Question of the Week: Why is my dog scooting?

It’s not uncommon to see a dog exhibit what we call “scooting.” You may observe your dog dragging it’s rear end along the ground as if relieving an itch (see in this video). There are a few different things that can be the source of this irritation.

Food allergies are reported to be the most common culprit of scooting. Some foods prompt your dog’s immune system to over respond to “invading” proteins. Luckily there are a number of prescription diets on the market now to deal with these allergies.

Another cause for scooting is often the anal glands. These two glands situated on either side of the anus can become irritated or impacted. They contain a liquid that should be released when the dog has a bowel movement. Sometimes the fluid isn’t released as it should be and the glands get impacted and sometimes infected. If this happens, the anal glands can be expressed by either a technician or veterinarian. Some dogs (and cats for that matter) need this done on a regular basis.

If allergies and full glands aren’t the problem then we often suspect parasites are the issue. Tapeworms are the most common parasites we find in dogs in the Bay Area. They are most commonly contracted by eating fleas and if present in the stool can cause itching as well as other symptoms. They can often be identified by the naked eye either in the stool or around the anus.

While we have discussed the most common causes for scooting there may be sources we haven’t mentioned. If unsure, a visit to your veterinarian is the best way to be sure. Whatever the cause, scooting indicates that your dog is experiencing discomfort. Our staff are always available to talk to you further about this and other health concerns at 510-549-1252.