If you share your world with a canine companion, chances are pretty good that you’ve seen the “scoot” — that less than adorable move where your dog drags their butt across the floor, leaving a trail of unpleasantness in their wake. Scooting occurs when your dog’s anal sacs end up clogged, and while clogged anal sacs can sometimes indicate your dog has a serious health issue, the problem is most often caused by inflammation that prevents your dog’s anal sacs from emptying as they’re supposed to.
Often the best way to manage the scoots is to engage in a few simple measures, like increasing the amount of fiber in your dog’s diet to improve their digestive health. Read on for our reviews of the 11 best dog foods to prevent scooting.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (2022)
The 11 Best Dog Foods to Prevent Scooting
1. Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, cracked pearled barley and brewers rice|
Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Digestive/Fiber Care with Chicken is our pick for the best overall dry dog food to prevent scooting. It features 7.1% crude fiber and provides a ton of healthy roughage from whole grain oats, ground pecan shells, and psyllium seed husks to help regulate your dog’s digestive system.
Hill’s helps regulate the bacteria in your dog’s gut to improve your companion’s overall digestive health and encourage a healthy gut biome. The product features ActiveBiome+ Ingredient Technology designed to encourage your dog’s body to naturally produce postbiotics that may help increase digestive health and reduce scooting.
2. Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials Shredded Blend – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Beef, rice, and poultry by-product meal|
Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials Shredded Blend Beef & Rice formula has a reasonable amount of healthy fiber and features probiotics to support your dog’s overall digestive health. It’s our pick for the best dog food to prevent scooting for the money. It features beef as the primary ingredient and provides approximately 29% crude protein to give your dog the nutrients they need to power through the day.
The formulation also includes glucosamine, EAP, and omega 3-fatty acids to support your dog’s joint health and address any mobility issues. The kibble features vitamins E and A, providing antioxidant support to limit free-radical cellular damage.
3. Nutro Ultra Adult Weight Management — Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, chicken meal, and whole-grain brown rice|
Nutro Ultra Adult Weight Management Chicken, Lamb & Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food is a great option for owners looking for a natural way to improve their dog’s digestive health as it features 4% crude fiber from sources such as whole grain brown rice and oats. It also provides dried kale, pumpkin, and spinach to support your dog’s overall digestive health.
The formulation is packed full of superfoods such as blueberries and carrots to provide your dog with healthy carbohydrates and natural sources of antioxidants. The company never includes genetically modified ingredients in its products, and the kibble doesn’t contain wheat, artificial flavors, or preservatives. While the product contains pea protein, it’s not listed in the first five ingredients.
4. Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus Dry Dog Food — Best for Puppies
|Main ingredients:||Beef Meal, grain sorghum, and chicken fat|
Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food for Active Dogs and Puppies is a good option for growing dogs due to the product’s high protein and fat concentrations—both of which are essential for rapidly growing pups. It also features pre and postbiotics to help your dog maintain a healthy gut, which is vital in producing bowel movements of the right consistency to encourage anal sac expression.
The kibble contains selenium yeast to encourage the development of a strong immune system and features proprietary mineral complexes designed to support paw pad health, boost optimal immune function, and provide metabolic support. It also features vitamins E and A to ensure your growing dog gets the antioxidants they need to protect vulnerable cells from free radical attacks.
5. Royal Canin Digestive Care Medium Dry Dog Food – Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Chicken by-product meal, corn, and brewers rice|
Royal Canin Canine Care Nutrition Medium Digestive Care is a high-quality option often recommended by veterinarians for digestive support and to help reduce scooting and other issues related to gastrointestinal health. It’s an excellent choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs as it includes animal protein from only one source—chicken. All protein in the product comes from highly digestible sources.
Royal Canin contains probiotics and fiber to improve the consistency of your dog’s stool. Healthy sources of fiber such as brown rice, corn, and brewer’s rice are packed into the product. It also contains vitamin C, providing antioxidant support to protect your dog’s cells from free radical damage.
6. Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Lamb meal, whole grain brown rice, and cracked pearled barley|
Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food makes our list due to its relatively high fiber content derived from healthy ingredients such as cracked pearled barley, oatmeal, and whole-grain brown rice. Thanks to ingredients such as pumpkin, chicory root, dried kelp, chia seeds, and coconut, it features a nice combination of soluble and insoluble fiber.
The kibble consists of around 22% protein and delivers a nice quantity of fat (12%) to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy. It also includes superfoods such as blueberries, spinach, and oranges to provide tons of immune system support.
7. I and Love and You Naked Essentials Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Lamb, chicken meal, and turkey meal|
I and Love and You Naked Essentials Grain-Free Lamb and Bison Recipe Dry Dog Food is a high-quality grain-free option packed with protein, with real lamb listed as the first ingredient on the label. The product is completely free of wheat, soy, and rice and doesn’t contain fillers. It includes dried chickpeas as an alternative carbohydrate source. Keep in mind that dogs, as omnivores, need carbohydrates and plant-based nutrients in their diets to ensure proper digestion, and there’s some debate about whether or not legumes cause heart problems in dogs.
The formulation features Happy Tummeez pre and probiotics to support your dog’s digestive tract and encourage optimal stool formation. The kibble also contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids to ensure your dog’s coat gets the nutrients it needs.
8. Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal and Chicken Meal|
Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Low Fat Chicken Flavor Dry Dog Food fills an important need; it’s a great option for dogs with extremely sensitive stomachs and difficulty digesting fat. It’s formulated with less fat and highly digestible sources of protein, making it extremely easy on your dog’s tummy while providing a nice mix of soluble and insoluble fibers to encourage ideal stool formation.
It contains ActivBiome+ technology with postbiotics to encourage the development of good gut bacteria and prebiotics for gut biome support. It features vitamin D to ensure your dog’s body can efficiently absorb calcium for strong teeth and bones as well as vitamin E for plenty of antioxidant support.
9. Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, Chicken Meal and Whole Grain Sorghum|
Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food is a wonderful option for senior dogs as it features a ton of protein, fat, fiber, and nutrients to support joint health. Coming in at a nice 309 calories per cup, Nutro also helps keep your dog’s weight under control, which can be an issue as older dogs often engage in less physical activity.
The recipe contains glucosamine and chondroitin to provide support for joint health, which is essential when it comes to keeping your dog active. Nutro also contains vitamin B12 to ensure your aging dog’s bones remain strong and healthy.
10. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small & Mini Perfect Weight Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, cracked pearled barley, and brown rice|
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small & Mini Perfect Weight Dry Dog Food is a fantastic option for slightly overweight smaller dogs with digestive issues causing anal sac problems. It hits all the high notes with 24% protein and 9% fat content, and it provides a whopping 13% crude fiber to support healthy bowel movements.
The recipe contains carnitine to help your dog convert food into energy and maintain optimal brain and heart function. It also features prebiotics to help your dog maintain a healthy gut and vitamins C and E to support immune function. Since it’s designed for small dogs, the kibble is just right for tiny mouths.
11. Purina ONE Natural True Instinct Dry Dog Food
|Main ingredients:||Turkey, chicken meal, soy flour, and beef fat|
Purina ONE Natural True Instinct Dry Dog Food is a healthy option that provides a decent amount of crude fiber along with all the protein your dog needs for energy and strong muscles. With 17% fat content, it delivers the nutrients your dog’s brain and coat need. The recipe is also loaded with essential nutrients such as vitamin E for antioxidant support and niacin to fight inflammation.
It has omega-6 fatty acids and biotin to ensure your dog’s coat remains shiny and their skin supple. The product also features vitamin D to assist with calcium uptake to help keep your dog’s teeth and bones strong. With vitamins E and A, your dog will have all the antioxidant support they need for healthy cells.
Buyer’s Guide: Picking the Best Dog Food to Prevent Scooting
Deciding what food to select for your dog’s specific needs can be tricky! Read on for a discussion of a few of the most important factors to consider when evaluating the various options on the market. Keep in mind that scooting can be caused by various problems, including parasites, inflamed anal sacs, and itchy inflamed skin nicked a few too many times during grooming.
Dogs allergic to grooming products will often scoot to relieve itching around the delicate skin close to their bottoms. Make sure to mention the issue to your veterinarian and get your dog checked for parasites and anal sack inflammation before just assuming you’re dealing with a relatively benign issue. Both parasites and inflamed anal sacs can develop into serious health issues that need medical treatment.
What Should I Look for in An Anti-Scooting Dog Food
The biggest thing to look for is plenty of healthy fiber. Your dog’s bowel movements need to be consistent to facilitate natural anal sac clearance. Bowel movements that are too hard cause straining that’s uncomfortable and unhealthy, and ones that are too soft won’t stimulate the glands to empty naturally. Having the right amount of fiber will increase the volume of your dog’s bowel movement, help ensure the fecal matter is the right consistency, and encourage regularity.
Look for a product with between 6% and 10% fiber. Foods with fiber contents higher than around 10% tend to encourage bloating and other gastrointestinal issues.
Look for a food with a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber to encourage digestive health. Soluble fiber is found in lignins, cellulose, and hemicelluloses: none of which usually cause stomach upset, gas, or diarrhea. Your dog’s digestive system doesn’t digest these types of fiber, and they don’t increase the caloric content of your dog’s food by much. Insoluble fiber increases fecal volume, so your dog’s poop is the right size and consistency to encourage natural anal sac expression.
Soluble fiber contributes to your dog’s overall digestive health and can be found in ingredients such as psyllium, barley, and oats. Your dog’s gut requires healthy soluble fiber to ensure proper digestion and the maintenance of sufficient good bacteria in their digestive tract. Having a healthy gut biome is essential to producing bowel movements of the right consistency to support natural anal sac clearing.
Will Products for Other Conditions Work to Minimize Scooting?
Absolutely. In fact, most of the options on the list fall into two categories: formulations for weight management and gut biome support. Providing a diet with sufficient fiber is an absolute must for gut and anal sac health. Weight management and gut biome support formulations typically contain high levels of fiber because fiber is critical for weight loss and gut health, making both types of dog food great for limiting scooting.
Wet vs. Dry Food
It’s possible to find wet and dry dog food recipes with high fiber content. Determining which to purchase depends on your preferences and your dog’s specific needs.
Wet food tends to be more expensive, and you’ll need more of it to get your dog all the calories and nutrients they need. While it’s possible to find larger cans, some dogs don’t like the taste of wet food that’s been refrigerated for a day or so, forcing owners to spend even more money purchasing smaller cans appropriate for individual feeding meals. Feeding your dog nothing but wet food can put a serious dent in your pocketbook over time. While it may be totally feasible to feed your Yorkie nothing but wet food, keeping a German Shepherd happy with just wet food is probably more than most owners are willing to take on.
Dry food tends to be easier on your wallet, but some dogs don’t like kibble that much, which is an important factor to consider as you’ll be transitioning your dog from one type of food to another. In addition, wet food has benefits; it has tons of moisture which can help ensure your dog gets enough water to stay hydrated, and it’s excellent for urinary tract and kidney health. Dry food, on the other hand, is ideal for free feeding: the practice of leaving food down during the day and allowing your pet to snack as they please.
To solve the problem, many owners feed their dogs a mixture of wet and dry food.
Bag and Can Size
Most high-quality dog foods come in various sizes, from small 5-pound options to whopping 40-pound bags that are perfect if you’re feeding a large breed that requires a ton of food. Dogs have sensitive noses and often will refuse to eat food that’s not quite fresh. Purchasing larger bags can cost you more in the long run if your dog refuses to eat those last bits of kibble.
Wet dog food is available in cans and pouches. Most pouches contain just under 3 ounces of dog food, which is often just about right for smaller dogs on combination diets but nowhere near enough for a meal if you’re feeding larger animals. There are also 5.5 and 12-ounce canned options available. The smaller 5.5-ounce choices can be eaten in one sitting by most medium-sized dogs, and 12-ounce options are perfect for larger canines. Remember that some dogs won’t eat wet food after it’s been refrigerated, and it’s best to purchase can sizes that come close to the amount your dog should be eating in one sitting.
According to our reviews, Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Digestive/Fiber Care is the best overall option with tons of healthy fiber. Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dog Food with Probiotics is affordable and has lots of protein and probiotics. Nutro Ultra Adult Weight Management Chicken, Lamb & Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food is a premium option made in the USA. Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus Formula Dry Dog Food for Active Dogs and Puppies provides plenty of protein, fiber, and fat. Lastly, many veterinarians recommend Royal Canin Canine Care Nutrition Medium Digestive Care to prevent scooting in dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Featured Image Credit: 279photo Studio, Shutterstock