Why Do Dogs Scoot – Home Care for the Scooting Dog

Dogs show some pretty weird behavior, but this one is really puzzling: I’m talking about the way some dogs drag and scoot their rumps, bottoms, and butts across the floor. They usually manage to do it right in front of guests or on a clean floor, too! Why do dogs do this? Read more and find out.

Why Do Dogs Scoot?

Like almost all animal behavior, dogs will do this for a number of reasons. Here are some of the most common ones:

  1. Something’s stuck: When dogs get something stuck or caught in the hair on their back legs and posterior, it can be uncomfortable and even painful. To dislodge it, they will scoot or drag their bottoms across the floor. Other dogs can get briars or burrs in their hair that leads to scooting. This can be remedied by assisting the dog and removing the material, and can be prevented by carefully trimming their fur in the area.
  2. Tapeworms: These nasty parasites are a common cause of scooting symptoms. The worms cause local irritation or a sensation of itching, and dogs scoot to get relief.
  3. Anal gland problems: A common issue spotted by vets and groomers is anal gland impactions or infections. The anal glands are small oil-producing organs that sit on each side of the rectal canal. They secrete a fluid containing scent-transmitting molecules used by dogs to communicate with other animals. During a bowel movement, the glands are displaced, resulting in the secretion of a small amount of fluid and allowing dogs to establish their unique smell on their feces. When these glands become clogged or infected, however, dogs may “scoot” to relieve discomfort or attempt to remedy the issue.

 

What Can You Do If Your Dog Is Scooting?

Lift up the tail and take a look. (You can also ask your vet or groomer to take a peek if the idea is too gross for you.) Keep an eye out for burrs, briars, feces, or little white worms that can look like grains of rice.

  • If there are burrs or feces caught in the hair, you can try removing it with clippers, giving your dog a bath, or making an appointment with your veterinarian or groomer.
  • If you see little worms or small objects that resemble grains of rice, they are most likely tapeworms. The most common reasons dogs get tapeworms is either from having fleas (which they ingest when chewing on themselves) OR from eating wildlife such as rabbits. Check your dog’s skin for fleas; if you notice fleas (even one!), you need to treat the fleas and the tapeworms. Several topical and oral flea medications are available to kill the fleas and tapeworms; the most common tapeworm medications used are called Fenbendazole (Panacur®), Febantel (Vercom®), Praziquantel (Droncit®) and Epsiprantel (Cestex®).
  • If you notice a swollen area in the location of the anal glands, there might be an infection. If this is the case, call your veterinarian. The glands might need drained (expressed), and your dog might need antibiotics. Clogged glands are not visible by examining your dog’s rectum so veterinary attention is best. You can express your dog’s anal glands at home, but most pet owners prefer to have their groomer or veterinarian do it. Learn about the steps in our article, How to Express Your Dog’s Anal Glands.

I hope this has helped you understand why some dogs will scoot their bottoms across the floor and answered some of your questions.