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What is Scooting?

Should your dog be scooting, you will notice that he is dragging his behind across the floor. This typically occurs because his rear end is itchy, painful or dirty. There are a variety of reasons that your dog may be scooting, to include:

  • Anal gland diseases
  • Flea infestation
  • Worm infestation
  • Ringworm and yeast infection
  • Food allergies
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin irritation 

How serious your dog’s scooting is will depend on its cause. Other symptoms that you may observe in addition to scooting include:

  • A foul smell from around his anus
  • Circling to lick the area
  • Excessive licking of the anal area

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Why Scooting Occurs in Dogs

The reason for your dog’s scooting will be dependent upon its cause. For example:

Anal Gland Diseases

Anal glands are also known as anal sacs. They are a pair of small scent glands, one on each side of your dog’s anus. Within these sacs is a very strong and poor smelling substance, mainly used by dogs to mark territory and also used when experiencing significant fear.

Typically, your dog’s anal glands are emptied when he defecates. Sometimes this does not occur and what is normally secreted will build up and clog the duct. This can lead to impacting of the anal ducts which will be very uncomfortable for your dog.

Flea Infestation

Fleas will cause your dog’s backside to itch. Typically, fleas will be discovered near his backside and tail and can result in significant itching for your dog, particularly if he has an allergy to flea bites. He may scoot in order to relieve the itching he is feeling.

Worm Infestation

In tapeworms, the worm segments can lead to itching and irritation as they leave your dog’s anus and are stuck on his skin and hair. Your dog may scoot when experiencing this in an effort to relieve the itching.

Ringworm and Yeast Infection

Ringworm and yeast, both fungi, can result in a skin infection around your dog’s tail. This will lead to itching and your dog will attempt to scoot to relieve that.

Food Allergies

If your dog has allergies to particular foods, significant itching may result. He may then scoot to relieve the itching. Additionally, skin reactions often occur with allergies.


Diarrhea may irritate your dog’s anus and the feces can get stuck in the hair in that area. This can lead to scooting as he trying to scratch and clean the area. Id the diarrhea is persistent, the skin around the anus and tail may become red and sore.

Skin Irritation

Irritated skin, possibly after grooming, can lead to scooting as an effort to resolve the discomfort your dog is experiencing. Other causes of skin irritation may be reaction to the grooming products, insect bites, parasitic infection, and exposure to household irritants.

What to do if your Dog is Scooting

If you notice your dog scooting, you will want to take a close look at his backside. You may immediately notice fecal matter lodged in his fur; a bath can help remove it and restore your dog’s comfort. If the scooting occurs after your dog has been groomed, you will want to look closely for clipper burns or skin irritation near his anal area that may have been caused by shampoos, sprays or grooming products.

A flea comb will be helpful to look for the presence of fleas in your dog’s anal area. You can also check your dog’s stools for the presence of worms. A foul smell will alert you to the possibility of a problem with your dog’s anal glands. Your veterinarian can help you to confirm any of these issues and recommend appropriate treatment.

Should none of these issues be present in your dog, your veterinarian may consider a food allergy and recommend an elimination diet.

Prevention of Scooting

To prevent your dog from scooting, there are things that you can do to prevent the conditions that will lead to his doing so. A well-balanced diet and exercise are important for your dog’s overall health and for promoting proper anal gland expression. 

When it comes to worms and fleas, there are products available that will help your dog avoid infestation. Ringworm will result from your dog having direct contact with a dog who has the infection. If you are aware that a dog has ringworm, keeping the infected dog separated from other animals while the infection clears is key. When there are a large number of dogs in one place it can lead to the infection being spread.

Cost of Scooting

The cost of your dog scooting will vary, depending upon the cause of his doing so. If your dog is scooting as a result of diarrhea, cleaning his anal area won’t cost anything and should resolve the problem. In the case of fleas, it can cost up to $200 to eliminate them. The average cost of eliminating tapeworms in your dog is around $300. Anal gland disease can be more expensive, averaging around $500.