Why do dogs "scoot" about on their bottoms?
From time to time, dogs can be seen "scooting" around on their bottoms.
Many pet owners think this behaviour is associated with a worm infestation but it is usually a sign that the dog needs his/her anal sacs (glands) emptying.
This is certainly not something a pet owner would want to do and an appointment with a vet or veterinary nurse is required.
The Anal Sacs
The anal sacs can be found just inside the anus and collect a smelly, oily fluid which is naturally emptied out when your dog has a bowel movement. This is thought to be a way of marking out territory or communicating with other dogs.
If the anal sacs do not empty out properly, your dog will "scoot" or drag his/her bottom across the floor in an attempt to empty them. Other symptoms include excessive licking under the tail, tenderness near the tail and anus or bloody or sticky drainage from the anus area. Tail chasing can also be a symptom.
The problem is more common in small to medium size dogs but can occur in larger dogs.
If left untreated, the anal sacs can become infected and eventually lead to infection which will be much more painful for your pet and more difficult to treat.
Causes of Anal Sac Blockage
The problem can be caused by a number of things but is often linked to a low-fibre diet or soft stools. The problem can usually be cured by introducing more fibre into your pet's diet.
Puppies: often need anal sacs emptying as they are still developing their digestive system and getting used to switching from their mother's milk to solid food.
Overweight dogs: sometimes have this problem as they have less muscle tone and additional fat tissue can prevent the sacs from emptying naturally.
Sick dog: problem can occur if your dog is sick with loose stools or diarrhoea or has had a change of diet.
If your dog shows any of the above signs, you should arrange an appointment for your dog at your veterinary surgery, to have the anal sacs emptied.