Why is my dog scooting its bum?

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You may have seen your dog scooting its bum, and wondered why. TV vet Dr Scott Miller, head vet for Barking Heads, explains…

When you think of dogs in pop culture, you almost always see a scene in the movies where a dog is scooting, and it’s always funny, but in real life, if you spot your dog scooting, it may be a sign of a deeper issue in your dog’s digestive system or butt.

Is scooting bad for dogs?

The action itself isn’t bad for dogs when it’s an isolated incident here and there, as dogs may scoot because they have an itch or some debris stuck on their bottom. But, if you start noticing your dog scooting on a regular basis over a few days, this may be a sign of a deeper issue in your dog’s gut. Too much scooting may also irritate your pup’s skin, making it sensitive and uncomfortable during examinations near their buttocks. When it comes to what causes scooting in dogs, there is no one set issue that results in the behaviour, but many different underlying issues that may be causing scooting.

Why is my dog scooting its bum?

The top 10 causes of this behaviour are:

  1.   Blocked anal glands
  2.   Worms
  3.   Itchy skin
  4.   Matted fur
  5.   Intestinal parasite
  6.   Food allergies
  7.   Urinary Tract Infection
  8.   Cognitive decline
  9.   An abscess in their anal gland
  10. Furunculosis

Can dog scooting be anxiety?

For some dogs scooting may be a sign of a neurological issue such as anxiety. However, in most cases, dogs scoot due to anal issues like matted fur around their butt or blocked glands.

Should I take my dog to the vet for scooting?

Yes, you should take your pup to the vet if you notice them scooting frequently, as they will be trying to dislodge whatever is causing them discomfort or pain, like how we would scratch a rash even though we know it is bad. Scooting is a symptom, and your vet can help you find the cause.

A visit to the vet will help you know what is causing your dog to scoot, and your vet will be able to steer you in the right direction for treatment. For example, if it’s caused by a stomach issue stemming from food allergies, your vet can recommend you dog food that is good for sensitive tummies or has more fibre in it.  Or, if there is an anal gland block, your vet can show you how to spot the signs at home so you know when to take them to your vet or a groomer to unblock the gland for you.

Once the root problem is figured out, your dog should stop scooting and will be a happier, healthier pup for it. But remember, one or two scoots are absolutely normal. It is only a problem worth dissecting if it becomes regular.

This is a guest essay by Dr Scott Miller. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk.

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