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9 Home Remedies For Dog Scooting & When To See Your Vet

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Last Updated: April 9, 2024 | 9 min read | Leave a Comment

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Chihuahua scooting butt on a dirt road.

Have you ever caught your pup dragging their butt across the carpet and wondered, “What are they doing?” You are not alone, and this behavior is called dog scooting. Although this quirky act might provoke a giggle, it’s a sign that something might be wrong.

I explore why dogs engage in this activity and suggest 9 home remedies for dog scooting. Hopefully, they will help alleviate their discomfort and stop them from rubbing their butt on your carpet. With important information about when to see a vet and our personal experience with itchy dog butts, let’s more than scratch the surface of this issue.

Warning: This article contains graphic photos that could make some people feel uncomfortable or may be inappropriate for younger audiences.

Why Do Dogs Drag Their Butt? 7 Reasons

If you’ve seen your dog drag their butt on your carpet or another dog scratching their rear end on the grass, you might have found it amusing, especially if their scoots are in time to music! But it is their way of telling you that something is wrong. In addition to dragging their butt, they might also bite or lick at the area and walk or hold their tail differently. Let’s look at the primary reasons why Fido might have an irritated anus.

1. Anal Gland Problems

Dogs have two small anal sacs on either side of their anus, which release a foul odor when they poop. The anal sacs can become blocked, which is more common in some breeds than others. Sometimes, the anal glands might have been damaged from previous gland expression. Whether clogged or damaged, the glands in the sacs can become inflamed, preventing this liquid from being released. This build-up can cause mild to extreme pain and, in some cases, rupture.

2. Parasites

There are a few types of worms that can cause scooting behavior. The most common is tapeworms, although hookworms and whipworms can also be responsible. Whatever type of parasite your pup has, these pests need to go. Look for parasites, which resemble grains of rice, in Fido’s poop or in their bedding. However, not all intestinal parasites result in physical symptoms.

3. Skin Irritations Or Infections

Various factors, such as parasites, contact allergies, grooming, and more, cause skin irritations or skin infections. It’s usually nothing to worry about if they have a one-off skin irritation. Persistently scooting could be a sign they might have a skin infection, which needs vet attention. If your female dog is scooting a lot more than usual, they might have a vaginal infection.

4. Allergies

Food or environmental allergens can lead to itching or irritation around your dog’s anal area. If you suspect they are allergic to something, it’s crucial to identify the allergen. Once identified, it should address the root cause and remove discomfort and the desire to scratch and scoot.

5. Gastrointestinal Issues & Diet

A dog’s diet also plays a significant role in their gastrointestinal health. A poor diet can lead to health issues such as diarrhea or constipation, which can lead to abnormal anal gland expression. Their diet might contain common allergies that could upset your dog’s digestive health. Over time, this can increase the likelihood of the anal glands becoming blocked and increasing scooting behavior.

6. Urinary Tract Infection

If a dog has a urinary tract infection (UTI), they might scoot to try and relieve the burning sensation. UTIs are more common in female dogs than males, but this is a less common cause of scooting. Frequent urination and increased thirst are signs of a UTI, so if you notice these along with scooting, you need to head to the vet. Your pooch might need medication to clear the infection.

7. Dirty Butt

Canines don’t have the luxury of using toilet paper after doing their business like humans do. If they’ve had a messy poop or can’t push it all out, they might resort to wiping their butt on the floor. If this is the case, the butt itching stops once they’ve wiped the residue off. Most dogs do this at some point in their lifetime.

My dog, Bonkers, eats a lot of grass. It’s something he has always done. Sometimes, when he can’t push all the grass out, he scoots to remove it. More often than not, he can manage this on his own. Other times, I have to give him a helping hand to pull out the last few blades of grass. This is a prime example of the not-so-glamorous side of dog ownership.

9 Home Remedies For Dog Scooting

Several things can be done to prevent dog scooting. Some remedies can soothe the area immediately, and others are long-term resolutions if the behavior is persistent. It’s essential to identify the cause of the scooting, as this determines how to tackle or soothe their irritated anus.

Nine home remedies for dog scooting infographic.

Immediate Home Remedies For Dog Scooting

Here are four home remedies for a dog’s itchy bum that can offer immediate relief.

1. Clip & Clean

Also known as a sanitary clip, this is a great way to remove the fur around the hind end and any potential debris or dried fecal matter that could be causing their discomfort. It also lets you see the area more clearly to pinpoint any abnormalities causing the problem.

2. Apply A Warm Compress

Use a cloth or paper towel soaked in warm water. Wring it out and place it on their rear end. The warm sensation can slightly alleviate the pain, like a hot water bottle on our achy muscles. A warm compress also increases blood flow, which helps to reduce swelling. Ideally, you need to hold this in place for 15 minutes, so find a calm environment where your pup is most likely to relax.

3. Moisturize

Not with your best face cream. To offer instant relief, you can use a small amount of Preparation H or fragrant and additive-free Vaseline. Coconut oil is another natural moisturizer that can soothe irritated areas. It’s best to use an Elizabethan collar, commonly known as the “cone of shame,” or an e-collar alternative, to prevent them from licking the solution off.

4. Express Anal Glands

Before expressing your dog’s anal glands, you need to know that it is safe and appropriate to do so. Sometimes, a vet advises you to do this at home, and they will show you how. Relieving impacted anal glands is a crucial way to alleviate their discomfort. However, doing it too often or without advice can lead to increased inflammation, scar tissue, and further problems.

Man cleaning the anal glands of a dog.

Long-Term Home Remedies For Dog Scooting

Here are five more home remedies for dog scooting behavior that offer long-term relief and help to reduce or prevent future occurrences.

5. Increase Water Intake

Hydration is crucial for your pup’s overall health and wellness, promoting regular and healthy bowel movements. Ensure they always have access to clean and fresh water. If your pup doesn’t drink as much water as they should, add a little water to their meals or offer them ice cubes.

6. Adjust Diet

To regulate bowel movements, consider changing your dog’s diet to a high-quality one, a diet for allergies, or one with a higher fiber intake. Some common dog food allergens include chicken, beef, wheat, and dairy. You could also try feeding your pup healthy vegetable or fruit snacks to increase their fiber intake, which can assist with normal anal gland secretion.

7. Add Supplements

Supplements such as probiotics and prebiotics support the digestive tract and help contribute towards firm and healthy stools. Omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil, help reduce inflammation and improve oil secretion in the skin, which can help with an itchy anal area. Whatever supplement you choose, always choose a high-quality supplement that targets the problem.

8. Deworm Every 3-4 Months

Deworming your dog at least three to four times a year is a sound practice for any responsible dog owner. Choose a broad-spectrum dewormer and treat them as advised. Keeping up to date with their deworming schedule reduces the risk of contracting worms. This way, if your dog starts scraping their butt on your carpet, you can more than likely eliminate worms being the cause.

9. Groom Regularly

For dogs that regularly scratch their butt or breeds with long hair, a sanitary clip is a great way to keep the area clean and hair-free to prevent future issues. In addition, soothing baths with gentle shampoo formulas or medicated shampoos prescribed by your vet can help remove irritants and relieve itchy skin.

Foods & Supplements For Anal Gland Problems

Glandex Anal Gland Soft Chew Treats With Pumpkin

There are many high-fiber dog foods on the market, and most are advertised as weight-loss foods. Unless your vet recommends changing your dog’s diet completely, you can easily increase their fiber intake by adding vegetables, bran, or pumpkin to your dog’s diet. Fiber supplements, such as Glandex, can also help dogs with reoccurring anal problems.

We have found Glandex to be the most helpful for our dog. Ever since we started using Glandex daily, our 3-year-old dog Barley has been anal gland issue-free. This easy and healthy solution has been a true gift for us and would recommend it to anyone whose dog is experiencing this health concern.

Michelle Schenker, dog owner, licensed insurance professional, and writer at Canine Journal

Consult Your Vet About Dietary Changes & Supplements

When making adjustments to your doggo’s diet or thinking about adding supplements, it’s essential to speak to your vet. It might not be appropriate or the best course of action. So, for personalized dietary advice, please get in touch with your vet.

When To See A Vet

Scooting is your dog’s way of trying to fix something that is wrong. It might just be a one-off itch due to a dusty walk, and for this, a home remedy is great. But if you notice your pooch scooting a lot, licking or biting their rear end, or see swelling or any other abnormality, they need to see a vet immediately. It’s essential to get to the bottom of their scooting behavior.

A vet can decide if a dog needs topical ointment, medication to clear an infection or surgery. They can investigate and identify other causes of the scooting, such as anal gland impaction, infection, abscess, or cancer. They might suggest surgically removing the glands if the problem persists or is very serious. This delicate and potentially expensive procedure is only recommended in severe or persistent cases.

Call Your Vet ASAP

If you notice pus, bloody discharge, or a hole near the anus, your pup requires immediate medical attention.

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Did you know pet insurance can help cover the cost of unexpected accidents and illnesses your dog experiences? We’ve reviewed the best pet insurance companies and shared pros, cons, discounts, our experience, and more with your insurance options.

Our Experience With Dog Scooting

Close up of a dog's anus area and ruptured anal gland.

Both our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs had ongoing anal gland issues. Lexie our rescue girl, would scooch across the floor when her anal glands were full and needed to be emptied, which required visits to the vet every 6-8 weeks or so. Sometimes groomers would be able to externally empty them, but only a vet could internally empty them, which is more effective.

Georgie, our male puppy, had ruptured anal glands twice, and he didn’t show any symptoms of scooting or licking until it was too late. The first time he wouldn’t stop biting his leg and butt area, and upon further inspection, we noticed a large, hard lump near his anus. We took him to the emergency vet, where they performed minor surgery to cut open the anal gland to remove the excess fluid and relieve the swollen area.

The second time, the glands ruptured on their own, and there was a lot of bleeding around his bum and tail. We took him to the vet immediately, and they shaved the hair around the anus and cleaned out the infected gland with an alcohol-based cleaning solution. The vet also removed any excess fluid that was inside his glands. In each case, he was put on pain medication and antibiotics to prevent any further infection. They also recommend using a wet, warm compress to help with swelling and a follow-up visit with his regular vet within a week to make sure the area was healing properly.

Sadie Cornelius, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parent, creative and content marketing for Canine Journal

Frequently Asked Questions

We know our readers still have many questions about why dogs scoot their butts and their health. If you don’t see yours below, ask about it in the comments, and we’ll find the answer.

Does Dog Scooting Mean Worms?

No, dog scooting doesn’t always mean they have worms. There are many causes of dog scooting behavior. It could be as simple as an itchy butt or something stuck on the hair around their anus. But regular scooting might suggest there is something wrong, such as worms. If you also notice worms in their poop or bedding, which often look like grains of rice, it’s probably the cause. It’s important to regularly deworm your pooch.

Can You Use Preparation H On Dogs?

Yes, you can use a small amount of Preparation H on your dog if their anal area is irritated and inflamed. Preparation H is an ointment that relieves the symptoms of both internal and external hemorrhoids. Only use a small amount on the area around their anus, not internally. In cases of inflammation, you must also take them to your vet for further investigation.

Can I Put Vaseline On My Dog’s Sore Bum?

Some owners use Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on their dog’s sore bottom. If you do, it must be free from additives and fragrance, as it could further irritate them. Apply a thin layer and monitor your pooch for any adverse reactions. Vaseline can provide some relief, but it is not a substitute for medical advice. Natural coconut oil is another option.

Learn How To Express Your Dog’s Anal Glands

If your pup occasionally experiences anal gland blockage and you need to express them, read our comprehensive guide on how to express your dog’s anal glands. Please remember that if they are not taken care of immediately, it can lead to severe infection or rupture.

Do you have a dog that booty scoots a lot? Maybe you’ve got experience or additional suggestions you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Emma is a dog owner with over 20 years of experience. She has also worked as a professional dog walker and sitter for many years, caring for several dog breeds with different needs, including dog scooting. Emma dedicates countless hours researching the latest pet care, health, food, and training developments to keep her two best buddies and other doggy clients as happy and healthy as possible.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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