One question that we run into quite a lot here at Leesville Animal Hospital is – “why is my dog scooting their butt on the carpet?” Well, today we are going to take a look at the most common answer to this question – anal gland trouble.
Dogs can scoot their hind ends on your carpet for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is a result of anal gland discomfort.
When your dog begins to scoot their bottom on your carpet, most commonly the anal glands are full and your dog is not expressing them naturally. Full anal glands can be very uncomfortable for your dog and cause them to scoot their hind end on your carpet in an effort to relieve that discomfort.
What are the anal glands?
Dogs have two small grape-sized glands on either side of their anus. These glands contain a very potent smelling substance that dogs utilize to communicate with each other. Most of the time the substance in your dog’s anal glands will express naturally when they go to the bathroom, but occasionally (especially in the case of dogs experiencing frequent diarrhea) the anal glands do not express naturally. This lack of expression causes the glands to become full or even abscessed.
So what should you do?
If your dog has full anal glands, your vet will express them by gently squeezing them to release the odorous substance inside. Full anal glands are often referred to as impacted anal glands. If you don’t have your dog’s anal glands expressed when they are impacted your dog will continue to scoot their bottom on your carpet and it will become painful and uncomfortable for them to go to the bathroom. Another serious complication that results from a failure to have full anal glands expressed is that there is a very high possibility that your dog will develop an anal gland infection. When your dog has an anal gland infection their glands will become swollen, red, and very uncomfortable for your dog. Anal gland infections require treatment with antibiotics. If antibiotics are not given in time, the anal glands can actually rupture as a result of the infection.
When the anal glands rupture due to infection this is referred to as an anal gland abscess. An anal gland abscess is extremely uncomfortable for your dog and not very pleasant for you either. An abscessed anal gland will leak blood, pus and anal gland contents. It is EXTREMELY important that if your dog experiences an abscessed anal gland, you get them to the vet immediately. When treating an abscessed anal gland your vet will need to sedate your dog, cut open and drain the abscessed gland, apply antibiotics, and close the wound. You dog will also receive oral antibiotics to help to control the infection.
Signs that You Should Watch Out For
Once you have experienced an anal gland incident with your dog, the chances are that you will become much more aware that these little glands exist and sometimes require veterinary attention.
Anal Gland Problem Prevention
Once your dog has had an anal gland abscess they are more likely to need veterinary expression of their anal glands in the future. There are some things that you can do, however, that can help your dogs anal glands to express naturally.
Do you have questions about your dogs anal glands? Give us a call and set up an appointment with one of our vets to discuss your questions!