You’re likely familiar with the scene: you’re sitting in the living room with a few visitors, and suddenly your dog starts dragging his butt across the carpet. Is he doing it to show off? Is he trying to scratch an out-of-reach itch? Is he trying to embarrass you in front of your guests? Is he trying to tell you something?
If your dog is an occasional scooter, he’s not alone. This cringe-worthy, oddly entertaining dog behavior is common among dogs. Just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s necessarily normal or healthy, though. In fact, it’s probably a sign that your dog could use some assistance relieving his discomfort.
Why Do Dogs Scoot?
When your dog drags his butt across the carpet, ground, or lawn, it’s typically a sign that he’s feeling uncomfortable, itchy, or irritated.
Some possible reasons behind Fido’s discomfort include:
Anal Sac Issues
Anal sacs, or anal glands, are located on your dog’s rear end. They contain a smelly substance that is released when your dog poops; this helps dogs mark territory and communicate with each other through smell.
Most dogs are naturally empty their anal sacs when they poop, while others need some assistance from their owners or professional groomers in order to express the glands. Sometimes, the anal sacs can become blocked or clogged, causing them to become swollen and uncomfortable.
Dogs will often scoot across the floor in order to relieve the discomfort that comes with clogged or injured anal sacs.
Your dog’s discomfort could also be caused by itchy skin related to food allergies or seasonal allergies. In order to scratch an out-of-reach itch, your pooch may resort to using the textured carpet or ground for assistance.
Food allergies (or poor diet) can also lead to digestive issues. If your dog’s loose or watery bowel movements aren’t providing enough pressure to properly empty the anal sacs, then diet may be to blame for your dog’s scooting habits.
Your dog may also be scooting as a result of skin irritation caused by grooming. Dogs with sensitive skin are especially susceptible to skin irritation from grooming products, such as shampoo residue left behind after a bath.
Alternatively, the culprit may be as simple as a piece of poop or debris stuck to your dog’s bottom, and the scooting is an attempt to remove the bothersome object. If you’re able to assist with removal and your dog stops dragging his butt, you’ve likely found a quick fix.
Another reason behind your dog’s scooting could be intestinal parasites—such as tapeworms—which can cause itching and irritation around your dog’s anus.
If your pooch seems to have an itchy behind along with tiny wiggling or rice-like pieces in his poop or left behind on his bed, he may be dealing with tapeworms. If you suspect that your dog may have worms, contact your vet immediately to address the issue.
Getting To The Bottom Of The Issue
If your dog scooting doesn’t seem to fix the issue (such as removing a leaf or twig from his bum), you may want to do some investigating.
Put on gloves, and gently lift your dog’s tail. Check for any stuck objects, swelling, discharge, evidence of worms, or signs of injury. If you’re able to easily remove a stuck object, such as a piece of poop, that may be the extent of the issue. Otherwise, you may need to see a vet for next steps.
If you notice a foul, fishy-smelling smell, it may a tell-tale sign of anal sac issues. Difficulty defecating could also be an indicator that your dog is feeling discomfort in his rear end.
If you’re not able to resolve the issue and your dog is persistently scooting, licking or chewing the area, or showing any signs of discomfort, it’s a good idea to visit the vet for a proper diagnosis.
Whether your dog is scooting or acting normal, it’s always important to feed Fido a healthy, well-balanced diet to promote his health from the inside out and get things moving smoothly. After all, diet and supplements can have a significant effect on your dog’s behavior.
For added digestive support, try some of Pet Honesty’s supplemental chews. Promote healthy digestion and nutrient absorption with Digestive Probiotics Chews, which add good bacteria and digestive enzymes to your dog’s system. In addition to balancing nitrogen in urine to reduce yellow grass spots, our Keep Grass Green Chews can improve your dog’s digestive system and encourage regular, healthy bowel movements.