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Why Do Dogs Drag Their Butt?! (AKA: The Boot-Scootin’ Boogie)

Q&A: Why Do Dogs Drag Their Butt?

Here are the most common reasons why dogs drag their butt:

  • Anal sac problems
  • Allergies
  • Parasites
  • Skin infections
  • A few more reasons below…

Keep reading for a more complete “why do dogs drag their butt?” answer.

CC Image “Dog Rubbing their Butt on Gravel” via ralphleon – thx!

If you’ve had a dog, it’s almost sure thing that you’ve seen him drag his butt across the carpet.

Or the grass.

Or the…well, any place they feel like it, really.

Why do dogs drag their butt?
CC Image “Craotie–” via Narith5 – thx!

Outside, it’s not such a big deal, but if it happens indoors, it just sort of makes you want to grab a bucket of water and some disinfectant, doesn’t it?

Most of the time, we’re never quite sure what this little escapade is all about.

I mean, when my dog did it, I remember thinking back on something I had heard:

Dog dragging butt = WORMS


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What a terrible dog owner I must be to let my dog get worms.

The thought of my dog having worms kept me up at night, and nervously looking over my shoulder…sure that canine protective services would be showing up on my doorstep any minute to take my dog away!

…until I found out my dog did not, in fact, have worms.

So why was my dog dragging her butt?

I thought so much about it, I decided to do a little more research to see if I could find the answer. Let’s see what the information tells us.

Dogs Dragging Their Butt Because of Anal Sac Problems

There are two small glands, also known as scent glands or anal sacs, on either side of your dogs butt.

Why do dogs drag their butt? Dogs Dragging Their Butt Because of Anal Sac Problems

Closer to the bottom than the top, these are responsible for emitting your dog’s one of a kind scent. It’s also why dogs greet eat other with a butt sniffing, right off the bat.

Unfortunately, sometimes they wind up getting too full and this can get uncomfortable for your dog.

In some cases, it’s even painful, in which case they really need some kind of release. This is most easily achieved by dragging their butt.

Butt dragging is usually not that serious of an issue, but if you see it happen a few times in just a couple days time, it might be time to ask you vet to take a look.

Instead of an anal sac being too full, they might drag their butt because there’s something more serious going on.

Infections are not out of the question, especially if these glands have too full for too long. You can take a look yourself to see if there is any bruising, swelling, bleeding or pus around the area.

Any one of these is a definite sign that your dog needs to be seen by the vet.

Not only are infections of the anal sac very painful, it doesn’t take them long to get really bad. In fact, if you don’t catch it in time, surgery may be needed to repair the damage!

However, if you’re careful to keep watch over your dog’s normal behavior patterns, you’ll know when something is up. And these types of infections are easily taken care of with antibiotics and maybe something for the inflammation.

Dogs Dragging Their Butt Because of Allergies

Skin allergies can be another culprit behind your dog dragging his butt.

Why do dogs drag their butt? Dogs Dragging Their Butt Because of Allergies

It can be seasonal allergies, insect bites, fleas and even food sensitivity that causes the scooting to begin.

In any case, you vet can easily treat the situation with medication for allergies, or with supplements for diet issues.

However, if you are noticing allergy symptoms in you dog, you can try offering high doses of omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, and EPA or DHA.

Many times, it is the fact that these are missing from a dog’s diet that causes the allergy symptoms in the first place. And it’s always nice to be able to treat a condition with something natural, rather than with medication, when at all possible.

Dogs Dragging Their Butt Because of Parasites

As I mentioned before, I had heard that a dog often drags their butt because they have a case of the worms, and that’s not entirely false.

In fact, it can often be a case of tapeworms, as they can cause intense anal itching. If your dog has tapeworms, one of the first signs might be tapeworm proglottids in their stool. These are tiny segments that carry the tapeworm eggs through your dog’s body.

There’s another parasite that could be to blame as well, except that there won’t be any signs that your dog has it. The giardia are organisms that can only be seen by a microscope and they cause massive discomfort around your dog’s butt.

The only way to diagnose is by vet.

Just to be safe, if you are seeing your dog drag his butt a lot more than usual, and there are no other reasons that you can see causing it, then you definitely need to have your fur baby tested for the possibility of parasites in the intestines.

Dogs Dragging Their Butt Because of Skin Infections

In addition to anal sacs that may become infected, there can also be other infections that could cause your dog to drag his butt.

Bacterial infections or fungal infections, also known as yeast infections, can also be a cause of butt dragging. These can cause their butts to burn and itch, so they try to relieve it any way possible.

It could also be a yeast infection in their private parts, which can sometimes look like an anal sac problem at first glance.

In the same way, urinary tract infections can also cause dogs to drag their butts, seeking a bit of relief from the symptoms.

When There Seems To Be No Reason For Dog Butt Dragging

There are several other problems that can cause your dog to drag his butt. Although not as common, they still need to be considered if you have exhausted all the other possibilities.

When dogs have a lot of lower back or hip pain, it can cause them drag their butt in an effort to relieve the pain.

Other possible butt-dragging reasons could be neurological or behavioral.

In these cases, this might cause them to groom themselves excessively as well as drag their butts more often than most dogs do.

Fear, anxiety and excessive tail chasing can also be behind the condition as well as abnormal nerve damage symptoms caused by spinal or other types of surgeries.

In Closing

There are several things that can cause a dog to drag their butt.

Have you ever had a dog that does it?

If so, did you investigate to find out the cause, or did it go away on its own? We’d love to hear your story and maybe find out that there are other ways to take care of the situation!

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