Scooting in dogs

Photo of dog on white background

Overview

  • Scooting is the word we use to describe a dog sitting down and dragging their bottom along the ground.
  • Scooting can be due to:
    • Anal gland problems
    • Worms
    • Itchy skin
    • Something stuck around or irritating the anus (bottom).
  • Book an appointment with your vet if you notice your dog scooting, unless the problem is obvious and simple to fix at home

Why does my dog scoot?

Scooting is the word we use to describe a dog sitting down and dragging their bottom along the ground. Scooting is often due to discomfort, pain or an itch.

Illustration of dog scooting

Dog scooting

Causes

There are a few common causes of scooting in dogs:

  • Something stuck around the bottom. Your dog may scoot if they have something stuck to their bottom such as a piece of poo, mud or perhaps a twig caught in their fur.
  • Blocked anal glands. The anal glands are two little sacs that sit just inside the anus and cause itching and discomfort if they become blocked.
  • Anal gland abscess. Anal glands abscess are very painful.
  • Worms. If your dog gets worms, they may develop an itchy bottom. Remember to treat your dog for worms regularly.
  • Itchy skin. Itchy skin can affect any part of the body, including around the anus. Atopic dermatitis (atopy) is a common cause of itchy skin and scooting in dogs.
  • Other. Other conditions that affect the anus/bottom such as anal furunculosis and anal masses can cause scooting.

When to contact your vet

Check under your dog’s tail and around their bottom, if you find something obvious you may be able to sort it out at home (for example a piece of poo or matted hair). If the problem is less obvious, or you are unsure what to do, book an appointment with your vet. You know your dog best; always contact your vet if you are concerned.

Find out whether you are eligible for free or low cost PDSA veterinary treatment using our checker.

FAQ’s

How can I stop my dog dragging their bottom along the floor?

Scooting indicates that something is bothering your dog so instead of trying to stop them, book an appointment with your vet to find out why.

Published: February 2020

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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst