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Why Does My Dog Scoot on the Carpet? (& How To Solve the Problem)

Dogs have a lot of bizarre behaviors. One of the strangest has to be dragging their back ends on the ground. 

We call this movement “scooting.” New pet parents often freak out when they notice their dogs engaging in this action. 

Why does my dog scoot on the carpet?

“Scooting” is typical behavior that most dogs do every now and then. Usually, they do this to relieve an itch on their backsides! However, the cause of the discomfort typically comes from a medical or grooming problem. 

Don’t worry; your furry friend isn’t ruining your floors with this behavior. However, if you know what your dog scoots on the carpet, you can start to solve the issue. 

4 Reasons Why Your Dog Scoots on the Carpet

My childhood dog, Lucy, was a chronic scooter. As a kid, I thought this was the funniest, grossest thing a dog could do! 

However, my first trip to the vet taught me that scooting is a normal response to itchiness. After all, dogs don’t have hands to scratch themselves and have to come up with other options.

Dogs scoot to satisfy a need. But, what causes them to slide around on their backsides? Your dog could be scooting for a variety of reasons; getting to the bottom of the issue is the first step. 

Their Anal Glands Are Full

Full anal glands are the most common culprit of canine scooting. This was Lucy’s problem; she couldn’t express her glands by herself. 

One thing to know about canine anal glands is that they usually empty themselves with every bowel movement. However, some dogs need a little more assistance. 

When your pup’s anal glands get too full, they’ll scoot to release fluids. If your dog smells like metal after scootching around, they probably struggle to release their glands on their own. 

They Have Irritated Skin

Let’s be honest; dogs can be really gross sometimes. As much as we love our furry friends, scooting is an icky habit that usually has a nasty cause. 

Full or infected anal glands aren’t the only reason why your dog is scooting. They might also have skin irritation that they can’t scratch. 

The skin around their anus and underneath their tail is sensitive. Dried feces, flea bites, and overgrooming could be causing the itch. 

Did your dog visit the groomer recently? Groomers often do “sanitary clips” around your pup’s genitals to keep the area clean. 

However, shaving too close to their back ends can leave the skin raw. They may be scooting due to ingrown hairs and an uncomfortable razor burn. 

They Have Allergies

Allergies can also cause excessive itchiness. Your pooch could be allergic to many different things in his environment. 

Some dogs are allergic to certain food ingredients. Others have reactions to pollen, grass, and other natural elements. In extreme cases, some pups are sensitive to soaps, detergents, and scents.

They may even be having an allergic reaction to flea bites! If the response occurs on their back end, you can expect them to ease the itch by scooting. 

They Have a Medical Problem 

Most of the time, scooting behaviors aren’t that serious. However, if you notice your dog licking his butt and acting painful, something else could be going on.

Sometimes, scooting may point to a medical problem. For example, rectal prolapses occur when the lower intestines stick out of the anus. 

This disturbance will definitely drive your dog to scoot. However, there’s good news! Even though rectal prolapses look scary, they aren’t usually life-threatening. 

Your furry friend may also have a case of intestinal parasites. They pick up worms from all sorts of places that leave them feeling uncomfortable. 

Keep an eye on your pup’s bathroom habits. If you notice any creepy crawlers in their stool, you have your answer to the scooting question. 

How to Stop Your Dog From Scooting on the Floor

All this talk of scooting, worms, and anal glands is so gross! However, there’s still hope.

Most of the time, scooting is a symptom of an annoying but easily treatable problem. The issue is likely minor unless the scootching comes with blood, lethargy, and appetite loss. 

That said, it’s still not a cute thing to do. There’s nothing more embarrassing than watching your dog drag their behinds on your carpet in front of your friends!

If you want to nip it in the bud, don’t panic. We have some expert advice to help your dog stop scooting. 

Feed a High-Fiber Diet

Most dogs scoot to express their anal glands. Those who can’t do it naturally are usually missing fiber from their diet.

Fiber hardens stool and aids in the anal gland expression process. Other benefits of high-fiber dog foods include weight management and hormonal balance. 

If your dog has loose stools while scooting, try changing their diet to a more fiber-rich kibble. Brands like Purina, Hill’s Science Diet, and Royal Canin have special formulas that address this exact need. 

You should also cut out any human-grade food from their diet. Don’t let those puppy-dog eyes fool you; if you want to stop the scoot, you must stick with a well-balanced kibble. 

Take Them to the Vet 

We always recommend a quick trip to the vet if any behavior change occurs. Whether it’s excessive scooting or other strange habits, your veterinarian should be your first call. 

Vets and their staff know how to express anal glands properly. They can also recommend diet changes and address internal parasites in dogs.

If scooting is due to an allergy or irritation, your veterinarian can prescribe oral and topical medications to soothe the sting. 

Of course, rectal prolapse or any extreme medical concern always warrants a trip to the doctor. Vets have so much experience and access to resources, making them the best source of treatment for scooting. 

Be Careful About Groomers

Grooming services are vital to many breeds. Some groomers even offer to express anal glands as part of the package.

Be careful about allowing your groomer to deal with anal gland problems. While they may have a lot of experience, they don’t always have sterile environments. They may also lack supplies to deal with infections and anal gland impactions.  

You could always check and see if your vet offers grooming services. This way, they can give a bath when your dog smells like fish while expressing anal glands the right way. 

Keep Up With Parasite Prevention

Intestinal parasites are more common than most owners realize. These little bugs may be causing the scootching habits you hate so much.  

Tapeworms happen when your dog ingests a flea. That’s why keeping up with regular flea treatments is so important.

Many pet parents don’t even know about flea and parasite prevention. In fact, this 2018 study by Merck Animal Health shows how little people know about it! Out of 1,300 participants: 

Owners who don’t use regular flea prevention:38%
Owners who don’t do annual parasite exams:48%
Owners who can’t identify one symptom of parasite infection:38%
Owners who treat their dogs year-round:50%

The good news is that flea and parasite prevention is easily accessible. Some monthly heartworm products like Sentinel take care of many bugs at once! Talk to your vet to get a product that works for your fur baby.

Sometimes, tapeworms and scooting happen when you don’t apply preventative products correctly. Watch this video and learn how to apply spot-on flea treatment to your dog!

FAQs

Is there a home remedy for scooting?

Answer: Apply a warm compress to your dog’s anal area to soothe any irritation. Other than that, we wouldn’t recommend treating scooting and anal gland problems at home. Your vet is the best resource for treatment in this case. 

What dog breeds need their anal glands expressed?

Answer: While all breeds express their anal glands, some need manual assistance from humans. Small dogs like Poodles, Pomeranians, and Cocker Spaniels usually need some extra help. Still, large dogs could also struggle, so don’t count them out completely. 

What happens if they keep scooting after expressing their glands?

Answer: Your pooch might have some left-over irritation and sensitivity. Get an E-collar to keep them from messing with their behinds. If they still scoot after soothing the area, call your vet for a second opinion. 

Does scooting in dogs mean worms?

Answer: It definitely can! While worms aren’t the only cause of scooting, it’s a real possibility. Have your vet perform a fecal exam to check for these microscopic organisms. 

Bottom Line 

Hopefully, you can figure out why your dog scoots on the carpet and how to fix the problem now. While gross and strange, this weird habit isn’t usually a cause for concern. 

Minor issues like allergies, full anal glands, and skin irritation may tempt your pup to scootch. Changing diets and grooming habits will quickly correct this behavior. 

Always keep your vet in the loop with any changes. They might diagnose your pet with a medical problem like parasites, which need a different course of action. 

Say goodbye to embarrassing behaviors and smelly puppies! Your dog will feel so much better when you get their scooting problem under control.