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Why do dogs scoot?

Updated on February 6, 2010

What is scooting?

A scooting dog is really a funny sight. In most cases the dog would be whining while dragging its butt on the grass, rubbing its behind on furniture and on the carpet. The hind legs will be extended forward; the forelegs are used like crutches to move the body forward. It’s as if the dog is lame or has a serious back injury.

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Why do animals scoot?

Other animals scoot too but scooting is more prevalent in dogs. Scooting is more common in small and in medium sized dogs. Large breeds are seldom seen scooting. When a dog scoots it is only trying to ease the discomfort it feels in its anal area. The butt can be itchy due to worm infestation. The anus can be irritated due to prolonged diarrhea. The most common cause of scooting however is impacted anal glands.

What is an anal gland?

A dog has two anal glands that are located on both sides of the anus. The anal gland is between the external and the internal muscles of the anal area and approximately on the 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock positions.

What is the purpose of the anal gland?

This gland secretes a yellowish foul smelling substance that is responsible for giving the dog its unique scent. This distinct smell serves as the dog’s identification card. This substance is used by the dog for territorial marking.

How are the anal glands emptied?

Anal glands are voluntarily emptied. A skunk empties its anal glands when it uses the secretion as self defense. In dogs and cats, the anal sac is normally emptied when the animal defecates. A large number of domesticated dogs though have lost the capacity to normally empty the anal sacs. This is due to the dog’s diet. Poor quality dog food mostly contains cereal fillers and very low on fiber resulting to soft semi formed stools.

What to do to solve the scooting problem of the pet

Feeding the pet high quality food and ensuring that the dog is given sufficient exercise may solve the dog’s scooting problem. In most cases though emptying the anal sacs is necessary. If the anal sack is not emptied it will be impacted. Moreover it will be extremely uncomfortable for the dog. Anal sac expression would be more difficult as the secretion will become thick and gritty. Anal sacs can be expressed two ways – external and internal expression. External expression is done by gently pushing the anal sacs upwards so that the contents of the sac will be expelled. Internal expression is usually performed by a vet as this will entail a finger to be inserted to the dogs anus and pressing the anal sacs to push the thick contents out.


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    • sonelt profile image


      9 years ago

      Yes very well done, there is another term for this action or the act of relieving the anal glads it's called "expressing" and what a wonderful smell it

      Thanks for the hub

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      10 years ago from West By God

      Good Hub!


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