Scooting, otherwise known as “rubbing” or “dragging” is a behaviour performed by dogs to relieve irritation around the anus by dragging their bottom on the ground. Here are some reasons why dogs may be irritated in this area.
Impacted or infected anal glands
Dogs have two small glands that sit on either side of the rectum called anal glands. These anal glands empty a foul-smelling, liquid through small channels into the rectum during defecation.
Animals in the wild can voluntarily empty these glands to mark their scent or as a self-defence mechanism. However, domestic animals have limited ability to voluntarily empty their anal glands.
Sometimes, these glands can become blocked or impacted and cause irritation and pain. As a result, dogs will scoot their anus on the ground to relieve the irritation. Reasons for impacted glands include anatomy, diet and medical conditions.
Please bring your dog to our veterinarians to express the anal glands. There is also the risk of abscesses forming on the outer area of the rectum or ruptured glands if the anal gland impaction is left untreated.
Irritation around the anus can also be caused by intestinal parasites like tapeworms. Tapeworm segments can remain in faeces or around the anus and look like rice grains. Tapeworms are usually spread by fleas and most common worming tablets may only be effective against roundworms and not tapeworms.
Please ensure your dog is regularly wormed and treated for fleas to avoid a tapeworm infection.
Allergies can cause irritation and inflammation over your dog’s body, including the skin surrounding the anus and tail. Therefore, dogs may scoot to find relief from that irritation. Skin allergies require your veterinarian’s diagnosis and treatment, as there are many causes of allergies.
As you can see, there are many reasons why your dog may be scooting. Anal glands that are full, can be expressed by our veterinarians. However, if left untreated, it can lead to abscesses or ruptured anal glands. If you are concerned about your dog scooting, please see our veterinarians to get to the bottom of the problem!