Home Remedies For Dog Scooting

Dog Scooting Remedies- Soothing Solutions to Stop the Itch

Have you ever wondered why your beloved furry friend suddenly starts dragging its bottom across the floor? Dog scooting is a relatively common behavior among dogs that can leave pet owners scratching their heads. While a little dog scooting may sometimes resolve on its own, it often signals an underlying problem. This article will explore its common causes and provide 10 best home remedies for dog scooting.

What Exactly is Dog Scooting?

Also referred to as anal dragging, dog scooting occurs when a dog sits up on its hind legs and proceeds to drag and slide their bare rear end along the ground, rug or other surface.

Some back-and-forth wiggling usually accompanies this behavior as well. It’s as though the dog is trying to scratch or scrub an itch around their hindquarters and anus.

Dogs have no hesitation performing this scooting maneuver in front of shocked house guests or while you’re enjoying your morning coffee.

But why do dogs scoot in the first place? And how can we stop the problem? Learning the common causes and implementing some simple home remedies can help ease your dog’s discomfort.

Dog Scooting
Dog Scooting

Common Causes of Dog Scooting

Scooting is always triggered by irritation, discomfort or itching around the rear end, tail or anal region that your dog is desperately trying to scratch or relieve.

Here are the main culprits vets point to:

1. Allergies

Just like humans, dogs can develop food or environmental allergies that cause annoying itchy skin. The area around the anus and underside of the tail are prime spots for this allergic irritation and inflammation to occur.

Common food allergy triggers include ingredients like beef, dairy, chicken, lamb, eggs, soy and wheat. Environmental causes can include dust mites, grasses, pollen and mold spores.

Allergy testing and an elimination diet trial supervised by your vet can identify the specific triggers unique to your canine companion.

2. Impacted or Infected Anal Glands

Dogs have small sacs called anal glands (one on each side of the anus) that fill up with a putrid liquid that usually expresses tiny amounts each time they poop.

If these glands become overfull and blocked, the backed up material and pressure on the sensitive tissue around the anus can cause significant scooting-inducing discomfort. Infection of the glands can also trigger scooting.

Some dogs are prone to chronic anal gland impaction and require periodic manual expression by a vet or groomer to empty the glands.

3. Parasites

Intestinal parasites like tapeworms, whipworms or hookworms that take up residence in the colon and rectal area are a prime suspect for scooting behavior.

As adult worms migrate and lay eggs around the anus, they generate severe itching and irritation that has dogs scooting in a frenzy.

Giardia protozoa infections can also cause inflammation of the colon and anus. Checking a stool sample is the best way to test for parasites.

4. Injuries, Tumors or Other Disorders

Sometimes scooting can stem from an injury or trauma to the area around the tail or hindquarters. Abscesses, tumors or growths around the rear can also be to blame.

Other issues like a blocked or abscessed anal gland, enlarged prostate, urinary tract infection or fecal impaction can also trigger scooting. Your vet can perform examinations and diagnostic testing to pinpoint the problem.

10 Natural Home Remedies for Dog Scooting

While the cause of scooting needs to be addressed, many at-home remedies can provide relief and treat the source of your dog’s dragging discomfort.

Always monitor your dog closely after implementing home treatments. Seek veterinary advice promptly if symptoms persist or your pet seems in distress.

1. Oatmeal Baths

Bathing your dog with a soak in colloidal oatmeal can significantly calm irritated skin and provide relief from intense itching around the rear. The natural anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties of oats will gently soothe rashes, hot spots and allergic reactions.

Add a cup of colloidal (finely ground) oatmeal to a cotton bag or old pillowcase. Secure it tightly and put in the tub while filling with warm – not hot – water.

Let your dog soak for 10-15 minutes to allow the soothing oats to penetrate the skin and coat. Rinse thoroughly afterwards. Repeat oatmeal baths as needed until the inflamed area heals.

2. Probiotic Supplements

Oral probiotic supplements can rebalance your dog’s digestive and immune health in multiple ways that combat scooting causes.

Benefits of dog-specific probiotic powders or pills include:

  • Strengthening gut barrier function
  • Crowding out yeast and bacteria
  • Improving digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Easing gastrointestinal inflammation
  • Supporting healthy immune responses
  • Fighting parasites, viruses and allergies

Probiotics help treat parasitic infections, impacted anal glands, diarrhea and allergic reactions. Choose a high-quality canine probiotic and give as directed on the package.

Adding a spoonful of plain, unsweetened yogurt to your dog’s diet aids digestion and gut health too.

3. Pumpkin for Regular Poops

Canned unsweetened pumpkin puree is a great natural home remedy for dog scooting issues. Pumpkin is a rich fiber source that can help firm up loose stools while easing constipation.

Irregular bowel movements that produce very soft, liquidy or overly firm stools can irritate the anal area and induce scooting. Adding a dollop of pumpkin supports healthy digestion and bowel regularity.

Try adding 1-4 tablespoons of canned pumpkin to your dog’s meals. Make sure the label states 100% pumpkin – avoid sugary pie fillings. Frozen pumpkin can also be thawed and used.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

The healing powers of apple cider vinegar extend to dogs too. When diluted with water, it helps balance pH levels in the body, creates an unfriendly environment for parasites and soothes irritated anal tissue.

To use, mix 1 teaspoon organic ACV per 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight into their drinking water. For example, add 3 teaspoons to the water bowl of a 60 lb pooch.

Improving gut health will deter parasite infections. And acetic acid in ACV reduces anal inflammation and irritation.

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has become a popular supplement for dogs due to the many health benefits it provides. The antimicrobial properties help fight anal gland infections that cause scooting. And the medium-chain fatty acids deeply moisturize dry, flaky skin that leads to itching.

For oral use, give 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight daily. You can simply spoon feed or mix into meals.

Coconut oil can also be applied topically to the irritated area. Allow your dog to lick the oil off their fur as well since ingestion provides benefits too.

6. Hydrotherapy

For dogs with chronic allergies, skin problems or frequent scooting – a session of hydrotherapy can provide tremendous relief. This water therapy involves the dog walking or swimming against controlled water currents in a special pool or tank.

The gentle resistance exercise and massage stimulate circulation to aid healing of irritated tissues. The surrounding water soothes itchy skin and washing removes allergens. Hydrotherapy centers for dogs are popping up across many cities.

7. Epsom Salt Soak

A warm Epsom salt bath can reduce swelling, ease painful hemorrhoids or contracted anal muscles causing constipation discomfort. This mineral-rich soak soothes irritation around the rear.

Add 1-2 cups Epsom salts to a shallow warm bath and let your dog soak for 5-10 minutes. It’s safe if they drink some of the water too. Rinse coat afterwards. Repeat Epsom salt soaks several times a week if needed.

8. Aloe Vera Gel

Pure aloe vera gel from the plant’s leaves can provide cooling relief when applied to irritated anal areas. It’s a powerful natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial that can promote healing of rashes, hot spots and abrasions.

After bathing your dog, pat the area dry and apply a thin layer of aloe vera a few times daily. Monitor to ensure your dog does not lick off excessive amounts as ingesting too much could cause diarrhea.

9. Witch Hazel Pads

Witch hazel is an astringent that can reduce swelling and fight bacteria around the anus. It also tightens relaxed tissue. Soak soft cotton pads, gauze or paper towels in undiluted witch hazel and gently wipe the irritated area whenever your dog scoots.

The cooling witch hazel will disinfect and soothe your dog’s tender rear. Just be sure to use unscented alcohol-free witch hazel formulated for pets.

10. Chamomile Tea Bags

The anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile can calm irritated anal tissue and shrink swollen blood vessels. Make a strong batch of chamomile tea, let it cool and soak some gauze pads or cotton balls in the tea. Apply to the affected area several times a day to ease soreness. You can also add cooled chamomile tea to your dog’s bath.

Medical Treatment Options for Dog Scooting

While home remedies can provide temporary relief for mild scooting issues, visiting your veterinarian for a full medical workup and treatment is often imperative to address the underlying cause.

The Importance of Diagnostic Testing

To get to the root of the scooting problem and pinpoint the exact reason for your dog’s discomfort, the vet will likely perform a variety of diagnostic tests including:

  • Complete Physical Exam – The vet will thoroughly palpate and visually inspect the hindquarters, underside of tail, anus and surrounding area to check for signs of inflammation, impactation of the anal glands, abscesses, tumors, parasites, trauma, etc.
  • Skin Scrapings – Using a blunt blade, the vet can take a skin sample and examine it under the microscope to look for parasitic mites like sarcoptic mange that burrow in the skin near the anus.
  • Fecal Tests – Microscopic fecal exam and flotation can detect the eggs of parasites like giardia, whipworms, hookworms or tapeworms that may be causing anal area irritation.
  • Blood Work – Testing blood levels for indicators of infection, organ issues, allergies and autoimmune diseases that could contribute to scooting behavior.
  • Urinalysis – Examining a urine sample helps rule out concurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) or bladder disorders.
  • Medical Imaging – X-rays or ultrasound of the abdomen can allow visual examination of the anal glands, lower GI tract and colon for impactions or other problems.
  • Biopsies – In some cases, tissue samples of the skin or rectal lining may need to be taken and analyzed to test for cancers, inflammatory bowel disease or other microscopic issues.

Potential Medications to Treat the Cause

Based on the diagnostic findings, the veterinarian may prescribe certain medications to address the root of the scooting, which could include:

  • Antibiotics – If the anal glands are infected or an abscess is found near the anus, antibiotic therapy will likely be prescribed.
  • Steroids and Antihistamines – These medications dampen allergic reactions and reduce itching that could be driving scooting behavior.
  • Anthelmintics – If parasites like whipworms or tapeworms are detected on fecal tests, deworming medication will be needed to kill the worms.
  • Pain Medication – The vet may prescribe a short course of dog-safe pain relievers if scooting has resulted in trauma, wounds or painful hemorrhoids.
  • Special Diet – Prescription dog foods may be recommended for treating allergies, gastrointestinal issues or inflammatory bowel disease.

Additional Veterinary Treatments Beyond Medications

In addition to medications, veterinarians have an arsenal of treatments to address scooting causes, including:

  • Manual Expressing of the Anal Glands – If the glands are painfully overfull, the vet will express them by applying gentle pressure to empty the contents. This provides tremendous relief.
  • Anal Gland Flushing – If the glands are infected, the vet may repeatedly flush them with a saline solution to cleanse bacteria and pus.
  • Surgery – In severe cases of recurrent infection or abscesses, the infected anal glands may need to be removed entirely through surgery.
  • Enemas – Large bulb syringes can be used to flush fecal material, parasites or other irritants from the colon and rectum.
  • Wound Care – Any open sores, abrasions or ulcers near the anus caused by scooting may need cleaning, ointments and bandaging.
  • Hydrotherapy – Water therapy improves circulation to the area to reduce swelling and promotes faster healing of irritated tissues.
  • Allergy Shots – If environmental allergies are to blame, desensitization shots may be given.

While occasional scooting isn’t serious, allowing the problem to become chronic can negatively impact your dog’s quality of life. Getting veterinary medical assessment, testing and treatment tailored to your dog’s specific underlying issue is critical to relieve their discomfort, avoid complications, and permanently stop problematic scooting behavior.

When Is it Time to Visit the Veterinarian?

While using home remedies, monitor your dog closely for any concerning symptoms. Contact your vet promptly if:

  • Scooting behavior lasts longer than 2 weeks without improvement
  • Additional symptoms appear like vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy
  • The area appears very swollen, inflamed, infected or bleeding
  • Worm segments are visible in stool or around the anus
  • Your dog seems in pain or distress when defecating
  • No change after diligently applying the home treatment remedies

Though occasional scooting isn’t serious, some underlying problems can impact your dog’s health and quality of life if left untreated. Identifying and addressing the root cause is key to long-term relief, which may require testing and prescription medications.

Follow your trusted veterinarian’s guidance about examination, treatment options and proper home care. With the vet’s expertise plus simple at-home remedies, you can get your dog’s dragging discomfort resolved and their rear end irritation under control. Then the scooting can finally stop!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is scooting always a sign of a health issue?

Not always. Dogs might scoot occasionally for various reasons, such as discomfort from a full anal sac or an itch. However, persistent scooting could indicate an underlying problem that requires attention.

2. Can I use over-the-counter creams for my dog’s scooting?

It’s best to consult your veterinarian before using any creams or ointments on your dog’s anal area to ensure they are safe and appropriate. Some products may contain ingredients that could worsen the issue.

3. Are certain dog breeds more prone to scooting?

While any dog can experience scooting, breeds with long fur or skin folds around the anal area may be more susceptible. Breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Cocker Spaniels have higher incidences of scooting.

4. How can I prevent anal gland issues in my dog?

Maintaining a fiber-rich diet, regular exercise, and proper hygiene can help prevent anal gland problems. Regular anal gland expression by a veterinarian can also help prevent blockages.

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