Home Remedies for Dog Scooting

Dog scooting in the grass

If you’ve ever seen your dog slide its bottom across the floor like it’s trying to wipe something off its butt, you have officially experienced "scooting." This behavior can look silly at times, or at other times it may appear that your dog is distressed. They may slide across the floor, the grass, or even your furniture. Fortunately, there are some home remedies for dog scooting that can give your dog some relief—and save your home.

Why Do Dogs Scoot?

Dogs scoot because the area is itchy, painful, and/or because it feels like something is stuck back there, such as fecal matter or fur.  They may also lick and bite at the area, hold their tail in an unusual position, or even modify how they walk depending on the problem.  Finding ways to help your pup is very much tied to figuring out the specific cause for their discomfort.  

Common causes of scooting include problems with the anal glands, certain parasitic infections, skin allergies, and material stuck around the anus.

Home Remedies for Dog Scooting

If your pup has never scooted before and you are suddenly noticing frequent scooting, you should see your vet first to get a diagnosis before trying any home remedies. For those dogs who just seem to scoot every now and then and your vet has already done a thorough exam, these home remedies may provide another level of soothing relief. 

Sanitary Clipping and Cleaning

This is a good first step to take and may even be performed in your vet’s office at the time of the exam. Shaving the fur around the hind end and under the tail is often referred to as a sanitary clip. This can help to remove any matted fur or fur that is tangled with fecal matter or debris and may be causing discomfort around your dog’s hind end. Once the fur is shaved, the area can be gently cleaned with a warm compress. This will allow a better visualization of the area and may pinpoint the cause for your dog’s scooting. Keeping the fur clipped short around the hind end is a good maintenance technique for dogs who have a history of scooting and for any long-haired dog.  

Apply a Warm Compress

A warm compress such as a cloth or paper towel soaked in warm water and wrung out can be a soothing treatment for discomfort around the hind end. Whether a pet is scooting because of an anal gland problem or another cause for irritation, pain, or itchiness, this can provide some relief. A warm compress increases blood flow in the area which allows swelling to recede. This is also soothing to the skin and is a gentle way to clean the area if there is any debris stuck around the anus. Ideally, a warm compress should be held in place for about 15 minutes to maximize the benefits, so try to find a quiet time when your dog will settle down for some pampering.  

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements

For dogs who scoot due to an anal gland problem and/or due to itchiness from skin allergies, fatty acid supplements given by mouth can improve some of their signs. The reason for this is that itchy dogs often have a lot of inflammation of their skin. Dogs with skin allergies are also at increased risk for anal gland impactions because this inflammation can cause overproduction of certain oils that fill the anal glands with thicker material that is harder to express. Fatty acid supplements help to reduce inflammation and improve the oily secretions in the skin. The best products for dogs should include omega-3 fatty acids with EPA and should be given daily at the highest dose that is safely recommended by your veterinarian. 

Soothing Baths

Dogs with itchy skin who are scooting will also benefit from soothing baths to remove irritants from their fur and improve their coat and skin. Ideally, you should get a medicated shampoo from your veterinarian for maximum impact but even an over-the-counter gentle shampoo along with a good soak in warm water can bring some relief.

Fiber Supplementation

Soft stool and/or diarrhea can be contributing factors for anal gland problems and scooting as well. Normally, the anal glands empty when dogs defecate because the stool presses on the glands, causing them to release their contents. If the stool is very soft, it does not create enough pressure against the glands for them to empty. Fiber supplementation can help to firm up the stool and prevent ongoing anal gland issues. Safe sources of fiber for dogs can come from canned pumpkin (unsweetened), certain raw vegetables, or fiber supplements. You should always consult your veterinarian to get the right dose and to make sure it is safe for your pup’s specific health conditions. 

Expressing the Anal Glands

Expressing your dog's anal glands at home should be done with an abundance of caution. While some pet owners and groomers learn to do this and feel comfortable performing it on their pups, it is not advisable to do this routinely. This is an important part of relieving discomfort in a dog with impacted anal glands, however, manipulating and emptying the glands too often can lead to increased inflammation and scar tissue, making it even harder for the glands to empty in the future. Additionally, if the problem is more than simply impacted anal glands, such as an abscess, it may be very painful for your pup to have this area touched. There may be situations where your vet shows you how to do this and advises you on how and when to do so safely at home, but you should always consult your veterinarian before taking this on.

When to See Your Vet

In most cases, you should see your vet as soon as you notice your dog scooting to find out the exact cause and get the most effective treatment. If your dog has ongoing health issues that cause the scooting, you should follow up with your vet any time you notice changes in their behavior or health. This would be especially important if you notice that your dog is in pain and is showing signs such as crying, constantly licking or biting around its hind end, or is reluctant to sit or lay down. You should also see your vet right away if you notice any bleeding around the hind end or in your dog’s stool, any swelling or redness around the anus, or difficulty defecating.  

Article Sources
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