This page looks at some possible causes of dog scooting. A dog scoots on the floor sometimes because of pain, itching, or a dirty bottom. The underlying root causes may be anal gland diseases, worms, food allergies, and a low-fiber diet.
Scooting refers to the act of dragging and rubbing the anal area on the ground.
When a dog is scooting, you can see that his hind legs are extended in front of him as he drags himself forward and slides across the floor on his bottom.
But why do dogs scoot?
Dogs cannot scratch their rear ends, and it is not easy for their mouth to reach all the way to the back to chew and lick, so scooting is a way for dogs to "scratch" their itchy, painful rear ends, or as a way to get rid of dirt or fecal matter that may have stuck there. Dogs scoot more frequently than cats.
As you can imagine, dog scooting is not hygienic because it easily drives bacteria into the skin and the anal sac ducts.
Repeated scooting can make your dog's entire bottom red, hot, swollen, irritated and infected.
Scooting is also unhygienic for your floor or carpet - by scratching his bum on your floor, your dog can leave behind a foul odor, germs, and sometimes fecal matter. You may see unsightly "skid marks" on your white carpet after your dog's scooting activity!
It is important, therefore, to find out and eliminate the reason that causes your dog to scoot.
If your dog scoots frequently, watch out for the following:
As mentioned above, dogs scoot because their rear ends are either itchy, painful, or dirty. There are various reasons why their rear ends may feel that way; the most common root causes include:
Anal gland diseases include impacted anal glands, infected or abscessed anal glands, anal gland tumors. Perhaps the most common cause of scooting is impacted anal glands.
Read this page for more information about this problem and how to manually express (empty out) the anal sacs.
Another common reason that gives your dog an itchy bottom is fleas. Fleas are usually found near your dog's rear end and tail area because they are safely out of reach of your dog's mouth! Flea-bites can cause intense itching to dogs, especially those suffering from flea bite allergy. As a result, the dog may scoot in an attempt to "scratch" his itchy bottom. If your dog scoots, use a flea comb to check for signs of fleas. Also read our page on Natural Flea Control to see how to get rid of fleas naturally.
If your dog has tapeworms, the worm segments can cause itching and irritation as they exit the anus and collect on the skin and surrounding hair. If your dog scoots every so often, be sure to check your dog's stools and his anal area for signs of worms.
Food allergies cause intense itching (especially at the rear end) and excessive licking. The saying used to describe food allergy symptoms is: "Food allergies hit the ear and the rear"! The result? Constant scooting! If you suspect that your dog is allergic to his food, you need to identify the food that is causing the allergic reactions. Read more on food allergies and elimination diets here.
If your dog scoots occasionally, it may be because of the following reasons:
Diarrhea can cause irritation to the anus, and it may also cause fecal matter to be stuck to the hair around the anal area. As a result, a dog suffering from diarrhea may scoot on the floor in an attempt to scratch the anal area and to clean it.
Frequently groomed dogs, such as poodles, may suffer from clipper burns or skin irritation after grooming. If your dog scoots and licks its rear end obsessively after being groomed, check for clipper burns or skin irritation caused by shampoo, sprays, or other grooming products.
As you can see, scooting is an unhealthy activity for your dog and unhygienic for your floor. Identifying and treating the underlying root cause is essential if you want to get rid of this problem.