Why Do Dogs Scoot?

Dog scooting is often a sign of irritation around your dog’s back end and can have a range of underlying causes. Find out more about the unusual behaviour and when to get veterinary advice.
dog scooting
dog scooting
dog scooting

What is dog scooting?

Dog scooting is a something that many dogs will display at some time in their life. It describes the behaviour when they sit down and start dragging their bottom across the ground, whether it’s the kitchen floor, the grass in the park or their old favourite – the living room carpet. Dog scooting is often a sign of an underlying problem that needs to be addressed, so it is always best to contact your vet to get things checked out.

Why do dogs scoot?

Here are some of the most common reasons why dogs start dragging their bum on the ground.

Anal gland issues

Scooting can be a sign that the anal glands are full and your dog is attempting to alleviate some of the discomfort. Left unchecked, full anal glands can become impacted, infected and even form abscesses. An anal gland tumour is also possible, although much less common and a visit to the vet is recommended to diagnose the problem.

Intestinal parasites

Dog scooting can be a sign that intestinal parasites are involved, such as roundworms or tapeworms. Puppies can get become infected with roundworms from their mother, or from fleas which carry tapeworm larvae. Read  this guide to worms in dogs and how the vet can help you get rid of them.

Skin allergies

Allergies to dietary or environmental allergens can lead to skin irritation, including around the back end. Find out more about the different types of dog allergies and what to do when you notice the symptoms.

Neurological causes

Dogs might also display unusual behaviour as a sign of cognitive decline or another neurological problem. If your older dog starts dragging their bum on the floor and you notice increased restlessness and vocalisation, make sure you discuss these symptoms with the vet.

dog scooting causes

Fleas

The base of the tail is a common region for flea bites. Your dog can have flea allergy dermatitis, whereby they are particularly sensitive to flea saliva. This means they can react to even just one or two flea bites. This can be very itchy, and may cause your dog to scoot their back end along the floor.

Matted hair

Dog scooting can be caused by matted hair around their bottom. This is particularly prevalent in long-haired dog breeds, but with regular grooming this can be avoided. Check out our easy dog grooming tips in this handy guide for dog owners.

What is the treatment for dog scooting?

There are many possible solutions to dog scooting, depending on the underlying cause. Unless this is really obvious (e.g. matted fur) and the scooting resolves as soon as the problem is rectified, you should book a vet appointment for proper diagnosis. The vet will prescribe the most appropriate treatment for your dog, which may include some of the following:

  • Expressing the anal glands
  • Flea and worm treatments
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Skin allergy medication
  • Antibiotics
dog scooting treatment

More fibre

A diet with good levels of fibre may help to naturally express anal glands when toileting, as their stools may become firmer. Good sources of fibre include oat bran, rice and wheat which will be included in a high-quality complete dog food. However, the vet may recommend adding a small amount of additional bran if appropriate.

When to see a vet about dog scooting

If you notice your dog scooting, gently lift up their tail and check for anything out of the ordinary: redness, injury or swelling. If you notice something untoward, you should contact your vet. However, you should also book an appointment if the scooting symptom does not resolve within a few days, even if you can’t see an obvious cause.

Next, find out more about some of the most common digestive problems in dogs and the ways to help your dog get back on their paws in no time!