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Most dogs at some point will scoot their rear end. There are several reasons they do this. The most common cause is that the anal glands (sacs) are full. These are little grape size glands inside the anal area at about the 4 and 8 o’clock position. For lack of a better way to describe them, they are somewhat of a scent gland (and a very stinky one for sure!) Normally, when a dog or cat has a bowel movement, the glands naturally express as the bowel movement is expelled. But much of the time this does not occur in our domesticated pets. Then, overtime these anal glands fill up with fluid (sometimes very thick like toothpaste and sometimes very watery) and it becomes uncomfortable for the pet when they sense these glands are full. So, they begin to scoot their rear end in attempt to express these glands.

Another reason is from allergies. Whether environmental or food allergies, this can cause itching, and if the rear end it itchy for any reason they will scoot or lick. Parasites or diarrhea can also cause itching and scooting.

What can be done about it? Diet change may or may not help with the scooting. A higher fiber diet may help to bulk up the stools to potentially help the anal glands to express naturally. A hypoallergenic diet may help with scooting if there is a food allergy component, although this is not as common.

If the anal glands are getting full and uncomfortable, we recommend having them manually expressed. You can set up a technician appointment for this. Most dogs with this issue should have them expressed every couple of months to empty them out, or when they are exhibiting symptoms.

We also recommend having a stool sample checked to ensure there are no underlying parasites.