What's the Deal With Your Dog Scooting Across the Floor?

dog sitting on floor

A pet owner may detect their dog scooting around the carpet as the first indicator of a medical problem. Scooting might occur when a dog has or is allergic to something. Another typical explanation is that their anal glands require attention. We'll go over what anal glands are, what causes and treats anal gland impaction, and how to avoid anal gland problems.

What Are Anal Glands?

Anal glands, also known as anal sacs, are found right within the anus of a dog. These pea-sized glands exude a viscous, greasy, and foul-smelling substance. The majority of wild animals may actively empty these glands for scent marking or self-defense. Domesticated animals, on the other hand, have lost much of their capacity to do so. Dogs can empty their anal glands while walking and/or defecating in typical circumstances. The majority of the time, owners are unaware that their dog has emptied their anal glands. However, licking and scooting their rear end across the floor may indicate that their glands are unable to express themselves. If the scooting is caused by an anal gland problem, a veterinarian will diagnose it and treat it appropriately.

Causes and Treatments

Simple Anal Gland Impaction

It might be disconcerting to observe a puppy licking its behind and scooting around the floor for the first time. A dog may have a simple anal gland impaction, in which the glands are unable to express themselves on their own. The glands will be manually expressed by a veterinarian or a member of their team. In this scenario, no more treatment may be required; however, if the condition persists, another visit and discussion with the veterinarian may be necessary.

Anal Gland Infection

If an anal gland impaction isn't treated, it might become infected or abscessed. A dog suffering from this issue may be spotted licking or scooting. However, owners may notice that their pet is acting strangely. They might be spotted shaking, hiding, or having difficulty sitting down. A trip to the veterinarian will confirm the presence of an abscess. The substance is viscous or pus-like in appearance and one or both anal glands are difficult to express. There may also be a bloody, foul-smelling discharge. When this happens, therapy becomes more extensive. Manual expression, antibiotics, and an Elizabethan collar (to keep the infected region from being licked or bit) may be required. If the dog looks to be in discomfort, medicine may be sent home to help.

Anal Gland Rupture

When one or more abscessed anal glands are totally filled, they explode, creating an anal gland rupture. Outside of the skin, a drainage tract will develop. Similar to impaction and infection, owners may observe a smelly, generally red, pus-like discharge coming from the dog's rear end. If an anal gland rupture has been detected, the afflicted anal gland(s) will need to be flushed (this may need to be done under anesthesia if they are in a lot of pain) and antibiotics may be pumped into the damaged anal gland. Pain medication and an Elizabethan collar (to prevent the infected area from being licked or bit) may be required. Follow-up visits are required for both anal gland infections and ruptures.

Preventing Anal Gland Issues

Some dogs never have issues with their anal glands, while others may need to have them expressed every few weeks at the veterinarian's office. In this instance, increasing fiber intake may be a viable alternative. This might be in the form of fiber supplements or a high-fiber diet. might also be beneficial. A veterinarian will assist you in determining which choice is the best. If anal gland problems persist after attempting all of the indicated therapies, an anal sacculectomy may be advised. Complications are possible, so consult with a veterinarian before making a final choice.


Brooks, DVM, DABVP, Wendy. "Emptying A Dog's Anal Sacs - Veterinary Partner - VIN". Veterinarypartner.Vin.Com, 2019, https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?&id="4951501".