Are you familiar with the term scooting? Some owners are far too familiar with it and may have even found themselves feeling stupefied or embarrassed as they watched their pet sit down suddenly and drag their behind around on the floor.
Some videos of these “acrobats” have gone around on the internet making people laugh and smile. However, do you know that most dogs who are scooting are trying to relieve the discomfort and itchiness, and sometimes even the pain that comes from the anus? Several conditions can cause itchiness in the anus, but a very common reason is an impaction of the anal glands. The dogs have two anal glands located at 4 and 8 o’clock, if we compare the anus to a clock.
These glands will secrete a small amount of very malodorous liquid whenever the dog is defecating: it is a way to mark their territory. That’s why dogs go smell each others behind when they see each other, and sniff the stool they encounter during their walks. It is a way to recognize themselves, as if they are presenting their business card. Sometimes, some dogs have difficulty emptying their glands. The liquid thickens and becomes similar to toothpaste and can no longer flow properly from the opening of the gland. This causes itchiness and the dog can scoot, bite or lick the anus excessively, or can even cry when sitting. In some cases, the glands can become infected and cause very painful abscesses.
This is why it is important to have the anal glands checked if they are showing these symptoms. Your pet will definitely not like to have a finger inserted into his “private” place, but this is the only way for the veterinarian to evaluate if the glands are infected and if they need to be drained or not. The smell that will emerge will not smell like roses, but it will be a relief for your doggie afterwards! Do not forget that cats can also have the same problem and they are less expressive and rather cunning! They will rarely scoot, but rather clean the area of the behind more than usual or, if at the abscess stage, the gland will have ruptured resulting in a fis.