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Pet Care: Why Is My Dog Scooting?

pet care: why is my dog scooting

No one enjoys sitting in the living room with guests while your dog suddenly sits down and scoots across the floor. But often when dogs scoot, it’s because they’re experiencing pain, irritation, or discomfort of some sort. When you see your dog scoot, that’s a warning they need pet care, and you need to take them to the veterinarian.

How To Recognize Scooting

It can be jarring the first time you see your dog sit down normally and then drag themselves forward with their front legs, rubbing their anus against the ground. There are several possible explanations for why your dog scoots. Not all of them are a serious cause for concern, but it is always worth talking to your pet care provider to rule out more severe possibilities.

If You Notice Scooting, Do A Visual Inspection

Pet care for your scooting dog starts with a simple visual check. Lift your dog’s tail and look around the area. The anus and surrounding hair should be mostly clean and not swollen. See if you notice any wounds, discharge, lumps, cuts, or worms. A strong fishy smell may indicate anal sac impaction.

Anal Sac Fluid Buildup

One of the most common reasons why dogs scoot is their anal sacs are clogged with fluid. Dogs have two anal sacs (also called anal glands) on the inside of their anus that naturally fill with fluid. This fluid needs to be released, which happens normally through defecation. If these anal sacs cannot be expressed for some reason, dogs will often scoot to try to empty the glands. They may also show their anal sacs are irritated by chasing their tails or attempting to lick that area. If you suspect they have anal sac impaction, they need pet care.

What To Do About Anal Sac Fluid Buildup

If dogs cannot empty their sacs themselves, it needs to be done manually. You can empty your dog’s anal sacs yourself, but many pet owners prefer to go to their professional pet care provider and have them do it. The process involves inserting a finger into the dog’s anus and squeezing the glands until fluid comes out. This process may need to be repeated for the scooting to stop. Anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics, warm compresses, and increasing the amount of fiber in your dog’s diet can also help with this issue. If your dog continues to scoot even after anal glands have been expressed repeatedly, another cause might be the culprit.

Skin Irritation

Irritation around the anal area can result from recent diarrhea or material clinging to the area. Some dogs may only scoot once or twice because they are irritated by excess feces around their anus and want to get it off. This is common, and if your dog does not continue to scoot regularly, they probably don’t need additional pet care. Groomers can also cause skin irritation by expressing the anal sacs unnecessarily, leading to inflammation. Additionally, groomers may tend to use shampoos or perfumes that contain irritating substances for your dog’s skin. If your dog is rolling around and seems itchy all over in addition to scooting, that may point to irritation from some substance the groomer used.

What To Do About Skin Irritation

Going forward, talk to your groomer about switching to non-irritating formulas and avoiding any scented sprays or strong perfumes. Oatmeal-based products are good for sensitive skin. Ask your groomer not to unnecessarily express your dog’s anal glands if you suspect they have been doing so. Pet care should be groomers’ priorities, so emphasize that your dog has been having issues after being groomed. In the meantime, a warm compress held to your dog’s back area can help relieve the itching and irritation.


While less common, tapeworms may be the cause of your dog’s scooting. Dogs can get tapeworms by ingesting a flea. Obvious signs include worms or rice-like material around your dog’s anus, but it may not be visually clear. If your dog scoots and you can’t figure out why, you may want to turn to a pet care provider, who can test the feces for parasites.

What To Do About Tapeworms In Dogs

To prevent this from happening in the future, vigilant flea and tick prevention allows you to take proactive steps and keep these pests out of your home. In the meantime, to treat tapeworms, vets will often use a drug that can be injected or ingested orally.

Visit A Professional Pet Care Provider

All Aboard Animal Hospital offers quality veterinary services for all your pet’s medical needs. Contact us today at 954-785-7780 to learn more about how we can care for your pet.


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