check with your vet. Tapeworms are treatable with medication.
3) Rectal Prolapse
Rectal prolapse occurs when the final portion of the large intestine protrudes through the anus. When this occurs, you will actually be able to see your dog’s anal tissue and rectal lining sticking out of his anus. If your dog is experiencing rectal prolapse, get him checked by a vet immediately. Your vet may need to stitch your dog’s anus or perform surgery to prevent it from happening again.
If your dog has an anal gland tumor then their bottom will swell, causing major discomfort. In an attempt to relieve that discomfort, they will scoot their butts across the floor. If you think your dog may have an anal tumor, make sure to visit your vet ASAP.