If you’ve ever caught your dog in the act of scooting—or dragging his butt along the floor in a seated position—you know how cringe-worthy canine behavior can be.
When your dog scoots, he’s not just looking for a reaction. This oddly entertaining behavior could actually be your dog’s way of telling you that something doesn’t quite feel right.
Why Do Dogs Scoot?
Scooting is a relatively common behavior among dogs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s normal or healthy. When Fido scoots across the carpet, ground, or lawn (often accompanied by chewing or licking the area), he’s probably trying to scratch an itch or relieve soreness.
Common reasons for your dog’s scooting include:
Anal Sac Issues
Most dogs naturally empty their anal sacs when they poop, while others need some extra assistance from their owner, vet, or groomer.
Sometimes, those anal sacs can become blocked or clogged, leading to swelling and discomfort (not to mention an unpleasant fishy odor).
If your dog’s anal sacs aren’t emptied properly, fluid will continue to build up, leading to further discomfort and potentially more serious issues.
If your dog has irritated skin as a result of seasonal allergies, he may start scooting around on his butt in order to scratch an out-of-reach itch.
Food allergies or intolerances can also be a cause of scooting. If your dog’s bowel movements are too loose or watery to apply sufficient pressure for emptying the anal sacs, his diet may be to blame.
Intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms, can also be a culprit. Because they’re itchy and irritating when they leave the body through the anus, your pooch may scoot along the ground as he seeks relief.
Worms can often be detected in your dog’s poop, around his anus, or in his bedding. Even if you don’t see evidence of worms, though, it’s still a good idea to have your vet rule them out just to be sure.
Your dog’s behind can become irritated for a variety of other reasons, too. Perhaps he was nicked by a razor during a grooming session, or he’s having an allergic reaction to a certain shampoo.
If your pooch has recently been having bouts of diarrhea, the fur around his bottom could become dried, matted, and uncomfortable.
It’s also possible that the reason for your dog’s scooting behavior is as simple as needing to remove some debris stuck to his bottom—such as a twig, leaf, or piece of poop!
In some cases, scooting can be a sign of a neurological or mental health issue. If you notice any changes dog’s behavior or appearance, it’s always a good idea to contact your vet to rule out serious problems.
Putting a Stop to Your Dog’s Scooting Habits
Sometimes, your dog only needs to scoot for a little bit before he resolves the issue himself (such as removing some debris from his behind). If the scooting continues, though, you may want to take a closer look.
Put on some gloves and gently lift Fido’s tail to check for any debris, growths, worms, or signs of injury around the area. If you notice that unpleasant fishy smell, there’s a good chance that anal sac issues are to blame.
While applying a warm compress around the area can provide some relief, the best move is to call or visit your vet for a proper diagnosis. Depending on the reason for your dog’s scooting, common ways the vet may address it include:
- Expressing, or unclogging, the anal glands
- Prescribing antibiotics if the area has become infected
- Prescribing medications to help with food, environmental, or seasonal allergies
- Giving dewormers and flea medications
- Recommending a switch to new food
Whether your dog is a frequent scooter or not, it’s important to feed him a healthy, well-balanced diet packed with fiber and high-quality protein to promote his health from the inside out. The healthier his diet, the healthier his digestion; the healthier his digestion, the healthier his poop and, well, general “behind” area.
Supplements can also help. Pet Honesty’s Scoot Stopper Chews are packed with probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, and fiber to support the anal glands and promote healthy digestion overall. Your dog (and your carpet) will thank you!