Why Is my Pet Scooting?

If your pet is scooting or dragging its bottom across the floor. It’s a sign something is irritating him/her. What’s behind that irritation can range from infection to worms to inflammation. The most common problem is the anal glands.

What on Earth are Anal Glands?

Anal glands are two small glands just inside your pet’s bottom. The material secreted into these glands is thick, oily, stinky, and is commonly described as smelling fishy.  Walking around and normal defecation serve to empty the anal glands but some animals become unable to empty their anal glands on their own at all. The anal glands become impacted and uncomfortable.

Pets with impacted anal glands usually scoot their bottom on the ground in an attempt to empty the glands. Some dogs will lick their bottom area and other dogs will chase their tails. Cats often lick the fur off just under their tails. Some animals are simply vaguely uncomfortable, holding their tails down, shivering, showing reluctance to walk or hiding.

What can I do about Scooting?

If you notice that your pet scooting across the floor. He/she may need to have their anal glands expressed. You can either make an appointment with a grooming facility or a veterinary clinic.

What if Scooting Continues?

If scooting continues for more than a few days after emptying the pet should be re-checked. For some pets it takes several anal gland expressions in a row before they stay emptied. If the anal glands are empty and scooting is persisting, another cause could be causing the irritation and other treatment may be needed.

What Happens If an Impacted Anal Gland doesn’t get Emptied?

An abscess can form and rupture out through the skin. This can be very painful, messy and a smelly condition. This often is mistaken for rectal bleeding. If an anal gland abscess forms, a veterinarian needs to examine your pet to start your pet on the proper treatment

How often should Anal Glands Be Emptied?

The best recommendation is to let the pet tell you when his/her anal glands are full. If the pet starts scooting again, it is time to bring him/her in.

When is Surgery needed or considered?

If the anal glands need to be emptied every few weeks or more, you may have to consider permanently removing the anal glands. This procedure can be complicated and should be performed by an experienced surgeon.