We have all witnessed our cute Cavapoos scooting their bottoms along the floor, and whilst it may be mortifying at the time, it could actually be a sign that something with their rear end is not quite right.
Puppies often rub their bums on the floor as a way to relieve themselves of irritations. Many things can cause a dog to scoot across the carpet, such as clogged or infected anal glands, food allergies, grooming injuries, internal parasites and even diarrhea.
If you notice your dog scooting their backside along the carpet, then it is really important that you do not just laugh it off and ignore. Chances are they will just have an itch, however if your dog continues to drag its butt across the floor for more than a day or two, then it is time to take it more seriously.
Dog scooting happens for a number of reasons. To find out why your puppy keeps rubbing their bum on the floor and the telltale signs to suggest that is is time to visit your vet, check out our comprehensive list of probable causes below.
What is dog scooting?
Whether you refer to this behavior as bum dragging, spinning shuffles, carpet surfing, or tail scooting, when your dog sits down on the grass or floor and brazenly scrapes their bottom behind them, this action your puppy is performing is done in order to alleviate an itch, irritation pain or problem around their anus.
Although the majority of the time, the causes of scooting can be easily rectified, in some occasions it can signal something more sinister and require a visit to the vets.
Why do puppies scoot?
It is perfectly normal to see both puppies and dogs scoot their backsides across the floor, but it is important that you understand the reason behind the action.
Therefore we would recommend that you examine the area beneath the tail and around the anus, taking care to clean it with a gentle shampoo or dog friendly antibacterial wipe. If you notice a strong odor, swelling, discharge or injury, then it is likely that your dog will require veterinary treatment and care.
The most probable causes of dog scooting include:
Clogged anal sacks
You may have noticed that when dogs greet one another, they do so not by the shaking of paws, but through the sniffing of bottoms!
This is because every dog has two small anal sacs on either side of their rear end that contains a strong, foul fluid that many liken to the smell of fish. This liquid is unique to your dog and is released when your dog goes to toilet.
Normally, your dog’s bowel movement will trigger the anal sacs to empty automatically through a fine duct. However, if they’re not working properly, then this fluid can build up causing a number of anal gland issues.
Once the anal glands become inflamed, the liquid inside solidifies making it difficult for it to be released properly, which can later lead to an infection. And, if the duct becomes clogged or blocked then this is known as impaction.
Impacted or infected anal glands are one of the most common reasons that dogs scoot, as they desperately try to relive the discomfort of the overfilled glands by rubbing their bottoms across the floor.
This blockage can only be relieved by expressing the anal glands and it is important that this is done to prevent any abscesses from forming. The delicate nature of this procedure should be performed by a vet to prevent further anal sac issues.
Skin and genital irritations from grooming
Aside from brushing your dogs coat, most groomers will trim the area around the anus and genital areas to prevent them from becoming stained or smelling.
Dogs that are groomed frequently, such as Cavapoos, may experience clipper burns and irritations from sprays, perfumes, or grooming products that get under their tail and around their bottom and genitals.
I have often picked our Cavapoo Rosie up from the groomers only to watch her scooting her way back to the car. This is due to the tickling nature of the stubbly fur which she find irritating at first, but you should double check the area for any nicks, cuts of razor burns. If your dog continues to scoot, licks or shows signs of being itchy all over, then it could be that they are suffering from a skin allergy.
For this reason, you should ask your groomer to use hypoallergenic shampoos and products on your dog moving forward and in the meantime use warm compresses to alleviate any irritations.
Your dog’s diet can also have a direct impact on the anal glands.
Food allergies or intolerances can cause soft or watery stools, which in turn affect the pressure required to empty the anal sacs sufficiently.
This is why it is so important to make sure that your dog’s food contains the correct amount of protein and fibre and is not too heavy on fillers such as grains, corn or rice as these can stop each anal sac from functioning effectively.
To find out more about what your should be feeding your Cavapoo and other frequently asked questions regarding your dog’s diet, then please refer to our informative guide on the best dog food for a Cavapoo.
If you think your dog has a food allergy, then it is worth seeking advice from your vet or even investing in a food intolerance test for your pet. These are quick and easy to do and can be purchased online and we particularly like this home food intolerance test that is available on Amazon.
If you have bought your puppy from a reputable breeder, then it is unlikely to have parasites, as worms are much more common in rescue dogs and strays.
However, intestinal parasites, like tapeworms, could be another culprit for your dog scooting, with the most common known as Dipylidium Caninum.
Dogs can get tapeworms by sniffing or ingesting infected faeces such as cow, sheep or horse poop, or via fleas carrying immature tapeworm larvae.
A dog dragging its bottom is one sign of tapeworm, as they attempt to relieve the itching and irritation around the anus where these intestinal parasites exit after maturing in the stomach.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering with intestinal parasites, then you should visit the vet for treatment. For more information on dog worms, check our blog on how to deworm Cavapoo puppies and how long does it take for worms to leave a dog.
Finally, some puppies will develop behavioral or neurological problems that can lead to excessive dog scooting. This is a lot more rare, but if your dog scoots more than a couple of times a day or for 48 hours, have them checked out by your veterinarian.
Why does my puppy scoot after he poops?
There are a couple of reasons why your puppy might scoot after they poop, but remember that your pooch can’t use their paws to wipe, so often scooting on their butt is the best way to get the job done!
It is not unusual for dogs with a long or thick coat to happen to get poo stuck in their fur. In fact this exact situation happened to our Cavapoo Rosie. Being a doodle, her fur not only grows incredibly quickly but being curly, everything sticks to it like velcro – including poo!
These small nuggets of faeces are called ‘dingleberries’ and not only can they tug on the hair, causing immense discomfort, but they can get stuck in the bottom, preventing your dog from being able to poo altogether.
In order to remedy this situation we now ask our groomer to ensure that she clips the fur around the rear end nice and short and we check regularly that Rosie is nice and clean around the bottom area.
Diarrhea can be a real pain in the arse – literally!
Firstly, as mentioned above, soft or watery stools can result in the the anal sacs not being emptied efficiently. Secondly, when a dog has diarrhoea it can scorch the delicate mucus membrane and skin of the anus, making it incredibly sore. And, if your dog is unable to reach the area to scratch with their paws, they’ll simply settle for scooting instead.
Do puppies need their anal glands expressed?
Any dog can develop blocked anal glands, although it is more common in obese dogs, dogs born with narrow anal gland openings, and dogs that have ongoing bowel issues.
Fortunately, most puppies will not experience any anal gland issues, so you don’t have to worry about performing this extremely unpleasant task. However, if you do have a pup that is prone to anal gland problems, you will need to have your vet teach you the proper way to express the buildup inside of the sacs.
How do you squeeze a dog’s anal glands?
Blocked anal glands are easy to clear – providing you know what you doing. Only if you have had instruction from a professional should you express anal glands yourself. As these sacs are delicate they can be injured or even burst through manipulation or squeezing during manual expression, so we strongly advise that you let your vet do it.
If you are confident expressing the anal glands yourself, then you will need to wear latex gloves and have some lubricant on your index finger. Place your dog so that it is stood on all fours, and, gently insert your index finger into your puppy’s rectum.
You should locate the sacs, which will feel like grape-sized objects, and with a towel on the floor you can gently squeeze and watch as fluid drains out. Ideally the fluid is thin in consistency and brown in color, but if it looks different, then this could mean that an infection is present. You will need to repeat this process on both anal sacs.
Medication such as anti inflammatories or antibiotics may be given if your dog’s glands can’t be unblocked or if the excess liquid has become infected or caused an abscess. This will help the inflammation of the anal glands to go down.
If your dog keeps experiencing anal gland problems, which can not be cured through expressing or medication, then your vet may recommend flushing them through under an anaesthetic.
How do you know if your dog has worms?
If you ever see a scooting dog, the first thing you will want to rule out is worms. Tapeworms look like bands of flat ribbons, which can split into segments and can occasionally be seen around a dog’s anus and in your pets bedding, resembling wriggling grains of rice.
There are a variety of dog worming and flea products available that should be given regularly as a preventative measure. There are various companies that even offer faecal worm egg testing, so that owners can check their dogs for worms themselves.
Should you visit a vet for puppy scooting bum on floor?
Unless you see something that is simple to resolve and diagnose – such as dried poop – then you should always consult with a veterinarian if you see your dog scooting their butt along the floor.
This is absolutely essential if this behavior carries on for a prolonged period of time, as this could mean that the irritation is getting worse for your pup.
If you see your puppy dragging its bottom on the ground or showing signs of an itchy butt, the majority of the time it will be a simple reason that is easy to remedy – just like Rosie’s was.
A change in your pets food, a small bout of diarrhea or a missed worm or flea treatment could all be a factor in your dogs scoot.
If your dog is showing signs of physical pain however, or if your dog is scooting more than usual, then a visit to the vets could be in order.