A dog scooting on the floor may be hilarious to see, but it is actually a cause for concern. Usually, dogs scoot to relieve the discomfort they’re feeling.
The most common causes of dog scooting are an injured or clogged anal sac, skin irritation, food allergy, trauma to anal sacs, and intestinal parasites. Fortunately, there are many ways to safely treat scooting at home, such as the use of anti-inflammatory medicine and a high-fiber diet, among others.
To learn more about these causes and the best home remedies for dog scooting, read through this whole blog!
Why Do Dogs Scoot?
Scooting means your dog is in a seated position and dragging their bottom along the floor. It is your dog’s way of saying that something is wrong in its butt area. This may be a mild discomfort or a more serious issue.
Here are some of the leading causes of dog scooting according to the AKC:
Clogged or Full Anal Sacs
Your dog’s two anal sacs are found on its rear end, and it produces a foul-smelling liquid whenever your dog poops.
This liquid contains a biomarker or “poop print” that is used when dogs mark their territories — something they do to ward off other dogs.
Your dog’s bowel movement should trigger fluid release in full anal glands. However, if these sacs aren’t properly working and they get inflamed, the fluid will build up and solidify.
This is painful and may cause an anal sac infection making your dog scoot to relieve the pain.
Vets typically express anal glands to resolve this issue. But pet parents can also do anal gland expression at home.
Skin Irritation From Grooming
Even if your dog is not super sensitive and has healthy anal glands, some grooming products can cause skin irritation when it gets to its bottom.
This is especially true for dog breeds that need frequent grooming, like Poodles and Cocker Spaniels. It’s also possible that scooting is caused by razor burns and tiny nicks near a dog’s butt area.
Food Allergies and Diet
Food allergies that cause soft bowel movements can also be the culprit when a dog drags their bottom. Simply put, there won’t be enough pressure to empty the anal glands when your dog poops.
Besides food allergies and other intolerances, your dog’s diet also impacts its stool. If their diet is not rich in fiber and protein, their anal sac won’t empty properly, resulting in dog scooting.
Trauma to Anal Sacs
The anal sacs of dogs are extremely delicate. If they are expressed incorrectly by the groomer, they will experience extreme trauma.
In other words, the gland tissues will be damaged and inflamed, leading to scooting.
When this happens repeatedly, the anal glands would also lose their muscle tone, and they will not express themselves on their own.
Internal parasites can also lead to dogs suffering from anal sac itchiness. When a tapeworm matures in your dog’s stomach and exits the body, it can cause irritation to the anus making your dog’s bum itch unnecessarily.
To check whether this is really causing a dog to scoot, pet parents must look for worm segments in the dog’s anus, feces, and bedding.
11 Home Remedies for Dog Scooting
There are 11 natural remedies for dog scooting that you can do at home. However, remember that these home remedies should not replace medical advice from a veterinarian.
1. Clean your dog’s rear end regularly
When mud, dirt, or feces is sitting on your dog’s bottom for more than an hour, it will cause itchiness and discomfort. This gets worse when the dirt gets infested by fleas and ticks.
If this is the case, all you have to do is clean your dog’s rear-end area with soap and warm water. You may also use dog shampoo to disinfect further and moisturize your dog’s bottom. This will effectively alleviate itchiness.
Another alternative is to use doggy wipes to remove the dirt and feces. Just make sure that the wipes you’ll use are suitable for your dog’s coat and skin.
When you wash or wipe your dog’s bottom, check for any parasites feeding on your pooch. You may want to trim some of your dog’s rear hairs to spot them.
Carefully remove these parasites by applying ointments or using an anti-tick spray. Avoid yanking them aggressively.
Once they’re all removed, your dog’s discomfort on the rear will eventually fade and they will no longer scoot when moving around.
2. Use anti-inflammatory treatments
When your furry friend has red and inflamed anal sacs or bottom, or it has anal gland abscesses, your vet would recommend anti-inflammatory treatments like an alcohol-free witch hazel extract.
This relieves skin irritations and soreness on your dog’s rear.
Be sure to buy an anti-inflammatory treatment that doesn’t contain alcohol to avoid dryness. The ones with alcohol content strip the natural oil on your dog’s skin leading to more anal gland issues.
To apply anti-inflammatory treatments, moist a few cleansing pads or cotton balls and gently wipe them on your dog’s anal glands.
3. Put warm compresses on the inflamed anal glands
Another way to alleviate the inflammation on your dog’s rear is by applying a warm compress.
Mix some Epsom salt in some hot water and let it dissolve to make a warm compress solution. Soak a clean cloth in hot water and press it on your dog’s inflamed anal glands for four to five minutes.
Repeat this three to six times or until the fluid drains from the anal glands.
4. Track your dog’s weight
Being undernourished or overnourished can put your dog at risk of various canine metabolic diseases that eventually lead to anal gland problems.
Vice versa, anal gland problems can also cause the worsening of certain metabolic issues in your dog.
Thus, it is crucial that you monitor your dog’s weight and provide them with a well-balanced diet. Avoid feeding them food that contains carbohydrate fillers and preservatives.
5. Express your dog’s anal glands using your fingers
Manually expressing a dog’s anal glands may seem gross for many dog owners, but it’s a skill you need to master if you want your dog to stop scooting.
To express your dog’s anal glands, you would need Epsom salt, an absorbent puppy training pad, a bathtub, or sink, water, a pair of gloves, Vaseline, and paper towels.
First off, wear your disposable gloves securely and have your dog sit in the sink, bathtub, or training pad. You may also use paper towels, but you would need a lot of them.
Next, lift your dog’s tail using your non-dominant hand while your dominant hand’s thumb and forefinger gently squeeze the anal glands.
The size of these glands would depend on the size of your dog; it can be pea or plum-like in size.
After the anal gland expression, expect them to deflate to the point that you can barely see or feel them. Use doggy wipes to eliminate any fluid, as it may cause an itchy bottom.
If you need help with anal gland expression, have a veterinarian guide you. Also, if your dog’s scooting problem is not caused by clogged anal glands, avoid expressing it, as doing so can lead to inflammation and anal sacculitis.
Here’s a video showing how to express your dog’s anal glands:
6. Keep your dog hydrated
Hydration aids in draining the anal sacs naturally; thus, it is imperative to keep your dog hydrated at all times.
Providing enough water is also necessary when you feed your dog dry kibble every day; otherwise, your dog will be constipated and will scoot due to anal gland issues.
If your dog is not a big water drinker, you may opt to add water to their dry kibbles. This will not only help them stay hydrated but also make chewing and digestion easier.
It would also pay to monitor your dog’s drinking habits throughout the day. If possible, make it a fun experience by using a water fountain for dogs.
The filter of the fountain will also ensure that what they’re drinking is clean.
7. Include probiotics in your dog’s diet
Scooting caused by impacted anal glands or constipation can be treated by adding probiotics to your dog’s diet. Probiotics help maintain a healthy dog’s gut and digestive tract.
There are a lot of probiotic treats that you can purchase at your local pet store. But you can also offer probiotic-rich food in moderation.
These human foods include yogurt, sour cream, sauerkraut, and Yakult, among others. Just be sure to avoid yogurt if your dog is lactose intolerant.
Moreover, mixing probiotic supplements with dog food is another great option. Seek veterinary advice about the best supplement options for your dog.
8. Feed your dog a high-fiber diet
A nutritious diet that is high in fiber is another easy solution for dogs scooting behavior. A fiber-rich diet prevents constipation that causes discomfort in a dog’s bottom.
Not only does fiber promote anal gland emptying, but it also reduces the risk of anal gland disease in dogs by preventing blocked anal glands. Thus, ask your vet for fiber supplements you can mix with your pup’s food.
If you don’t want to use a fiber supplement, you can feed your pooch with brussel sprouts, chia seeds, fiber broth, flax seeds, canned pumpkin, other types of canned food, potato, and gravy.
9. Let your dog consume fish oil
Fish oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties because they contain omega-3 fatty acids. When your canine companion is scooting due to inflamed anal glands, giving them fish oil can reduce the swelling.
You have three major options when giving fish oil to your dog — chewable supplement, mixing with their food, or applying on their rear end.
Chewable supplements are ideal if you want your dog to consume additional vitamins and nutrients besides fish oil.
However, many canine owners prefer mixing fish oil on their dog’s food so its fishy smell and taste would be unnoticeable.
If your dog does not enjoy fish oil, you may also try applying the fish oil on its anal glands through cotton balls. You need to do this several times a day.
10. Give your dog anal gland supplements
Although there are very limited anal gland supplements in the market, you can use digestive supplements for the same purpose. After all, a healthy gut and digestive system prevent anal blockage.
Choose supplements that contain beet pulp, flaxseed, dandelion root, psyllium husk, and pumpkin, as these ingredients are known to maintain optimal digestive tract and gland function.
11. Engage your dog in exercise
When our canine friends get enough exercise, the health of their body parts, both external and internal, improves drastically.
They would also have a healthier immune system that can combat anal gland infections and diseases.
Make it a point to bring your dog for walks or run around the neighborhood to stimulate their digestive tract. The constant movement would also lead to potty time, which naturally drains their anal gland fluid.
When Should You See a Vet for Scooting?
While we have provided a pretty comprehensive list of home remedies for dog scooting and impacted dog anal glands, visiting the vet can still give you the best solution for dog scooting.
If your dog’s behavior is odd, it has been scooting for days, and you suspect it has anal sac problems, your vet may do a rectal examination to see if the anal glands are indeed inflamed.
They may also order a fecal exam for loose stools to check for intestinal parasites.
Once the cause has been identified, your dog will receive the proper dog scooting treatment and be given the correct medications. The vet may prescribe antibiotics or other inflammatory medications.
Depending on how severe the dog’s glands issues are, they’ll be back on their feet in a few days or weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Most Common Reason for Scooting in Dogs?
The most common reason for dog scooting is an anal gland problem. When a dog’s anal sacs do not empty properly, the fluid will solidify and cause irritation. Dogs typically scoot to relieve the discomfort caused by this.
Does Pumpkin Help Dog Scooting?
Yes, pumpkin helps ease scooting in dogs since it contains soluble and insoluble fiber that softens the stool and helps the dog’s digestive system. The stool then passes into the anal glands without causing inflammation.
How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Stop Scooting?
Dogs typically stop scooting two to three days after their anal sacs have been expressed.
However, if the scooting is caused by allergies, parasites, back pain, etc., the scooting will go on for quite a while, and the dog will need veterinary intervention.
Do Dogs Scoot When They Have Worms?
Yes. Scooting in dogs may occur when they have worms and other parasites inside them. When these worms are released from the dog’s body, it causes an itchy anal area that leads to scooting.
There will also be grain-like worm segments on the dog’s poop and bedding.
A dog dragging their bottom is fairly common to see. But despite looking funny and non-serious, this problem should be addressed immediately by pet owners.
Luckily, there are 11 remedies to stop dog scooting that you can do at home. You can choose from the list above the most appropriate for your dog’s scooting issue.
If you want to share more tips or thoughts about dog scooting treatment, leave a comment below!
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.