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What Causes Dog Scooting on the Floor?

Updated on April 22, 2013
Dog scooting isn't the new doggy sport!
Dog scooting isn't the new doggy sport! | Source

Just for laughs: video of scooting dogs

What in the World is Dog Scooting?

You may have seen videos of dogs scooting their bottoms on the floor for laughs, but when it comes to dog scooting, there's really not much to laugh about. If you never heard about or seen a dog scooting, you may think it's some sort of a new doggy sport. While the mental image of a dog scooting on the finish line may be quite funny to imagine, if you are an informed dog owner, you know it may be time to see your vet if your pampered pooch is doing it more than you would like.

So what is dog scooting, and why does it happen? Scooting is when a dog drags his back legs on the ground and moves ahead this way. Dogs often do this on grass, dirt, and yes, your favorite rug or carpet. Often they seem to do this at the most inopportune times, such as when you have elegant and classy guests over or when you're having chocolate mousse as dessert.

This behavior is instinctive, meaning that your dog doesn't have to learn how to do this, it will just pop out of nowhere the day your dog feels the need to do it. If you are upset about the behavior, hold your horses! Don't be so fast to scold your puppy for dragging his bum on the floor; there are many reasons why dogs scoot and we'll look over some of the most common causes. Instead of scolding, try to figure out what may be happening and take proper action. Your dog and carpet will thank you!

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So Why is Your Dog Dragging His Bottom?

So if scooting is not a doggy sport, why in the world are dogs dragging their bottoms on the ground? Logically speaking, it looks like perhaps something is itching down there. It makes sense after all, deprived from hands, dogs have two choices when it comes to an itchy bottom: using their teeth or dragging their bottoms. So what is causing the itching or irritation down there? There are several causes.

  • Anal Gland Issues

You may have never heard about dog anal glands, until your dog starts having problems with them. These are basically two glands located around your dog's rectum, precisely around the 4'0 clock and 8'0 clock position. The main purposes of these glands is to secrete a smelly, substance used to communicate with other dogs. Indeed, when Rover poops, these secretions are released which explains why dogs are so obsessed about sniffing poop.

However, if your dog's stools aren't firm enough, your dog may get impacted anal glands which cause the glands to fail to empty as they should and can get blocked, inflamed and even abscessed in severe cases. In an effort to empty the glands on his own, Rover may therefore, start licking and biting his bum and even scooting.You may sometimes even notice some local swelling and your dog may also have a hard time defecating. If your dog has success in emptying the glands on his own, rest assured you'll know it; anal gland secretions have a very strong fishy smell. Small dogs seem to be more predisposed to this problem than larger ones.

Depending on the severity of the impaction, your dog may recover on his own if you add some dietary fiber and apply warm compresses to the area. However, in some cases, your dog may need the anal glands to be expressed and in more severe cases a course of antibiotics if there's an infection.

  • Local Irritation

It doesn't hurt to check your dog's bottom for signs of irritation. In some cases, your dog may swallowed a strand of long human hair which may have made it's way out of the rectum with an attached stool particle, or it could be there's a blade of grass or some other foreign particle. In some cases, your dog may have had a bout of diarrhea and some poop may have stuck to the hair around the rectum causing irritation. In this case, removing the source of irritation solves the problem and in the case of diarrhea, trimming the excess dirty hair and then cleaning the area with some warm water may help.

Also, look for any wounds, skin irritations, rashes, abnormal discharges or abnormal growths. If you find any suspicious growths or lumps, have them seen readily by your veterinarian.

  • Tapeworms

In this case, your dog is dealing with annoying parasites that cause an itchy bum. In this case, you'll likely see what looks like worms shaped like grains of rice exiting the dog's rectal area. However, in reality, these are not actual worms per se, but segments of a bigger worm living inside your dog. For more on tapeworms, and graphic pictures see my hub on dog tapeworms.

To get rid of tapeworms, you'll have to get a special medication from your vet, that you won't likely find in your dog's flea, tick and parasite department of your pet store. However, you may find tapeworm medications online. Removing tapeworms from your dog's environment, requires also careful removal of any fleas since dogs get tapeworms from ingesting an infected flea.

Disclaimer: this article is not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your dog is scooting, please see your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. By reading this article, you accept this disclaimer.

Alexadry© all rights reserved, do not copy.

Veterinarian explains causes of scooting in dogs


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    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for stopping by Giblingirl, luckily my Rotties never had this problem, but I know many owners of smaller dogs who constantly need their dog's anal glands taken care of and scooting brings the issue to their attention.

    • GiblinGirl profile image

      GiblinGirl 4 years ago from New Jersey

      I've always wondered about this - thanks for the explanation.