Most pet parents have seen it before – your dog looking all cute and sweet when suddenly he gets that look in his eye and starts scooting his bottom across the floor. It’s awkward, and also a little cute and a little gross, but is it a sign of a problem? Let’s take a look at dog scooting behavior and find out what’s really behind it (pun intended).
Why Does Dog Scooting Happen?
The straightforward answer to why your dog is scooting his butt across the floor is because he’s got an itch or pain back there. Scooting across the carpet or cement of a sidewalk provides relief to a hard to reach area. So, when you see your dog scooting across the floor, you can be sure of one thing – he’s trying to relieve an uncomfortable sensation.
On a more technical level, your dog’s behind has scent glands that his ancestors used to use to mark their territory. These scent glands, also called anal glands, emit a strong odor that lets everyone in the animal kingdom know where they’ve been.
If you’ve ever smelt a strong, almost fish-like scent from your dog after he’s been outside to go to the bathroom, then you might be more familiar with these scent glands than you realize. This scent can also be smelled sometimes when a dog gets scared or becomes stressed.
Scent Gland Problems in Dogs
A lot of problems can happen with these glands in domesticated dogs. For one reason or another, a dog might not use their glands normally, which can cause them to become swollen or impacted. Severe cases of underuse can even cause abscesses.
When this occurs, the skin around your dog’s behind will become red, swollen, and might even produce pus. To ease this irritation, your dog might start excessively licking that area or scoot across your favorite area rug.
How to Help Dogs With Scent Gland Problems
If your dog isn’t expressing his scent glands frequently enough, they can be manually expressed every 6 weeks by either a groomer or a veterinarian. Adding fiber to your dog’s diet in the form of canned pumpkin is also a great way to help things move on a little smoother back there.
Either way, if you find that your dog is dragging his bottom across the carpet or ground frequently, then it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Only they can really determine the cause of the issue.
Other Reasons for Butt Scootin’
Outside of the common scent gland issues, dogs’ behinds can itch or become painful for a handful of other reasons such as allergies and worms. The rule of thumb is, if you see your dog scootin’ more than once a day or for several days in a row, then it’s time to call your veterinarian and make an appointment. Occasional dragging behavior is common, but increased frequency is a cause for concern.