Why Is My Dog Scooting?

by BarkSpot

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Dogs and cats do lots of weird things that make us scratch our heads. When it comes to canines, the boot scoot is certainly high on the list of “why does my dog do that?” behaviors. It may seem as if your dog has hemorrhoids or some sort of irritation or itch that they can’t reach. But there is more to your dog’s scooting than that.

The #1 Reason Why Dogs Scoot

Your canine companion might actually be scooting for a few reasons. WholeDogJournal.com tells us that the most common reason why your dog is scooting has to do with an issue concerning their anal glands. For the most part, your dog’s anal sacs and glands will function normally and express themselves on their own when your dog defecates. 

According to Dr. Karen Becker with Healthy Pets, “When your dog poops, if the stool is of normal consistency, this potent fluid is expelled out of the anal glands through tiny ducts and onto the feces. Anal glands empty with the pressure of the stool as it passes through the rectum and anus.”

Do you ever notice that your dog is scooting shortly after you’ve taken them to see the groomer? Well, that’s because a pet professional has expressed their anal glands for them and this region of their body is highly sensitive.

Don’t try it at home!

Trust us, leave this to the licensed pet professionals and never try to express your dog’s anal glands at home. Your dog will thank you in advance for leaving their rear to trusted professionals as you might harm them since you’re not knowledgeable on how this process is correctly executed. Better safe than sorry—just don’t do it!

What is an Anal Sac?

Your dog’s anal sac is located just between the external and internal anal sphincter muscles. It is lined with sweat and oil glands, with each of these glands carefully connected by a sensitive and narrow duct. Your dog’s anal sacs are located on either side of their anus, and the ducts will empty outside of their body (during defecation).

The trouble is, most people are unaware that these anal sacs even exist until their dog has grown miserable and starts scooting.

In the canine communication world, the oily secretions from a dog’s anal sacs are used as territory markers. And it should come as no surprise to you that these glands secrete a foul-smelling odor that can stop you dead in your tracks. Especially if it’s on your living room floor.

What Can I Do To Stop My Dog From Scooting?

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club in New York explains that our dogs’ scooting is a clear red flag that something is not as it should be. If left untreated, these impacted anal sacs can possibly burst open, which goes without saying is not a pretty sight or smell. Additionally, it’s something that can cause your dog a great deal of discomfort, not to mention pain.

If you notice that your dog’s rear seems swollen or that they are paying extra close attention to that region, it’s important that you schedule a visit with your vet so that they can be properly assessed.

There are a limited number of dogs which suffer from chronic impacted anal glands. In which case, the condition can be corrected by having an experienced veterinary surgeon surgically remove the glands. 

Other Reasons Why Dogs Scoot

While the above mentioned reason tops the list as to why dogs do the boot scoot, there are a few other reasons. Remember, the main reason that a dog does this is to get relief from pain and itching. Parasites, specifically tapeworms, tumors in or around the anus, sustained injuries, rectal prolapse, and even allergies can also cause your dog to scoot.

Is your dog scooting? Don’t let them suffer in silence. There are ways that you can help alleviate them of their misery. Talk with your vet at the first signs of your dog scooting to get down to the root of the issue.

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