Why is My Dog Scooting Their Bottom?

dog bottom scooting

One of the more common reasons for visiting the vet is the dog who is scooting its bottom. So why do dogs do this unsociable act of rubbing their bottom along the carpet? And what can be done about it?

Dogs rub their bottom along the ground because it is itchy and often this is the easiest way of scratching that itch.  This is particularly common if they are a bit tubby and find it difficult to reach that far to chew it! There are three reasons why dog will have an itchy bottom:

Anal Gland Irritation

Anal glands are little scent glands located to the sides of the anus or bottom.  They contain the single most foul smelling substance known to vets (and we know a lot of them!). Anal glands are designed to lay down a dog’s scent when they deposit faeces.  This is something that dogs in the wild do in prominent places to warn others of their territory. In some dogs, these glands do not empty easily and get overfull or impacted, causing irritation. In a few dogs, these can become infected causing even greater itch. Expressing the liquid out of the glands is sometimes all that is needed to reduce the irritation.  Usually this is enough to stop the odd bottom scooting behaviour.  But if an infection is present then more intensive treatment is required.

Atopy or skin allergies

atopy dogDogs who suffer from allergic skin disease will commonly feel irritated in this area, particularly dogs suffering from flea allergy.  Constantly rubbing their bottom on the ground makes skin infections much more likely.  Unfortunately this then turns into a chronic problem. Any dog with allergic skin disease will benefit from diet changes and nutritional supplements.  These dietary changes support the health of the skin and make it more efficient at withstanding the onslaught of allergens. Skin infections and chronic changes often require longterm medication and treatment to reverse.

Intestinal worms

Worms seen around the bottom of dogs and cats are usually tapeworm segments, which are egg packets looking like a grain of rice that can be seen to move! Tapeworms infections are ‘caught’ by swallowing fleas or by eating infected raw organ meat that has not been frozen for 2 weeks first. Many of the modern combination flea, worm and heartworm prevention products do not contain a tapeworming medication.  Because of this we will always question careful a pet’s deworming history to decide if this might be an easy solution to an itchy bottom. In my experience, this is a less common reason than anal gland irritation or skin allergies for bottom scooting.  However it is the easiest to rule out with a simple pill.

So if your dog is rubbing its bottom along the ground, you could try deworming your dog. Or you could bring a sample of faeces to the clinic and have us look for worms. Some people are happy to be taught how to express their dogs anal glands.  Most though are happy to let us vets do that particular procedure! A visit to our Mt Martha vet clinic is the best way to work out which of these problems is causing the itch and to get advice on the best way to fix it.

If you are concerned that your pet is bottom scooting, give us a call or book an appointment.  We can talk to you about what we can do to help.  But don’t leave it too long. Bottom scooting is a sign your dog is really irritated and chronic rubbing causes infections that take longer to treat.

Bentons Road Vet combining Natural Health & Modern Medicine