Why is my dog scooting his tush across the floor?

Pup parenthood is all fun and games of fetch until your pooch starts scooting his tush around and you have to start thinking about things like clogged anal sacs.

Buckle up, pup parents, because this is going to be helpful, but quite unglamorous. Ready? Okay, cool.

When your dog is scooting across the floor repeatedly and defiantly ignoring you when you beg them to stop, don’t take it too personally — the scooting is because they’re uber uncomfortable and looking for some relief. Dogs drag their tush on the ground in response to some kind of irritation that isn’t resolving itself otherwise. While there are a few reasons your pup might be scoot boogieing across the carpet, the main culprit is usually one of two:

Anal Sacs

There’s a reason your dog sniffs the behind of every passing canine; the smelly, fatty substance secreted by dogs’ anal sacs are used as markers and communicators for specific dogs. These sacs are located internally on both sides of the anus. When they become clogged, dogs start to scoot in an attempt to clear the affected area. If the glands become impacted, they can cause an anal gland infection, painful abscesses, or even a completely ruptured gland that requires surgery to remove. Smaller dogs are more commonly affected by these issues than larger ones.

Scooting isn’t the only sign of anal sac problems, though. If your dog is chewing or licking the area constantly, has swelling around the anus, or has trouble defecating, they’re likely dealing with some serious discomfort.

Depending on what’s causing the original issue, there are a few treatment options worth trying out. The most common answer — albeit the least appealing to the average dog owner — is “expressing” the sacs. This involves going interior and physically squeezing the glands to remove their backed up contents. (What did we tell you? Not very glamorous.) Be sure to clean the area with warm soapy water afterwards to ward off the strong fishy smell that tends to hang around after.

Another solution could be taking a look at your dog’s diet, since this could be behind the problem, too. Soft droppings are a major cause of impacted anal glands, and they’re usually the result of a lack of fiber in the diet. It’s worth examining your current dog food brand and see if it’s time for a sturdier switch up.

Fecal Contamination

There is another reason your dog might be dragging itself across the hardwoods, but it’s usually preceded by the warning sign of some rather nasty diarrhea.

Losing so much water out the back end can leave your pup feeling dehydrated, weak, and not exactly the cleanest at the rear. When fecal matter gets caught up in matted fur, it can cause enough discomfort for your pooch to start scooting. As long as the area doesn’t become infected, it’s a pretty easy cleanup though: trim away the dirtied fur (while being super careful not to nick the skin) and clean the area with warm water.

If the diarrhea goes on for longer than a day, or your pup doesn’t seem to be getting any relief from their newly clean behind, it’s a good idea to talk to your vet. Allergies and parasitses can also cause anal discomfort, so it’s best to leave the deeper digging to the professionals.

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