Have you noticed your dog doing the butt-scooting boogie? There are a few reasons why your dog may be doing that. Some are nothing to worry about, but some may need professional intervention. Why do dogs rub their bottoms on the floor, and what can you do about it?
Basically, dogs scoot their butts because of irritation. They can’t scratch, so they either scoot or lick. The source of the irritation is what you really need to look at, because that determines what you need to do.
The problem: Dogs with digestive problems like diarrhea can end up with a messy bottom. Dogs with long hair are especially at risk for getting mats and other coat issues with diarrhea. If it’s not cleaned up correctly, your dog may scoot his butt on the ground in an attempt to clean it himself.
The solution: Determine the cause of your dog’s diarrhea and treat it. A bland diet of boiled rice and chicken (no bones or seasoning) is easy on your dog’s stomach in the meantime. Use a soft wet cloth or give your dog a bath to clean the offending mess.
Anal Gland Issues
The problem: You know how dogs sniff each others’ bottoms? It’s because they have anal glands that secrete a smelly substance. Sometimes those glands get backed up or inflamed. In a normal, healthy dog, firm stool will help stimulate the glands to keep them working correctly. Soft stool from an unhealthy diet or intestinal issue fails to do that. Dogs with anal gland issues will lick their rear or scoot their bottoms on the floor to move things along.
The solution: Relieve the anal glands. First, check with your vet to make sure that’s the issue and rule out something more serious. Then have the anal glands “expressed,” which is the term for manually relieving the pressure. A vet, vet tech, or groomer can do this, usually for a small fee. Ask them to show you what to look for and, if you’re brave, how to do it yourself.
The problem: Internal worms make their way out of the body the same way food does: through the digestive tract and to the dog’s bottom. (Keep reading - there's more info on worms at the bottom.)
The solution: Physically inspect your dog’s bottom and feces for signs of worms. If it looks like your dog has worms, consult your vet immediately. They’ll be able to run a blood test to determine what kind of worms your dog has and get your dog on an appropriate treatment.
More Serious Issues
The problem: None of the above solutions help. Your dog has constant irritation and it’s not going away.
The solution: Ask your vet. Ongoing anal irritation could be a sign of a more serious issue such as an infection, an anal tumor, or many other conditions. These are not problems that can be ignored, so get your dog to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment.
Why do dogs rub their bottoms on the floor? To relieve irritation. It’s up to you to figure out the source of their irritation and get professional assistance for medical issues.
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Photo credit: Takashi Hososhima