Q: Doc, why is my dog scooting on the carpet?
Q: My Yorkie-Poodle mix has recently been scooting her rear end on the carpet. Should she see her vet?
There are several reasons for scooting which your veterinarian can easily check. The first, and most common cause is a problem with your pet’s anal sacs. These are two small sacs lined with glandular cells located just inside the anus which produce an odorous fluid that is normally excreted when your pet defecates, or perhaps when she is nervous. These sacs are akin to the stink-glands in skunks explaining the pungent smell. They are also the same sacs that dogs sniff when they greet each other, like a sniffing fingerprint.
If the sacs become inflamed or abscessed, they can become irritated and even painful requiring intervention from your veterinarian; the pain can be analogous to hemorrhoids in people. Your visit may be as simple as expressing the sacs to relieve pressure or opening an abscess to allow it to drain. If anal sacs are not the root of the problem, a few other things should be assessed:
- Have I done an annual fecal check for intestinal worms? (They can be irritating)
- Has my pet been groomed lately? (Is there any clipper-related irritation?)
- Does my pet have allergies? (Either seasonal, fleas, food, etc – your vet can address any of these concerns)
- Is my pet’s rear end clean? (If there are any fecal remnants on the fur, your pet may simply be trying to wipe them off).
If, in the end (no pun intended), you have exhausted this list of potential causes for scooting, your pet may simply have an occasional itch down there. Unfortunately for your carpets, scooting is their best means for providing relief.