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Why Do Dogs Drag Their Butts Across the Floor? And When to See a Vet!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

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If you’ve ever owned a dog, you’ve seen it before. Sometimes, your dog starts scooting his butt along the floor and goes carpet surfing.

As funny (or embarrassing) as it may seem, there’s one perfectly good explanation for why they do it — because their butt itches!

And most of the time, that’s all it is. They’ve got that itch that they just can’t scratch, and the only thing that’s going to cure it is to drag their butt all over the floor.

However, there are times when an itchy butt is more than just a minor annoyance. There can be some seriously major issues as to the root cause of itchiness. And that’s what you need to find out.

Below are seven main reasons that dogs drag their butt across the floor.

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The 7 Reasons Dogs Drag Their Butts on the Ground:

1. General Irritation

dog dragging butt
Image Credit: Nancy Wong, Wikimedia Commons

The most common cause of butt itching and subsequent dragging is general irritation. This can be from a general itch, excess dirt, skin rash, or even knotted up fur. Each of these can cause a dog’s nether region to become irritated and itchy and the only comfort is to scratch it.

Normally a quick scoot handles this issue and your pup’s back on their merry way. This could, however, be an indication that they need a good scrubbing and grooming.

You might also like: 10 Best Dog Anti-Itch Sprays – Reviews & Top Picks

2. Allergies

Another thing that can cause itching and irritation is allergies. Dogs can be allergic to all sorts of things, just like humans! And their allergies can act a lot like ours, causing redness, rashes, and skin irritation.

Treatment is relatively easy, however. If your dog has a food allergy, you simply need to swap out their diet for something a bit more conducive to their bodies. Try out different limited ingredient foods that avoid the offending allergen, and your dog will be good as new in no time. Some good options are the line of American Journey’s Limited ingredients products, look for protein sources different from what your dog is currently reacting to. Remember to make a gradual transition between diets.

If your dog is starting to experience inflammation with their allergies or does not respond to a food ingredient change, it’s time to visit the vet. Your pet’s doctor will prescribe the appropriate medication based on the situation.

3. Diarrhea

Dog Diarrhea_shutterstock_A-photographyy
Image Credit: A-photographyy, shutterstock

If your dog’s got diarrhea, there’s a good chance it’s not just their gut that is experiencing discomfort. Their rectal area and anus are sure to be in pain as well.

When your pup as diarrhea, their anal sacs aren’t going to empty all the way and can rub their anus raw. This will cause severe itching and butt scooting

Normally, bouts of diarrhea only last for 12-24 hours. Within this time, alter your pup’s diet to something easy to digest with mixed in probiotics. This will help to improve your dog’s gut health as they recover. Also, you’ll want to help them keep their rear ends clean and itch-free by using a solution of minimally concentrated saltwater. Applying a topical ointment post-bath will also keep down irritation.

However, if your dog’s diarrhea doesn’t naturally clear up within two days, it’s best to consult your vet.

4. Hanging Feces

a dog pooping
Image Credit: The Faye, Flickr

This is another common cause for butt scooting in dogs. Hanging feces — or properly called dingleberries — are especially prominent in dogs that have long coats. Dingleberries will get caught up within their fur and can be twisted into tight knots or mats which irritate the area.

Fortunately, dingleberries can be easily avoided and remedied. First, you’ll want to ensure your dog’s gut health and diet promotes a firm stool. This will prevent hair from grabbing onto fecal matter on their grand departure.

Second, you just need to keep up with their personal hygiene. Bath them more regularly and trim out any you see hanging. Dingleberries aren’t necessarily a cause for vet concern unless your pup’s stools just won’t firm up or if they have recurring diarrhea.

5. Anal Gland Issues

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Another major cause for dogs dragging their butts across the floor is any type of anal gland issue. Dogs have two anal glands on either side of the anus that excrete their own unique pheromones. This helps the dog identify who’s who and what territory belongs to which dog. They’re part of the reason dogs sniff each other’s butts when meeting.

However, just like any other body part, anal sacs can be damaged in many different ways. One of the most common is through impaction. This is where the tiny ducts that emit pheromone secretion from the anal sac become clogged. You’ll actually be able to see when this happens. Their anal sacs will swell up and need to be manually expressed by your vet. However, while they’re growing and expanding, they’ll become increasingly uncomfortable for your pup. And that can lead to booty scooting.

Another issue that can occur is through anal sac infection. This isn’t as apparent as the swelling of the anal sacs but is often much more threatening. You may want to take your pup to the vet if they begin to experience a bloody discharge around the anus or if they seem in pain and discomfort. And if your dog starts licking their butt (a lot more than normal, anyway) that’s another warning sign.

6. Parasites

Ill labrador retriever in veterinary clinic_jaromir chalabala_shutterstock
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

Dogs are prone to a bunch of different parasites, which is why it is always important to keep them up to date with their deworming. Tapeworms can cause a whole bevy of intestinal and digestive issues including perianal irritation. This can be caused by a bowel movement full of tapeworm egg sacs. Trust us, you’ll know them when you see them. They’re like little rice grains in their poop.

Speak to your vet if you notice this, and they’ll point you in the right direction towards a good dewormer.

7. Behavioral Issues

Puppies Playing
Image Credit: 825545, Pixabay

And then there are times that your dog is going to butt scoot for the sheer fact that they’re getting a rise out of you. If you give your dog any sort of attention while carpet surfing (which you probably do), they may take note of it and do it again in the future for your attention.

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There are a ton of different reasons why dogs drag their butts across the floor. And several of them do require trips to the vet.

Fortunately, most are easily resolved issues that can be cleared up within a couple of days.

Featured Image Credit: Hand Robot, Shutterstock

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