Scooting

The reason why pets drag their bottom along the ground (‘scooting’) is due to something causing irritation back there. Since they are unable to scratch it, they will then drag their bottom to give them some relief. There are a few possible reasons why dogs drag their bottom.

Worms:

Just like in people, a case of worms causes an itchy bottom. Dogs can get worms from the environment (soil or other pets) or by ingesting fleas. The simplest way to see if this is the cause is to worm your pet with a good quality veterinary wormer. This will ensure your pet is worm free and see if fixes the problem

Faeces contamination:

Some long haired dogs have a lot of fluff around their back ends. If your pet has loose stools then it may get caught in the hair and become matted. The combination of matted hair, as well as the bacteria in the poo can then generate a skin infection and result in a lot of irritation. It your dog is dragging their bottom, lift up their tail and just check to see if everything is clean.

Anal gland blockage:

This is the most common cause of scooting and is mostly seen in smaller breed dogs. Anal glands are small grape-like sacs that contain a very smelly material that dogs use to mark their territory in the wild. The opening is just inside their bottom and when a dog goes to the toilet, these sacs empty at the same time to leave their scent. In some dogs these sacs can become blocked, causing irritation. If they stay like this for too long they can then burst resulting in a nasty abscess and infection around the dog’s bottom.

If your dog is scooting, and you have ruled out the other causes, you may need your vet to empty your dog’s glands. This is usually done with your dog awake and is often pain free, although it might be a little uncomfortable for some pets. Once the glands are empty there is often immediate relief.

Some dogs can be prone to getting blocked glands. To decrease the chances of it re-occurring, increase the fibre in your pet’s diet. This extra fibre helps bulk up their stools, making it more likely the glands will empty when your pet goes to the toilet. To increase fibre you might need to change your pet’s diet, or alternatively you can simply add things like rolled oats or bran to their daily meal.

If there is an abscess or burst gland, sometimes your dog might need an anaesthetic to clean and flush them. In some cases there is also an option to remove the glands altogether. This is not a quick procedure, and is not without some risk, but can prevent long term problems for some animals. For pets that have ongoing issues or get frequent burst glands, sometimes removal might be the best long term option.