Why Is My Dog Scooting?

Has your dog been scootin' along on the floor? Maybe he or she has been directing a lot of attention towards the rear. It may be a funny sight to see, but scooting and/or excessive licking are usually ways for our canine friends to tell us about their discomfort.


Consider the following list if you see your dog scooting or licking towards his or her tail:

  • Anal Gland Issues
    • Dogs & cats have been blessed with a bit of extra internal anatomy: anal glands. These are small glands located just inside the rectum that will fill with normal bacteria and typically release themselves naturally during bowel movements. 
    • It is not uncommon for dogs to need their anal glands expressed. Occasionally our feline friends need some assistance, as well. When the glands do not express naturally while defecating, they will continue to build up with bacteria and eventually will need manual expression. That is where we come in! Anal glands give off a very distinct smell so we are always happy to take that burden off of you as a pet owner.  :) 
    • When anal glands are left full with no natural or manual relief, we then worry about ruptures, impactions and/or abscesses. As one can imagine, our dogs & cats are very sensitive near the rear so while anal gland abnormalities are treatable, they can cause our pets much discomfort. 


  • Skin Issues
    • Some dogs will scoot or lick when their skin is irritated! It is their way of attempting to administer self-relief. Various factors may be at play when it comes to skin irritations. If you see swelling or redness near the rear, it may be time for a check-up. One of our veterinarians will determine the best course of necessary diagnostics and treatment. 


  • Parasites
    • Dogs & cats are natural hosts to many internal and external parasites. How these parasites can be transferred to our pets is species specific. Parasites in or on our pets can spread disease all the while causing illness and discomfort, hence why you may see excessive licking or scooting.
    • The upside to the creepy-crawlies? Most parasites can be controlled and even prevented! Ask your veterinarian which preventative is best for your pet. 
    • In the meantime, see below for the list of at home prevention tips (to protect pets & families) from our friends at pethealthnetwork.com 
      • 1: Pick up your dog's waste regularly, especially in places where both children and animals play.
      • 2: Wash your hands thoroughly after picking up your dog's waste and also after exposure to soil (gardening), sandboxes and raw meat.
      • 3: Cover sandboxes and play areas to prevent wildlife and strays from contaminating these areas.
      • 4: Do not allow children to put dirt in their mouths.
      • 5: Check your dog and your family for ticks regularly. If you find a tick, remove it right away.
      • 6: Have your dog tested for intestinal parasites and parasitic infections annually (at a minimum).