It's one of the less amusing tricks a dog might perform: rubbing and dragging his backside on the ground. It's unsettling enough if he does it when no one's looking, but it can be downright embarrassing in the front yard or the living room in front of your guests. Be assured that your dog isn't rubbing his behind to mortify you. There are a number of reasons for the behavior, and stopping it depends on finding the cause.
Your dog has two little glands right on his rear end that, under normal circumstances, empty out all by themselves, typically when your pup is doing his "business." Sometimes though, the glands might not empty entirely or correctly, causing discomfort for your dog. He will attempt to ease the unpleasant sensation by rubbing his backside on the ground or the carpet. The rough surface of grass or a rug will do the trick of emptying out the glands and providing relief for your pooch.
When a dog has worms, the tiny parasites can cause a big itching problem. Tapeworms break into little pieces that look a lot like grains of rice. Often you'll notice the physical evidence of tapeworms on your dog or in his bedding rather than seeing him display symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, because worms don't cause these symptoms early on. One sign that might show up, however, is your dog rubbing his backside on the ground to alleviate the severe itching that tapeworms can cause on his hind end.
Internal parasites aren't the only culprits when it comes to causing your dog such discomfort that he resorts to dragging his backside on the ground. The external variety, such as fleas, cause allergic symptoms in dogs including severe itching, especially around the base of your dog's tail. In addition to rubbing his backside, you might also notice your dog nipping at that part of his anatomy if he has a flea allergy. Many times the little bloodsuckers carry tapeworm larvae, which they can transmit to your dog if he unintentionally eats an infected flea. By controlling fleas you'll be ahead of the game as it will also decrease your pooch's chance of getting tapeworms.
Don't Ignore the Problem
If you catch your dog rubbing his rear on the ground, whether indoors or out, don't delay in making an appointment for him to see his vet. It's not just a frustrating antic. There is often a medical cause for the behavior and, no matter what it is, the reason for the rubbing problem should be diagnosed and treated. Your dog will be much more comfortable and you'll both be happier in the end.
- Vet Info: Anal/Rectal Problems in Dogs
- Healthy Pet.com: Anal Gland Problems
- Vet Street: Tapeworms in Dogs and Cats
- Dogs: The Ultimate Care Guide; Edited by Matthew Hoffman
- The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Health Books
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.