Why do Dogs “Scoot” or Drag their Butts on the Floor?

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Does your dog use your carpet like it’s ultra soft toilet paper? Or maybe as a personal rear scratching post?
By Karen Asp, edited by Samantha Meyers

If you’ve owned a dog you’ve likely had this happen to you. You’re admiring your dog who is sitting so comfy on the rug, little legs sticking out, so cute — until it isn’t. In a swift move your dog goes from an adorable sit, to a cringe-worthy slide across your carpet butt first and suddenly your flailing your arms in a slow motion “no” as you imagine the trail being left behind.

“Why me?” is what you’ll likely want to ask as you get on your knees to scrub the floor while your dog with the nicely scratched bottom wags his tail at you, happy as a clam.

But the better question is why do dogs do it? and is this normal?

“Just about anything a dog does can be normal,” says Pam Reid, Ph.D., a certified applied animal behaviorist and vice president of the anti-cruelty behavior team for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York City. “There are, though, some behaviors that fall into the category of abnormal, and it just depends on the frequency and context.”

Why Dogs Drag Their Butts Across the Floor:

Butt scooting, where a dog drags his bottom across the floor, usually indicates a problem with your pup’s anal glands — in some dogs, they can become impacted and need to be expressed, or emptied of fluid — or a tapeworm, Young says. Another possibility? Your dog may have just defecated and is cleaning his back end, Reid notes.

How to Stop Your Dog from Butt Scooting:

If your dog scoots right after he defecates, allow him more time outside so he can clean this area better before coming indoors.

However, if this behavior happens frequently and outside the context of having just gone to the bathroom, take him to the vet to determine if you’re dealing with anal gland issues, tapeworm, or another medical cause. If the anal gland is impacted, you may have to take your dog to a vet or groomer regularly to get his anal glands expressed. Or if you’re adventurous, you can learn how to express the glands at home.

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