- Dogs can stretch their rears to remove excess waste, so one or two shakes usually doesn’t cause a problem.
- Anal sac disease, dietary problems, parasites and allergies can cause more frequent pulling.
- If your dog continues to move or you see parasites, pus or blood in his stool, call the vet as soon as possible.
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If your dog drags its butt on the floor or carpet, it may be itchy or sore. Sometimes this is quite normal behavior: after all, the buttocks may itch from time to time.
Sometimes, however, butt-shaking can suggest that your dog’s condition is more serious, said Sophie Whoriskey, a veterinarian and lead author for Fluffy Doodles.
Here are the top five reasons why your dog is dragging his butt and whether you should call the vet.
1. Skin irritation
“Many dogs exert force to remove foreign objects hanging out of their buttocks or anus,” says Russell Hartstein, certified pet behaviorist and trainer and founder of Fun Paw Care.
In short, dogs can’t buy toilet paper, so your floor is the next best thing.
Itchiness can also result from a grooming accident, such as razor burn or dry dog shampoo under the tail.
What to do: When you see your dog running around, check his rear end for things that don’t belong to him, such as skin scratches. You can wipe away dried feces with a warm, damp towel.
Two grape-sized sacs next to your dog’s anus coat his stool with a fishy-smelling liquid. This fluid allows other dogs to know who is in the neighborhood.
However, sometimes these sacs can stop working properly, usually due to infection or blockage. The anal sac may swell painfully, and your dog may move his butt in an attempt to squeeze the sac.
According to a 2021 UK study, 4.4% of dogs will get anal sac disease every year. Your dog is more likely to develop the condition if he is over the age of 3 or if he is spayed.
Five breeds of dogs most prone to anal sac disease ,
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- king charles spaniel
- bichon frize
What To Do Next: Butt dragging usually won’t empty your dog’s clogged anal sacs, so your furry friend will need a human to do it for him.
A vet can manually empty the sacs. Your vet can prescribe dog-safe antibiotics or pain relievers to take home.
You can also empty the sack at home, though this option will require a companion to support your dog and a strong stomach.
Most dogs do not need to regularly drain their anal sacs. “It’s an essential process,” says Hartstein.
A food sensitivity or allergy can also cause anal sac problems that lead to dragging.
Normally, when your dog defecates, the firmness of his stool forces fluid out of his anal sacs. But if your dog eats something that upsets his stomach, his gastrointestinal tract may rush to move the food through, leaving watery or semi-digested feces.
Diarrhea doesn’t put enough pressure on the sacs to empty, so fluid builds up in them.
What to do next: One of the easiest ways to solve the problem is to change your dog’s food, but you should consult with a vet before making any dietary changes.
Have you noticed white, seed-like bits in your dog’s feces or bedding? Or clinging to the fur around his anus? Sorry to say, but they’re not seeds: they’re parasites.
Your dog can contract the parasites by eating fleas that are carrying the eggs. Digestive juices dissolve the flea, but leave the eggs. The parasites then grow in your dog’s intestines.
Adult parasites are composed of proglottids or small segments filled with eggs. Sometimes, these proglottids break off and pass out of the intestines through your dog’s feces.
Proglottids pass through the intestines intermittently, and you won’t see your dog dragging his butt nearly as often. Running can be a sign of parasites if you also notice your dog:
What to do next: You will need to take a sample of the worms, in other words a small bag of fresh feces, to your vet. They can then give your dog a good deworming medication.
Making sure your pup is up to date on his flea medications can help prevent future parasite infestations.
Regular flea treatments can help prevent fleas carrying tapeworm eggs from bothering your dog in the first place.
In rare cases, the tumor may grow into the anal sac. If your dog has a sac ana tumor, it is possible that:
- Drink more, as the amount of calcium in your bloodstream increases.
- urinating a lot
- seem unusually tired
- To vomit
What to do next: Cancer in the anal sac can grow quickly, so it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible.
Your vet will first examine the sac and obtain a biopsy, or tissue sample, of the mass. They may also recommend X-rays and ultrasound to check whether the cancer has spread elsewhere.
If you catch the cancer early, your vet can remove the tumor in surgery. But if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, your dog may need radiation or chemotherapy.
Veterinarians may also prescribe Palladia, an anti-cancer drug for dogs, which may relieve symptoms.
When should you call the vet?
It’s normal for your dog to move his butt from time to time, but if your dog is crawling all over the house, you may want to get him checked out.
Your dog may need immediate medical attention if:
- feeling very tired
- whines for no apparent reason
- He growls whenever someone touches his tail or butt.
- forcefully licking or biting your butt
- straining to pass stool
- Their stools contain blood or yellow-green pus.
- parasite with feces
Many behaviors can be resolved with simple lifestyle changes, such as a different brand of food or a new shampoo. If the area is infected or swollen, your vet may prescribe some medication to take home.
Your vet may also recommend some preventive hygiene measures.
“Making sure your dog is brushed and bathed regularly can also help reduce the risk of parasites and other conditions that can cause butt skidding,” says Whorysky.
This article was medically reviewed by Sorin McKnight, DVM, a veterinarian at Wellborn Road Veterinary Medical Center in College Station, Texas.
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