My dog is scooting – do I need a veterinary exam?

If you’re the proud owner of a new pup then you may have observed your dog scooting at one point or another and wondered what message they’re trying to tell us. Scooting is a common behavior that dogs do for a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at what scooting is, the causes of scooting, and how we can help our pups.

What is Scooting?

Scooting is an act your pup may engage in when there’s something wrong with their backside. If you’ve seen your dog dragging their behind across the floor or grass, then you’ve seen your dog scooting. Although the action may seem a bit weird at first, it’s a sign that your pup has something in their backsides that is bothering them that they’re trying to resolve. Let’s take a look at what the major causes of dog scooting are.

Causes of Dog Scooting

Some of the major reasons that dogs scoot include:

  • Clogged Anal Sacs: From an anatomy standpoint, dogs have two small anal sacs in their rears that contain a liquid that is released when they poop. Normally, the liquid in these sacs are emptied out during bathroom breaks and leave a sort of biomarker that other dogs can smell. However, when these anal sacs aren’t eliminating their liquid properly, then the liquid can buildup and even solidify over time. This can lead to infection and inflammation and can cause major discomfort for your pup. 
  • Dietary Issues: Clogged anal sacs can occur due to a diet that lacks key nutrients. If your pup is not getting the required mix of proteins, carbs, and fats, then this could negatively affect their bowel movements and lead to clogged anal sacs.
  • Skin Irritation: Your pup may be scooting due to major skin irritation and inflammation. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, but typically the most common are playing in tall grass and brush which can leave behind small blades of grass and other debris, grooming products such as sprays or hair clippings getting in sensitive areas near your dog’s bottom, or small bugs that could cause itching and irritation.
  • Fecal contamination: If your pup recently had a string of diarrhea, then it may have left behind a messy bottom that your dog is trying to clean up on the grass. Be sure to clean your dog up really well to avoid any infection or further discomfort.
  • Worms and Other Parasites: Dogs can get tapeworms by swallowing worm-infested fleas. These parasites can cause your dog’s rear to itch as they come out.

How Can I Help My Pup?

Dog scooting can occur for a variety of reasons, but luckily, many of the reasons can be treated. One quick way to see if your pup needs immediate attention is to do a visual inspection around your dog’s rear area. Lift up your dog’s tail and take a look at your pup’s behind. The area should be clean and odor-free. If you notice any small white bugs or a strong foul smell, then you should schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. You can also consider enrolling your pet in wellness exams for regular and comprehensive check-ups of your pup to ensure their health and safety over the long-term.