General Health

Why Is My Dog Scooting Across the Rug?

Is Your Dog Scooting on their Rear Across the Rug or Floor?

Why is my Dog Scooting?Why is my dog scooting and should I be concerned? 

The are several reasons that your will see a dog scooting across the floor..  Ahhhhhh

Many Breeds of Dog Scoot When They Have Full or Impacted Anal Sacs

The most common reason your see a dog scooting is full or impacted anal sacs. Dogs have two scent glands under their tail (part of the reasons dogs sniff each other back there).  When the glans become overly full, they can put pressure on the anus.  You will see your dog scooting across the floor to relieve this discomfort and  relieve the pressure of the anal sac fluid.

More About the Sacs

Anal glands are little sacs that are located on either side of the anus.  There is one on the left and one on the right. These  scent glands that have two functions:

  • Producing a very strong and pungent scent for marking the dog’s territory
  • Helping the dog’s body eliminate toxins and substances that are not needed

One vet used the analogy: “I see anal glands as the body’s garbage bin that empties automatically when they function well.”   (See more)

What Do You Do?

If you see your dog scooting occasionally, you don’t need to be overly concerned. If you occasionally smell a strong fishy odor, again you don’t need to be concerned.  This is a normal part of being a dog.  On the other hand if you see the dog scooting several times in one day or if they are trying to lick their rear repeatedly, it is time to take your fur-baby to a veterinarian to have the anal sacs expressed. If the material in the sacs is not expressed on a regular basis, the sac may rupture.  As with any internal rupture there can be severe complications, such as a severe skin infection.

Note that there can be several reasons the sacs didn’t empty normally.  Some are normal and some are much more severe.  For example:

  • Anal gland inflammation (called “anal gland saculitis”)
  • Anal gland dysfunction – the glands are not emptying on their own
  • Anal gland abscess – this is a rupture of the anal gland due to obstruction of the opening (duct)
  • Anal gland tumors

It is pretty obvious that you need a Vet to deal with these types of problem.

What Causes These Problems?

While some problems occur naturally, researchers have noticed a strong relationship between certain dog treats and cheap dog supplements.

Note that there is a temptation to deal with the problem by treating the immediate problem (expressing the sac) and ignoring the larger issue.  If you fur-baby starts to have problems with their anal sacs, be sure that YOU take charge and see if you can determine the cause.   Some of this is just common sense.  If you started using a new treat or supplement and a few weeks later your dog starts to scoot, the change could be the cause.  Try going back to what you were using before (after having the sac expressed.)

Can I Express The Sacs Myself?

It is a smelly process, but with the proper training from your vet, it is something that many people can do.  Most people prefer to pay someone else to handle the process.

One Final Note

Most dogs express their own anal sacs with each bowel movement and their owners are unaware that the sacs are even present.   The point is not to worry unless you see your dog scooting or trying to bite/lick the anal area repeatedly.


This is one of a multi-part series on questions frequently asked at the vet’s office.

  1. Why is my dog scratching so much?
  2. Why is my dog scooting across the rug?
  3. Why does my dog eat poop?
  4. Why does my dog eat grass?

If you enjoyed this article, you will probably also like one of the other parts of the series: scratching, eating poop or eating grass

You might like this article that over 14,000 of our readers have recently enjoyed. Read it here --> Goofball Boxer Positions





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  1. Pingback: Why Does My Dog Eat Poop? - Dogs! All the Time!

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