When you catch your furry family member dragging his rear end across the floor, you’ll know he needs a trip to the vet. Something out of the ordinary is irritating his buttocks and he can’t scratch it, so he scoots his bum to relieve the tension. Your veterinarian will check his anal region and may take a culture to get to the root of the problem.
Problems with Anal Sacs
Usually when you see Fido scooting around on the carpet, it’s to relieve the uncomfortable feeling from his anal sacs. Dogs have two anal sacs -- one on each side of the anus. These sacs contain sweat, scent and oil glands. Each time Fido goes potty, the sacs secrete a bit of fluid. But in some dogs, the sacs don’t empty frequently enough, the fluid gets stuck or the fluid is too thick to escape through the tiny openings. As a result, your puppy could have a hard time going to the bathroom if the sacs become big enough to block part of the anus or if they become infected. Your veterinarian can express the anal sacs if they are full and show you how to do it at home to prevent further complications in the future.
Your puppy can become infected with tapeworms after eating a tapeworm-carrying flea or after consuming an infected piece of meat. Sometimes tapeworms can cause a puppy to slide his rear across the floor in an attempt to remove some of the irritating tapeworm segments. You may notice parts of worms dangling from his anus or see dried pieces, which resemble rice kernels, in his stool. If left untreated, tapeworms can deprive your pint-size pal of some of the nutrients he needs to thrive.
The anal region is very sensitive and many things can irritate it. Your puppy’s diet could be aggravating his body, causing his hind end to be especially itchy each time he passes a stool. Additionally, fleas tend to congregate around the base of the tail. Some pups are extremely sensitive to flea saliva, causing an intense allergic reaction if Fido gets bit. Yeast infections, seasonal allergies and abnormal inflammation of the colon can also trigger scooting in canines.
If your puppy continues to drag his rear even after your veterinarian gives him a clear bill of health, he could just be trying to clean himself. Residue left behind from loose or wet bowel movements can be uncomfortable and he might not be able to remove the waste just by licking the area. When he scoots, he’s kind of using your living room rug as his own personal toilet paper. Help him out and protect your carpet by wiping his anal region with a warm wet cloth after he goes potty.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.