There are certainly many “Why does my dog…?” questions out there. Some of these queries sound hilarious, but in fact, they are serious questions that deserve serious answers.
Which brings us to today’s question: “Why does my dog scoot his butt across the floor?” This topic never really fascinated me, until I learned a little more on the subject. I always had two possible answers: (1) He was scratching an itch; or (2) He was cleaning his butt (sometimes on the carpet). Ugh!
Upon researching, I have discovered there are many reasons a dog might be dragging his rear end across a floor.
A small percentage of dogs suffer anal-area discomfort because of tapeworms, according to The Dog Bible. If you notice white rice-sized bits in your pet’s poop, take a sample to your veterinarian for testing. He can provide you with the right medication to kill the worms, as well as recommend a different flea control method to prevent reinfection, as fleas are a crucial factor in a tapeworm’s life cycle.
Other reasons for the “scooting” practice in dogs could be allergies or gastrointestinal parasites, either of which can be taken care of by your vet.
Yet another reason: something could be stuck in the anus, unable to exit when the dog has a bowel movement. A gross example: My son was walking his basset hound, when he noticed the dog scooting his bottom across the sidewalk. After a brief inspection of the situation, my son noticed pieces of a plastic shopping bag hanging from the hound’s butt. My son had no choice but to pull it out himself. Although there was a little yelping — probably from both parties — during the process, they had an enjoyable walk the rest of the way.
Anal Sac Problems
The most common reason a dog scoots, however, is that the dog’s anal glands have gotten full, becoming very uncomfortable. These glands are grape-sized sacs located around the canine’s anus. The sacs produce an oily, strong-smelling liquid (which in the wild serves for territorial marking). A dog sometimes needs help in emptying the glands, so he slides across the ground. In some dogs, the sacs become infected.
Treatments for anal sac problems in dogs:
- Manual expression of the glands. You can ask your vet to teach you how to do this — although, personally, I would rather just pay the vet or a groomer to perform this task.
- Give your pet one teaspoon of Metamucil mixed with a little water into a high-fiber dog food.
- Give your pet some high-fiber breakfast cereal (like Fiber One or All Bran), one teaspoon for every 10 pounds of his weight.
Video Demonstrating Anal Sac Expression
Here is a video lesson from Andrew Jones, DVM, with quite possibly the world’s most understanding dog:
It is true that you can learn something new every day. I now have an altogether different view of “Why does my dog scoot his butt across the floor?”
- VetStreet: Why does my dog… scoot his butt along the floor?
- Pete Wedderburn, veterninarian: Dog scooting along ground
- Family Vet: Intestinal parasites
If you have a “Why Does…?” question about your pet, feel free to ask us.