Dogs can do a lot of embarrassing things. They might greet your guests with inappropriate sniffing, pick just the right moment to sneeze all over Aunt Judy, and sometimes run into open cabinet doors. But one of the most mortifying things an owner can experience is having their dog scoot across the floor like it’s the second-grade gym.

Although a common reaction is anger at the dog, what pet owners need to understand is that this behavior can actually be a sign of some serious health concerns.

In this article, we’ll go over why dogs scoot on the carpet so pet owners in Madison, WI know how to handle it.

Anal Gland Issues Can Cause Dogs to Scoot

Some of the foremost issues that could be causing your pooch to scoot have to do with his anal glands. Many dog owners do not even know that these parts of their dog’s body exist, which makes sense as humans do not have them and they are not easily visible.

It is contemplated that the purpose of these glands goes back to the evolutionary need to mark territory–a need many dogs still think they have, unfortunately for their owners–but at this time, they are more a leftover from past dog life than anything.

The glands contain a smelly fluid that needs to be expressed periodically to avoid buildup. In a perfect world, this happens naturally as the dog defecates, and the glands cause no issues for the dog. But a few things can go wrong.

Impacted Anal Glands
When a dog’s anal glands become impacted, it means that for any number of reasons, the glands are blocked up or cannot be expressed by the dog. Impacted anal glands result in a lot of itchiness and discomfort for the dog, which is the reason for licking or scooting across the floor.

This issue typically has an easy fix–you will just need to take your dog to the vet, who will express them manually. Dog owners can learn to do this themselves but should do so only after professional instruction as doing so incorrectly can harm the dog.

Infected Anal Glands
The next step up in anal gland issues occurs when they become infected. In order to get to that point, usually, the glands will have been impacted for some time.

Building up over time, the fluid begins to harbor harmful bacteria. A bloody, pus-like substance results, which may or may not be excreted from your dog at this time.

The visible symptoms include not only scooting and ​excessive licking​but can also include changes in behavior such as shivering, hiding, irritability, or generally not acting like herself.

If your dog has infected anal glands, a vet will most likely express the glands manually and then prescribe an antibiotic. An e-collar may also be necessary so your pooch doesn’t irritate the area with licking and biting.

Ruptured Anal Glands
The third and most severe condition that can affect a dog’s anal glands is rupturing. When enough pressure has built up from impacted and/or infected glands, it can cause them to become overfilled and burst.

There will be a bloody, pus-like discharge, which will be very pungent at this time. At the vet’s, the likely treatment will first involve flushing out the anal gland area.

This will sometimes involve the use of anesthesia if the dog’s pain level is high. The vet will also inject an antibiotic. Aftercare will involve an e-collar, medications, and check-up visits to the vet.

Intestinal Parasites Can Cause Dogs to Scoot on the Carpet

If your dog isn’t having issues with her anal glands, another likely reason she is scooting is intestinal parasites. These most often take the form of either roundworms or tapeworms in dogs.

These unpleasant creatures most often infect puppies from their mother’s milk. Dogs can also pick them up from eating infected animals or​from ingesting worm eggs while they dig in the soil.

Your dog may be scooting in efforts to relieve irritation caused to the anal area by the roundworms. Other symptoms of the parasite include weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea, swollen stomach, and weakness or fatigue.

Roundworms are easily treatable with an anti-parasitic, which can be prescribed by a vet. Administering monthly heartworm preventatives also provides protection against roundworms.

Tapeworms are small, white parasites that enter a dog when they are bitten by a flea carrying the larvae or when the dog eats infected animals. Small, white, rice-like tapeworm segments called proglottids are often found on the dog’s bottom and can cause irritation and lead to scooting.

Additional symptoms are similar to those with roundworm: bloated stomach, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. Like roundworms, tapeworms can be easily treated with an anti-parasitic.

Allergies Can Lead to Your Dog Scooting on the Floor

Finally, the third reason your dog could be scooting across your floor is a skin allergy that is irritating him. The sources of these allergies are varied. Your dog could be allergic to fleas or other biting bugs, pollen, mold, or even the shampoo you use.

Other signs that your dog is experiencing some form of skin allergy can include hives, redness, and hot spots.

If you think your dog may be allergic to fleas, ticks, chiggers, or other bugs, you can purchase medication to help keep your dog free of them. If it is something else in the environment, your vet may be able to help you pinpoint what they are allergic to and prescribe medications, shampoos, or lifestyle changes to help keep your pooch itch-free.

Contact Your Vet If Your Dog is Scooting on the Carpet in Madison, WI

There are many reasons that your dog may scoot. Several varieties of anal gland issues can cause itchiness and pain. Parasites such as tapeworms or roundworms might be irritating her inside-out.

Allergies can cause some serious itch. Instead of responding with anger when your dog does a bottom slide, you now know the other signs to look for to figure out what’s the matter and get him the help he needs.

Petcare Animal Hospital is committed to helping your pets live long, healthy and happy lives. If you notice any of the above behaviors from your dog in Madison, WI, don’t hesitate to call us or schedule an appointment online.

About PetCare Animal Hospital

Since 1975, Petcare Animal Hospital has been serving the Madison, WI pet community with the highest standards of care. We truly believe that pets should be treated like family, so we give them the same care we would expect for our own pets.