Scooting isn’t Cute – What Does It Mean?

April 9th, 2008 by Dan

Have you ever seen your dog scooting it’s behind across the floor? If you don’t know the “scoot” I’m speaking of, watch the video below to see an example:

While this odd behavior may be amusing the first time you see it, it actually can be brought on by a variety of causes:

* Anal Glands – dogs have anal glands located on both sides of the rectal opening that contain an incredibly odoriferous fluid. When your dog “does his thing” outside, he releases some of the fluid. This lets other dogs who smell the area know that he has been there. Think of it as a doggie calling card. These glands are also the reason behind the butt sniffing greeting we so consistently witness between newly introduced dogs. If your dog can’t express these glands himself through defecation, they can become infected. To read more about anal glands click here.

*Diarrhea or Firm Stools – If your dog has been suffering from very hard or very loose stool, he could be scooting to try to relieve the feeling of irritation or to just clean himself.

*Tapeworms – Tapeworms are intestinal parasites that can cause irritation and itchiness to your dog and cause him to want to scoot. If you catch your dog scooting and see little white segments that resemble grains of rice, your dog has tapeworms and will need to be treated by a veterinarian. Flea prevention is the best way to prevent tapeworm infections.

*Perianal Tumor – This is a kind of tumor that is found most commonly in unneutered male dogs. They appear in the skin around the anal opening. These tumors can be adenomas, which are benign or perianal gland adenocarcinomas, which are malignant. Both appear as small, pink, round growths. If the tumor is found to be an adenoma and it occurs on an intact dog, neutering can help! 95 percent of perianal adenomas resolve themselves after neutering!

Italian Greyhound Scooting

Photo by Snutur

If you spot your pet scooting once, it probably isn’t a big deal. (Make sure you never YELL at your dog for scooting! They can’t help it!) If you notice any of the following signs, it’s time to see your vet:

* Your dog is scooting multiple times a day or on a regular basis
* You notice discharge from the anal area.
* Your pet is licking, chewing or scratching at his rear end.
* You notice a growth near your dogs anal area
* You notice rice-like segements under your dogs tail – he must be treated for tapeworms

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