Seeing our dog dragging his bottom on the floor is not usual, and despite being slightly laughable, a dog feeling itchy and scratching butt-first along the ground should be taken seriously. Scooting (as it is commonly named) is usually an attempt from our dogs to relieve discomfort around the anal region.
Often times, it may be accompanied by other behaviors such as licking or nibbling the region around the anus and the tail.
We asked veterinarians to answer several frequently asked questions for us. Here is what they say:
1# What motivates this behavior?
Medical conditions of the anal sacs (small glandular structures around the anus of dogs or cats) or with parasitic infestations often cause this kind of behavior. Whenever scooting becomes a habit it is wise to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
2# How can anal sacs cause itching?
The anal sacs normally produce, and release, along with the feces, a brownish secretion with an intensely foul-smelling odor. This is important in territorial marking – it’s also why it’s common for dogs to smell each other’s butts!
Problems can arise when, for some reason, this secretion is not released with the feces and begins to build up inside. These situations can result in the hardening of the secretion, causing inflammation of the gland or even bacteria growth, thus resulting in anal sac infection. Sometimes an abscess can develop and open, leading to a fistula, which requires immediate medical attention.
3# And what about the parasites?
Another possible yet less common cause for this behavior may be the presence of intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms. Tapeworms are white to yellowish, flat and long intestinal worms. Our pets can become infested with these parasites by eating infected fleas or by eating faeces from other infested animals.
These parasites cause tissue irritation and thus, discomfort…and itching. Scooting may be a sign. However, the evidence of worms in feces, or even small white segments of the larvae, around the anus are usually a better sign of parasitic states.
4# How to handle the situation?
If your pooch is scooting, it is always wise to seek medical advice. The treatment options may vary according to the cause. Plus, some cases may require treatment to be continued at home.
When the problem is secretion build up inside the sacs, generally, a simple manual emptying of the glands – which consists of compressing the anal sacs to release the smelly secretion – can be sufficient to solve the situation! However, in some cases, it may be necessary to use anti-inflammatory or antibiotic medication to adequately treat the problem.
a) Surgical removal
In case of anal sac problems become a recurring issue, the surgical removal of the anal glands can be a solution. It is a simple procedure and our pets will not miss these glands.
Regarding prevention, there is some suggestion that diet and obesity may have some influence on causing anal sac conditions. According to such evidence, the recommendations are to keep dogs lean and opt for healthier diets rich in fiber.
As for parasites…they can be prevented and controlled through the regular administration of deworming treatments. Remember that it is important to keep both internal and external parasites under control to keep our pets safe.
So remember: follow your vet’s advice on deworming treatments. You can also count on the Petable App’s notifications to remind you of deworming dates.
Author: Petable Team