Why Does My Dog Scoot?

Have you ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation when your dog decides to scoot its bottom across the floor in front of everyone? It’s a common scenario that many dog owners can relate to, but have you ever wondered why your dog does this? Well, scooting is actually your dog’s way of addressing a problem in that area. It could be an itch, irritation, pain, or even a more serious medical issue. Understanding the causes behind your dog’s scooting behavior can help you find the right solutions.

Clogged Anal Sacs

Dogs have two anal sacs located on either side of their rear end. These sacs contain a pungent liquid that is released when they poop. This liquid acts as a sort of “poop print” for other dogs to smell. Normally, your dog’s bowel movement triggers the emptying of these sacs. However, if the sacs aren’t functioning properly, the fluid can build up, leading to inflammation and even infection. Continuous fullness or improper emptying of the sacs can be painful for your furry friend.


If the problem seems serious, it’s best to visit your veterinarian. They may recommend antibiotic ointment and warm compresses. Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM suggests, “If your dog’s glands look very enlarged or they’re having bloody discharge, it’s time to see your vet. If the anal glands are very full, we express them. When they are infected, dogs get a round of antibiotics and sometimes pain medication.”

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Skin Irritation From Grooming

Frequent grooming can sometimes lead to clipper burns or irritations caused by sprays, perfumes, or grooming products around your dog’s bottom.


If you notice your dog scooting after grooming, check for any nicks or razor burns. Itching all over, including rolling around on their back, may indicate a reaction to a grooming product. Consider asking the groomer to switch products or bring your own gentle, hypoallergenic bath products and dog shampoos. Additionally, a warm compress can help alleviate the irritation caused by grooming.

Food Allergies

Food allergies or intolerances could also be to blame for your dog’s anal sac issues. If your dog’s bowel movements are soft or watery, they may not provide enough pressure to empty the sacs properly. Certain ingredients in your dog’s diet, such as grains like corn, oatmeal, rice, wheat, or soy, or a lack of fiber and variety of protein, can affect their stools and prevent the anal sacs from functioning as they should.


It’s important to consult your veterinarian about making dietary changes. Dr. Ochoa recommends adding canned pumpkin to your dog’s diet or using Glandex, a product designed to decrease anal gland material and facilitate easier gland expression.

Trauma to Anal Sacs

If a groomer has manually expressed your dog’s anal sacs unnecessarily, your dog may experience trauma in that area. The delicate sacs can be injured during manipulation or squeezing, leading to inflammation and impaired function. Repeated expressing can also cause damage to the sacs, resulting in a loss of necessary muscle tone for natural expression.

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In the past, groomers were taught to express anal sacs as part of their grooming services. However, this practice is rarely necessary. Groomers should now be encouraged to check if the anal sacs are full and, if needed, gently empty them. This allows groomers to detect any growths or issues and take appropriate action.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms, may be the cause of your dog’s scooting. Dogs can contract tapeworms by ingesting fleas that carry immature tapeworm larvae. Irritation and itching around the anus occur when the tapeworms exit the stomach and mature. Signs of tapeworms include scooting, an itchy bottom, and rice-like segments of worms around the anus, in your dog’s feces, or even in their bedding.


If you suspect your dog has intestinal parasites, it’s crucial to visit your vet for an examination. Dr. Ochoa advises, “Even if you don’t see worms, they still may be there. Your veterinarian can check a fecal flotation and see if your dog has worms. These are easily treated with a dewormer.”

In conclusion, if your dog scoots once or twice, it might just be a minor itch or a dirty bottom after a trip outside. However, if you notice frequent scooting, constant licking, biting of the rear area, or any signs of swelling or abnormalities, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for an examination. This will help identify and address the root cause behind your dog’s scooting behavior.

For more pet care advice, visit Katten TrimSalon.