Why is my dog dragging his rear end on the floor?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – My cocker spaniel has been dragging his rear end on the floor lately. We have checked his feces and there has been no sign of tapeworms.

Christina Hermann

Answer

Hi Christina– thanks for your email. You described that your cocker spaniel has been dragging his rear end on the floor recently. This is often referred to as "Scooting". Dogs will do this for a couple reasons. One reasons is the one you mentioned, tapeworms. Basically the worms cause local irritation or a sensation of itching and they scoot to help give comfort to this area. The other very common reason is anal gland impactions or infections.

The anal glands are small glands that sit on each side of the rectal way that have ducts that secrete a scent material. These glands are pushed to the sides as a dog has a bowl movement and a small amount is released allowing them establish their unique smell with their bowl movement.

In some dogs, this small duct can become clogged or the glands can get infected. The most common sign of a problem is scooting.

Arrticles that may be helpful to you are Scooting in Dogs, Anal Glands in Dogs and Structure and Function of the Anal Glands in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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