There are so many odd canine behaviors. From crotch sniffing to humping inanimate objects, their weirdness can definitely be off-putting. Among them, butt-scooting always raises an eyebrow or two. What is this behavior all about? Why do they do this to our fine rugs? The answer isn’t pretty, but the reason is almost always related to their anal glands.
Located right inside the opening of the anus, anal glands are responsible for secreting a smelly, pasty material that serves as a scent marker during defecation. They’re also triggered to secrete when a dog is threatened or scared.
Dogs scoot their butts because of an irritation in the anus area. In other words, they cannot scratch their bottoms in the traditional way, so they scoot it on the floor. Impacted anal glands are usually to blame, creating incredibly uncomfortable sensations for dogs.
What Else Could it Be?
Fecal contamination, worms, swelling, and rectal prolapse are often ruled out when addressing butt-scooting behavior. Dogs of any age and breed can experience problems related to anal glands, but smaller dogs may have more narrow ducts between the glands and the rim of the anus.
If anal glands are causing problems, it’s because they aren’t functioning properly. Sometimes the glands become blocked with a thickened version of the secretion. This leads to inflammation. Impacted, abscessed, or infected anal glands can be very painful.
Aside from butt-scooting, dogs may walk hunched over, exhibit pain or difficulty pooping, or appear constipated. If a dog can reach, they may lick the anus repeatedly, potentially transferring oral bacteria to the impacted glands.
Pressure directly applied to the glands is required to relieve the blockage. Lancing an abscess may be necessary, as well as antibiotics, to relieve a dog’s pain. Recurrent issues with the anal glands can result in surgical removal, but there are ways to reduce chronic occurrences, such as:
- Weight management (overweight and obese dogs are more susceptible to this type of health issue)
- Increase fiber and/or pumpkin intake to raise pressure on the glands while passing fecal matter (this helps to naturally drain the glands)
- Adding opportunities to exercise
Anal Glands and Dog Behavior
Please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding anal glands. Symptoms can be curious to observe at first, but if they continue, your dog could be headed for a lot of unnecessary pain and discomfort.