My Dog Is Rubbing Their Butt on the Carpet
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When your dog drags their butt against the floor, it can often be a very humorous sight. They sit down, raise their back legs and pull themselves along with their front paws. The pose they create and the often-strained face they make when doing so add to the picture. If this is a one-off experience, then we might not have much cause for concern (other than the state of our carpet). However, if your dog repeats this scooting behavior, it is possible they have a veterinary medical condition which requires treatment.
At AnimalWised, we explain why my dog is rubbing their butt on the carpet. We also help you to know what to do once we know why this dragging behavior occurs.
Their butt is itchy
Dogs do not have flexible limbs in the same way as humans, nor do they have flexible digits on their paws. This means they have to use other methods to manipulate their environment and even themselves. Sometimes this requires maneuvering their bodies in different ways to perform certain actions. They scratch their ears with their hind legs or bite their back legs with their mouth to relieve an itch.
When it comes to their rear, dogs are often unable to reach this area easily with their mouth or paws. For this reason, if they have an itchy butt, they will need to scratch it. By rubbing their butt on the floor, they can better scratch that itch. Agitation of their rear may be a reason why don't let other dogs near them.
Dogs will scoot their butt across all types of ground and floors. However, carpet is often preferred. This is because the material carpet is made from is usually plush and soft, the fibers making a better scratcher than other floor types.
To wipe themselves
This most often occurs in dogs with long hair. When the dog defecates, it is possible the feces might stick to the area around the anus. This could be due to their long hair, but it may also be a result of improper posture when defecating or any other reason their hygiene isn't optimal.
When this occurs, the dog will often try to remove the fecal matter. They may do this with their mouth, but if they cannot reach, scooting along the ground can help to clean themselves. This might be satisfying for the dog, but it can be detrimental to our carpet. To maintain hygiene for both the dog and our home, it is important we inspect the dog after they have defecated to ensure they are clean.
When a dog is simply itchy, rubbing their butt on the carpet shouldn't represent much of a problem. They will relieve the itch and continue their day. However, if they do this repeatedly, there might be a health concern.
Parasitical infestation is one of the most common reasons why dogs rub their butt on the carpet. While it is possible, the dog has external parasites on their rear, it is more likely due to intestinal parasites. Internal parasites cause various problems for your dog, most commonly affecting the gastrointestinal tract.
Although not very common, tapeworms can go all the way through your dog's digestive tract and then need to be excreted. These are long parasites which can agitate the rectum and anus on evacuation. The dog may be dragging their butt to either remove them or to relieve the discomfort the cause. Some parasites have eggs or larvae which will cause a similar response.
To treat a parasitical infestation, the dog will need to be dewormed. This requires the identification of the parasite and an appropriate deworming treatment administered. This is something which needs to be carried out by a veterinarian.
Eating something they shouldn't
In some ways similar to excreting a tapeworm, dogs can have difficulty evacuating their bowels if they have eaten something they shouldn't. If a dog eats a foreign object such as a long piece of material, it can be difficult to pass. This can cause similar irritation and result in the dog pulling themselves along the ground to help ease it out.
It is important to know we shouldn't pull out material from the dog's rectum. If ti is very long or large, it can cause damage to the digestive tract. We will need to see a veterinarian who will decide whether it can be passed naturally or if it requires some assistance.
Impacted anal glands
One of the most common reasons dogs drag their butt on the carpet is due to their anal glands. These are glands beside the anus which both help in defecation and provide a unique scent to make them recognizable to other dogs. Due to their presence near their anus, it is important their hygiene is maintained. This can be difficult for some dogs, especially older dogs which are commonly affected.
Whether due to fecal matter or some other substance, your dog's anal glands may become impacted. The ducts which secrete the anal sac fluid become blocked and often start to grow in size. This inflammation can become painful, especially if an anal gland infection arises. The dog may drag their butt on the carpet to both relieve their pain and to help unblock the glands, something they often can't do on their own.
Treatment of impacted anal glands may simply require expression of the glands, something we or a veterinarian can do. However, if there is an infection, only a vet can prescribe the correct antibiotics to treat the condition.
Check out our related article to learn all about anal glands in dogs.
Perianal fistula or abscess
A fistula is a channel through which fluid can travel which shouldn't be there. A common example in dogs is an abscess. The infection causes pus to grow which needs to exit the body, so a fistula forms. When an abscess grows on the anal glands, we can refer to it as a type of perianal fistula. However, perianal fistulas can occur in any part of the area around the anus or on the anus itself.
Whatever the cause of the fistula or abscess, they can become very agitating for the dog. This can result in them dragging their butt on the carpet to relieve the pain and irritation. Treatment will also likely be antibiotics and/or drainage of the abscess.
The previous reasons why a dog is rubbing their butt on the carpet are usually specific to a certain disease or condition. However, if your dog keeps scooting on the floor, it is possibly due to lifestyle issues, especially due to poor diet.
An insufficient diet can have various affects on a dog. If they don't receive the correct nutrients, they can develop gastrointestinal problems. Overfeeding can also cause similar problems. This can lead to diarrhea which agitates the dog's anus, meaning they want to scratch themselves on the carpet to relieve the itch. Poor diet can also weaken their immune system, increasing the risk of parasites and worsening infection.
Improving your dog's diet won't only help to prevent them from rubbing their butt on the carpet. It will also improve their overall health and well-being.
One of the most discomfiting reasons why your dog is rubbing their butt on the ground is due to a rectal prolapse. This is when the rectum tissue moves from inside the dog's body to the outside. It can be a very painful and worrying situation for the dog.
A rectal prolapse in dogs is not a very common disorder. It can occur when the dog needs to strain for some reason. This can happen when the dog is in labor or even if they are straining to defecate. In the latter case, this can be due to serious constipation as the dog is trying to evacuate compounded fecal matter. Diet, disease, medication and other factors can cause your dog to be constipated, only resulting in prolapse if it is very severe.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the prolapse. If it is only a partial prolapse, the dog may need to have it pushed back in gently. If it is more severe, it may require veterinary surgery. The treatment must be carried out by a veterinarian in a sterile environment. If not, the exposed tissue can become infected and/or dehydrated.
Other reasons a dog is rubbing their butt on the carpet
Although we have covered the most important factors above, there are some other reasons why a dog might drag their butt along the ground. If they have a traumatic injury to the perianal area, it can cause them discomfort. They may try to relieve this discomfort by dragging their butt on the ground. Also, if the dog has a tumor on the skin around their perianal area, it may cause them to scoot for similar reasons.
If we are unsure about the cause of why a dog is rubbing their butt on the carpet, we need to take them to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
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