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My Dog Is Licking Their Butt a Lot – Should I Be Worried?

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

dog lick thier butt

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Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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A dog that is constantly licking their butt is usually a sign that something is wrong. It is normal for a dog to occasionally clean their butt by licking it—it’s simply a part of your dog’s grooming routine. However, if your dog’s butt-licking is starting to become excessive, there is probably an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

You should be worried if your dog is licking because of discharge, swelling, or a foul smell from the area, as this is an indication that there could be an underlying infection.

Regardless, if you notice any abnormal behaviors in your dog, the first step is to take them to a veterinarian.

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Why Do Dogs Lick Their Butts? Is It Normal?

vet cleaning anal glands of a dog
Image Credit: Yekatseryna Netuk, Shutterstock

If you have noticed your dog licking their butt, you might wonder if this is normal. Dogs who are grooming will lick their butt because this is their way of keeping it clean, but it shouldn’t be excessive.

The occasional lick for your dog is normal, and they might be trying to dislodge a piece of dried fecal matter or dirt that is giving them a slight itch, or your dog might decide that the best time to give a deep clean to the area is when you are trying to sleep at night!

Dogs who constantly sit licking their butt or stop in the middle of an activity to lick their butt is not normal. This can be a sure sign that something is not right in that area, and you will need to take a look at it to see what’s going on. If that’s not something you would like to do, taking them to get checked out by a veterinarian is the best option.

If you notice any of the following signs from your dog’s butt, then their reason for licking their butt is not normal and can be a cause for concern.

  • A foul smell
  • Discharge
  • Blood and pus
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Redness
  • Rashes
  • Swollen anal glands
  • Part of the rectal tissue is protruding

The 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Licking Their Butt

1. Parasites

Image Credit: Rattiya Thongdumhyu, Shutterstock

Intestinal parasites like tapeworms can give your dog an itchy butt, and you will notice that they will constantly lick and even scoot along the ground by rubbing their butt on carpets, grass, and your floor to alleviate any discomfort.

Aside from causing your dog to become increasingly aware of their behind, there could also be eggs and worms in their poop, and in severe cases, dangling out from their butt. The worms can get caught in the fur around your dog’s anus, which can be visible if you hold a flashlight to that area.

This is a serious situation, and you will need to take your dog to the veterinarian for an examination and to find the right dewormer to get rid of the parasite infestation.

2. Infections

Infections can cause a foul smell and discharge from your dog’s butt, and they will lick at the area because it can either be painful, itchy, or bother your dog. They will lick their butt to soothe the area, and there can also be some swelling and changes to the surrounding anal skin, especially if it has been caused by an injury.

Blood, pus, and discharge can be found in your dog’s fur around their butt, in their poop, and even in their bed or furniture after they have sat down.

Infections can also be painful for dogs, and immediate veterinary treatment is important, along with either topical or oral medication prescribed by a vet.

3. Anal Gland Problems

Prophylactic cleaning the paranal glands in the dachshund dog veterinarian in the clinic
Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

Dogs have anal glands, which are small sacs on either side of their anus, and these sacs are filled with a liquid that dogs use to mark their territory. Sometimes, their anal glands can become infected, inflamed, or impacted which can lead to problems that can irritate the area, resulting in your dog licking.

Any anal gland problems that your dog has can be seen through excessive butt licking and biting, scooting, and anal discharge. There will also be a foul smell from your dog’s butt, as the liquid inside can have a fishy odor. In some cases, your dog’s anal glands will swell, or you may notice a lump. With these symptoms, you will need to take your dog to a veterinarian.

4. Allergies

Allergies are a common reason for your dog to be licking their butts. These skin allergies can be caused by seasonal changes, reactions to foods, medications, or certain chemicals that your dog is exposed to in their environment. This causes itchiness and even rashes on your dog’s butt, making them lick and bite at the area to alleviate the itchiness.

Applying a topical allergy cream or ointment can help, or an allergy medication as prescribed by a veterinarian. This can help combat your dogs’ allergies, and in some cases, lifestyle changes will need to be made if your dogs’ allergies are caused by their diet.

5. Dried Feces

Dried Dog Poop Feces
Image Credit: Clksy30, Shutterstock

When your dog goes to the bathroom, dried poop can sometimes get stuck on their butt or around the fur and dry, making your dog’s butt itchy. Your dog will lick their butt to get it clean and try to remove the dried poop.

This is also quite common for dogs that are either constipated or suffering from diarrhea as the poop can easily get stuck and become an irritation. If your dog is licking their butt and you can see the dried poop, use a pet-safe wipe or a clean towel dipped in warm water to gently remove the poop.

If your dog does have diarrhea or constipation, fixing this issue will help stop this from happening, although all dogs will occasionally have dried poop stuck on their butt at some point.

How Can You Stop Your Dog from Licking Their Butt?

Since it is normal for dogs to lick their butt, it can be difficult to get them to stop. The only way to do this is to fix the source of the problem that is causing them to lick their butts in the first place. Dogs typically won’t lick their butts excessively if there isn’t something wrong, and getting your dog checked out by a veterinarian can help find the reason behind this behavior.

Whether it’s due to allergies, infection, anal gland problems, or as simple as an itchy behind, the veterinarian can help treat the problem which will stop your dog from excessively licking their butt or scooting.

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Final Thoughts

Watching your dog lick their butt isn’t a pleasant experience, and if it is occasionally when your dog is grooming itself, there isn’t anything you need to be worried about. However, if the licking is become excessive and causes your dog distress, there is an underlying issue that is causing this and it’s best to get them checked out by a vet.

Featured Image Credit: Jiramath Noomuan, Shutterstock

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