You see your dog rubbing their butt across the rug and you know instantly — itchy dog butt syndrome has struck again. While this isn’t a pleasant sight to see (especially if you have guests over) it may be cause for concern.
There are several reasons your pet might develop an itchy behind. Here are some of the most common.
Dogs have two sacs around their anus that hold pheromone-laden fluids that dogs use to communicate with other dogs. When these glands get too full, it can cause dogs to experience that uncomfortable itching sensation.
Usually, these glands expel naturally when dogs go potty, but not always. Sometimes, dogs need a little help. This can be done manually by squeezing the area around the anus. Check out our guide on anal gland expression for more information.
When an anal gland isn’t naturally or manually expressed, it can become impacted or infected, which is a painful and costly condition. If it gets blocked badly enough, it can become abscessed or even burst, which is potentially life-threatening. Talk to your vet or chat with a vet now if you think your dog’s anal glands could be impacted or infected.
Intestinal worms are another common cause of rectal itching in dogs. Some types of worms can be seen by the naked eye, but only a fecal test can rule out the presence of parasites. Since not all worms are detectable by sight, have your vet test your dog for parasites if you rule out other causes.
Allergies are an itchy business, and that goes for the hind end too. Reactions to allergens in the diet can cause rectal itching and scooting as a sort of self-soothing method. Food allergies are tricky because they can develop at any time, even to foods a dog has eaten their whole life. Food allergies in dogs are usually accompanied by skin rashes, hair loss, and scratching.
Matted fur is another common culprit for butt itching in dogs. Matting around the anus is especially common in dogs with long fur since poo can get stuck in it when they’re going to potty. Itching and scooting may be your dog telling you that they need a sanitary trim.
Constipation is yet another cause of scooting and may cause your pup to leave behind a mess. A fiber or water deficiency is the number-one cause of constipation in dogs, so make sure your dog is getting plenty of both.
Examine your pup’s hind end to make sure there aren’t any obstructions or matting.
Have your pup checked for intestinal parasites.
Attempt to express your pup’s anal glands.
Keep an eye out for allergy symptoms: fur scratching, hair loss, and rashes.
Switch their diet to see if that helps. If it does, it could be an allergy.
Watch your dog to see if they’re straining when going to potty. Visually check their stool to see if it is hard or dry; this is also a sign of constipation.
Below are 5 tricks and home remedies vets suggest to alleviate rectal itching in dogs.
Make a compress out of a warm wet washcloth and hold it to your pup’s bottom for 5 minutes to encourage better drainage. You may need to rewet the cloth to keep it warm while you do this. After a few minutes, try to empty the scent glands. The heat and moisture can sometimes help the fluid expel easier in hard-to-express glands.
Switching to a dry food with more fiber is one solution to constipation-related rectal itching. Alternatively, you can supplement their diet with fiber-rich veggies like carrots, beets, and pumpkin.
If you suspect your pup has parasites, or if they're had a recent bout of fleas, it's a good idea to give them a dewormer. Puppies are especially prone to worms since they can be passed from the mother to the babies. Vets usually recommend full-spectrum dewormers that contain two or more antiparasitic medications like pyrantel and praziquantel. No one antiparasitic works for all intestinal parasites, so it's usually better to fork out a little more for a broad-spectrum medication.
This may seem like a strange remedy for rectal itching, but it works wonders for constipation. Besides revving up the metabolism, exercise improves gastric motility which helps dogs pass stools more easily. Who knew?
We can't stress this enough. Express. Those. Anal. Glands. Besides being uncomfortable and itchy, excessively full anal glands are a danger to Fido's health.
Expelling anal glands is easy, albeit kinda gross, so make sure you wear old clothes when you do it. It's best to perform anal gland expression during bathtime since warm water relaxes the muscles and makes it easier for the fluid to release. If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, ask your groomer or vet to do it for you.
If the first few home remedies don't work, give these a try.
You may be surprised how well a trim can help with rectal itching. Unsure how to give a proper sanitary trim? Check out this sanitary trim guide.
There is anecdotal evidence that herbal drops can help with digestion and relieve constipation. Formulas with marshmallow root and slippery elm are especially useful for this purpose.
Probiotics work by adding good bacteria to the digestive tract. These can also aid in preventing constipation and hard stools.
Antibiotics are sometimes needed to treat infected anal glands. Vets will usually only prescribe them in severe cases.
If your dog seems to be in pain, your vet may recommend dog-safe pain-relievers. Never give your dog human medicine without explicit instruction from a vet.
Rectal itching is a literal pain in the butt — for dogs and their parents too. Sometimes, itchy dog butt is a symptom of a larger problem. Talk to your vet if home remedies don’t resolve the issue or if you suspect your dog has parasites or a contributing illness. Hopefully, these tips and remedies can help your dog overcome their hiney issues.