Butt-scooting, while embarrassing, is usually a sign of a health problem

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Butt-scooting, while embarrassing, is usually a sign of a health problem

Butt-scooting is usually a sign of a health problem.

Dear Cathy,
              I’ve noticed my dog dragging his butt across the carpet and grass frequently. It’s quite embarrassing, especially when we have guests over. I’m worried it might be more than just a bad itch. Could this be a sign that my dog has worms, or is there another underlying issue that could be causing this behavior? He seems uncomfortable, and I want to make sure I’m addressing the problem correctly. What should I be looking for, and how can I help him find relief? – Sherrie, Texas

Dear Sherrie,
              When dogs drag their butt across the carpet, floor, or grass, it’s an undeniable source of amusement for some pet owners and an embarrassment for others. Dogs seem to choose the most opportune moments, like when we have company over, to showcase this peculiar behavior. Commonly referred to as “butt scooting, ” the behavior often indicates discomfort or irritation around the anal area, which can be caused by impacted anal glands, allergies, parasites, like worms, or other underlying health issues. The most common culprit is impacted anal glands located on each side of the anus under the tail.
              To check for this issue, lift your dog’s tail and look for any swelling or irritation around the anus. Some dogs are more prone to impacted anal glands than others. For those pets that need regular relief, some pet owners learn how to express their pet’s anal glands themselves. However, most people prefer to have their veterinarian or groomer perform this procedure, as it can be quite stinky and messy. (Psst. I am one of those people.)
              I recommend taking your dog to your veterinarian to determine the cause of the butt-scooting. If impacted anal glands are the issue, the vet can express and clean them properly. This will provide your dog with much-needed relief and prevent further discomfort. If it’s worms or allergies or another health issue, your veterinarian can address those things as well.
              In the meantime, here are some recommendations to help manage and prevent this butt-scooting problem.

Increasing the fiber in your dog’s diet can help with anal gland issues. High-fiber foods can promote regular bowel movements, which naturally express the glands. Consider adding fiber supplements or high-fiber dog food to your pet’s diet.
Exercise: Keeping your dog active helps with digestion and can reduce the likelihood of anal gland problems. Regular walks and playtime can keep your dog’s system functioning smoothly.
Hydration: Ensure your dog is drinking plenty of water. Just like with humans, proper hydration supports healthy digestion and can help prevent constipation, which can lead to anal gland issues.
Weight Management: Is your dog overweight? Overweight dogs are more prone to anal gland problems. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can reduce the risk.
Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular check-ups with your vet to monitor your dog’s anal glands, especially if your dog has a history of issues. Early detection and treatment can prevent more serious problems from arising.
Hygiene and Grooming: Keep the area around your dog’s anus clean. Regular grooming can help prevent infections and other issues that might cause discomfort and scooting.

By following these recommendations, you can help manage and potentially prevent the butt-scooting behavior. Remember, a happy dog with a well-expressed butt is a dog less likely to embarrass you in front of your guests! Keeping an eye on their diet, ensuring they get enough exercise, and maintaining good hygiene around their rear end can all contribute to a scoot-free household.

With over 35 years of experience advocating for animals in the field of animal welfare, Cathy Rosenthal is a seasoned expert dedicated to improving the lives of our furry friends. Explore her books and programs by visiting https://cathyrosenthal.com/petpunditpublishing/.


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Cathy Rosenthal (aka The Pet Pundit), CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 35 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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