It can be worrying and even disturbing if you see your dog sliding its bottom along the ground repeatedly. This behaviour can be seen in dogs of all ages but what does it mean?
The Causes of Scooting
When a dog appears to be wiping its own bottom, it is usually because it is attempting to alleviate itchiness or irritation. There are several possible reasons for the problem, including the presence of tapeworms, a tumor, a skin allergy or a dirty bum. But the most likely cause is blocked anal glands. These are located either side of the anus and release an oily secretion which is believed to be one of the ways that dogs mark their territory.
All About Anal Glands
The anal glands would normally be emptied when your dog poos. But trouble can arise if your pooch suffers a case of diarrhoea. Loser stools mean that the squeezing action your dog performs to poo may not be strong enough to empty the anal glands. If the glands become completely full they will no longer empty automatically. The glands are then uncomfortable for your dog and could be susceptible to infection. It is also possible for the anal glands to rupture.
Which Dogs are at Risk of Blocked Anal Glands?
Any dog can suffer from blocked glands but smaller dogs seem to be more prone to the condition. Overweight and obese dogs are certainly at higher risk. This is because they can lack muscle tone if they are unfit and any excess fat in the anal region will inhibit the squeezing motion which would normally empty the glands.
How to prevent Blocked Anal Glands
Clearly it is important that your pampered pooch isn’t so pampered that it gains weight. Keep your dog at a healthy weight and it will help to ward off many potential health issues including blocked glands. Adding more fibre to your dog’s diet may also help. The fibre will make any poo bulkier and so more difficult to squeeze out. This should ensure that the anal glands are emptied more effectively. Regular worming treatments are also essential and you should keep an eye on your dog’s posterior to ensure that all is well. (Yuk!)
Treating Blocked Anal Glands
If your preventative measures fail, your vet should be able to manually empty your dog’s anal glands. Dogs which are prone to the problem may have to endure this procedure several times. Recurrent issues could mean that surgery to remove the anal gland is required but this is a last resort. Your vet will be able to advise you as to the best course of action.
Blocked anal glands could afflict any dog but a healthy diet and plenty of exercise will help to reduce the chances of your pooch suffering from this problem. It is incredible how many health issues in pets can be attributed to poor diet and obesity. A few simple measures could save your pet from a world of pain and a healthy pet will save you from those nasty vet’s bills.