dog scooting

Key takeaway

Butt scooting can be damaging to your dog’s health (and your carpet). If your dog drags its hind end across the floor, it can leave bacteria, foul odors, and sometimes fecal matter on your carpet. If your dog can’t empty its anal sacs by scooting, the fluid will continue to build up and develop an abscess. If an abscess grows, your dog will need veterinary care.

We’ve all seen our dogs scoot before, and it can be undeniably humorous and sometimes embarrassing - especially if your pup decides to scoot their behind along a friend or family’s carpet, instead of your own.

However, dog scooting isn't just cringe-worthy for you as an owner; it’s also a sign of discomfort for your pooch. Generally, dogs scoot because they’re experiencing some sort of discomfort that’s typically related to anal gland issues, allergies, or irritation.

In this article, we’ll dive more into why dogs scoot, the consequences of butt scooting, common causes, and more.

The Consequences of Butt Scooting

Butt scooting isn’t just uncomfortable and embarrassing to look at, it can also be damaging to your home and your dog. Dog scooting can leave bacteria, foul odors, and sometimes fecal matter on your floor. If they can’t empty the anal sacs by scooting, the fluid will continue to build up and can become an anal sac abscess. These need veterinary care, sedation, lance and drain, and antibiotics.

 For the sake of your home and your dog, if you notice your dog scooting, bring them to the vet ASAP so that you can figure out the proper course of treatment.

Common Causes of Dog Scooting

In order to stop your dog from scooting, it’s important to determine the primary cause of their discomfort. A dog will likely scoot if they’re experiencing pain or discomfort around their anal glands, and the scooting is an attempt to relieve it.

dogs generally scoot if they’re experiencing pain or discomfort around their anal glands

Dogs have two anal sacs located on either side of the anus, and these sacs contain a foul smelling liquid that is released when they defecate. This liquid is meant to be used as a biomarker for other animals. But, if your dog’s anal sacs don’t empty by themselves, fluid builds up. This can result in infection and irritation that can be quite uncomfortable for your pup. So, dogs will scoot their butts on the floor or ground if they are experiencing discomfort, whether that be pain or itching. 

In addition to anal gland problems, there are a variety of other reasons as to why your dog is scooting their butt, such as: 

  • Internal parasites, such as tapeworms: Parasites may cause itching and irritation around the anus. You may spot segments of worms in your dog’s feces, anus, or on their bedding. Parasites can cause irritation and itching around your dog’s anus, which can cause them to scoot. If you suspect your dog has parasites, bring them to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Food allergies: If your dog is eating a diet that encourages soft, watery bowl movements, they may be unable to expel fluid from their anal sacs properly. If your dog has any food allergies, it could cause them to have diarrhea, which in turn could be causing them to scoot as an attempt to relieve discomfort around their anus. Adding fiber into their diet can help if this is the case, but your vet can best advise on diet changes. Some other symptoms of allergies in dogs include paw chewing, chronic ear infections, and vomiting. If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, bring them to the vet so you can figure out what they’re allergic to.
  • Neoplasia (cancer): This refers to an abnormal growth of cells around your dog’s anus. Only a veterinarian can properly examine and diagnose your dog with neoplasia. 
  • Trauma to anal sacs: If your dog is injured during roughhousing, a fight, or through some other means, there may be trauma near their anal sacs, which can be a serious medical condition. If you suspect your dog has been injured, seek veterinary advice immediately.

Other Symptoms to Watch for If Your Dog is Scooting

To see if your dog’s anal sacs are infected or irritated, lift their tail. Sacs should be barely visible when working properly. However, if they are obviously swollen or look larger than normal, it’s essential that you get your pet to the vet as soon as possible. 

 when working properly, your dog’s anal sacs should be barely visible

Some other symptoms to watch for if your dog is scooting include:

  • Worms or white specks in their feces or anal area
  • Matted fur in their anal area
  • Biting or licking of the anal area
  • Foul odor from the anal area
symptoms to watch for in your dog’s anal area if they’re scooting

How to Treat a Dog That Keeps Scooting

Treating your dog’s scooting ultimately depends on what is causing it. Avoid using home remedies for scooting unless instructed by a veterinarian, as this can exacerbate the situation. If your dog is in pain or discomfort, always seek out professional vet treatment.

Home Remedies for Dog Scooting

Note: These remedies should only be utilized with direction from a veterinarian.

  • Change their diet: You should prioritize feeding your dog a high-quality diet so that their stool is firm enough to empty the anal glands. A well-balanced diet also ensures your dog maintains a healthy weight, which decreases their chances of developing anal gland problems which could lead to scooting.
  • Manage parasites with flea medication: If your dog has parasites that’s causing them to scoot, it’s important to have the right flea medication because tapeworms come from fleas. Dutch’s network of trained veterinarians will be able to diagnose your pup with parasites and prescribe them the medication they need to get better.
  • Add fiber to your dog’s diet: Increasing your dog’s fiber intake can help with anal gland problems and digestive issues. You can up their fiber intake by feeding them fiber supplements or by adding oats or cooked brown rice to their meals.

Vet Treatment for Dog Scooting

  • Antibiotics: If your dog is suffering from an infection that’s causing them to scoot, your vet will likely prescribe antibiotics to treat it. 
  • Anti-inflammatory medication: Swelling is often a symptom of dog scooting, and so to bring it down, your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Dewormer: In the event of parasites, your vet will likely prescribe medication, such as a dewormer, to treat them.

My Dog is Scooting: Frequently Asked Questions

How do you treat a scooting dog?

Once you’ve determined why your dog is scooting, then you can take the proper steps to treat it. Only your veterinarian can appropriately diagnose the primary cause of your pup’s discomfort. This can include increasing their fiber intake or changing their diet. In more serious cases, your vet will likely suggest putting them on some sort of medication to treat the infection or parasites that’s causing them to scoot.

Is dog scooting serious?

A dog scooting their butt is very common, and in many cases, may be easily remedied. However, it’s always a good idea to see your vet if your dog is scooting so they can rule out more serious issues, such as trauma or parasites.

When should I take my dog to the vet for scooting?

If your dog continues to scoot for an extended period of time,  their glands are enlarged, or  they’re having bloody discharge, take them to the vet. If this issue is left untreated, the impacted anal glands can become infected and rupture.

What causes a dog to scoot?

There are many situations that can cause a dog to scoot, such as irritation, trauma, allergies, and parasites. 

Final Notes

If your dog is scooting, it’s important to get them the care they need quickly. Dutch is a convenient solution for pet care, and connects pet owners with licensed veterinarians right from the comfort of their own home. Dutch vets can help with everything from how to train a dog to stop barking to finding treatment for puppy separation anxiety.

Dutch vets are knowledgeable on a myriad of pet care topics and can provide key insights on topics ranging from diabetes in dogs to anxiety management, so you can rest assured that your pup will get the proper care they need. All you have to do is sign up online and you’ll be connected with Dutch-affiliated veterinarians. Schedule an online consultation today and get your dog the treatment they need so they can be back to their happy and healthy selves, as quickly as possible.