Why Does Your Dog Scoot?

When your dog has an itchy bottom, the only way he can scratch it is by dragging it along the ground. This is not such a problem if he is outdoors, but it doesn’t win him any friends if he does it on your carpet. There are several reasons why your dog does the butt scootin’ boogie, but here are the most common ones.


Fleas spread tapeworms. They live in your dog’s intestine and segments of the worms are passed out in the feces. You can sometimes see these on the fur around his anus or on his stools; they look like wriggling grains of white rice. These segments make his bottom very itchy, and he’ll rub it on the ground to try and get relief.

There are two parts to preventing problems with tapeworms in your dog. Firstly, worm him with a reliable wormer every 3 months. Secondly, keep him flea of fleas by using an effective flea control product.


When your dog has a few of these unwelcome little biting insects, he will bite and scratch his skin, particularly on his back, under his tail and down his back legs. If he is allergic to the fleabites, he will have a particularly severe reaction, and his skin will become red, inflamed and extremely itchy. He can’t quite reach his bottom to scratch it, so he will try to stop the itch under his tail by scooting.

It’s important that you keep the fleas under control. Use a monthly spot on product such as frontline, advantage or revolution. Alternatively, you may prefer to give him a comfortis tablet every month to kill his flea population.


Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chainsawpanda/182201782/

Soiled fur

If you own a longhaired dog, you may find that the fur around his anus becomes soiled with feces. These can cause the fur to become stuck together in clumps, and this can feel odd or even uncomfortable. Your dog will rub his bottom on the ground to try to remove the feces.

It is much easier to keep his bottom clean if you clip the fur away from this area.

Anal glands

Your dog has two little glands in his anus, and they produce a smelly fluid, which is expressed onto his stools when he defecates. It is an important part of marking his territory. Sometimes these glands can become full, and need to be emptied manually. Your vet or a competent groomer can do this for you, and you can learn to do it yourself if you wish.

It is also possible for these glands to become infected, and your dog may need a course of antibiotics to clear that up. In extreme cases, the glands can even abscess and rupture, which is very painful indeed.

There is no need for your dog to be miserable as he tries to relieve that itch around his bottom. Worm him, treat him for fleas and clip the fur away from the area. If his scooting persists, then it’s time for a visit to your vet to have those anal glands checked and to make sure there is nothing more serious going on.

Susan Wright DMV is a vet, a dog expert and freelance writer. Susan shares articles on health conditions as they relate to dogs to help dog owners learn how to properly care for their pets.

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