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Bottoms Up

Like most people I’m sure you have often laughed at your dog or another dog at the park scooting across the grass or in the snow. Are they doing it for fun, sliding around in circles or sliding down a slope? What we may consider comical, may actually be a sign that your pet is in discomfort.

More often than not when our dogs start dragging their butts, or scooting, it’s a sign that your dog’s bottom is sore and irritated and they are trying to soothe the irritation. In most cases the cause stems from the anal glands, which are actually small sacs

on either or both sides of the anus. In dogs, the anal glands contain a liquid which is secreted in small amounts each time your pet has a bowel movement.

If the anal glands do not empty properly during a bowel movement, the sacs can become impacted and cause a blockage. If the blockage is not relieved, the anal sac can become inflamed or get infected and, in the worst case scenario, can even become abscessed which is certainly no laughing matter.

If you notice your pet scooting, it’s advisable to make an appointment to see your vet and, if the anal glands are full, your vet can express the glands to remove the blockage and relieve the irritation. If your vet finds any signs of an infection, he or she will infuse the sacs with an antibiotic and, if there is an abscess, your vet will probably prescribe oral antibiotics or an anti-inflammatory medication.

While the anal glands are the most common cause of scooting, it is important to see your vet if your pet has trouble defecating. If your dog is chewing or licking persistently or you notice any swelling around the anal area, you need to rule out any other causes of irritation. Other things which can cause your pet discomfort or persistent itching and irritation can include tapeworm or allergies. Problems can also be the result of contamination from hair and feces becoming matted in and around the rectum and surrounding area.

You should never attempt to trim the hair or fur around your pet’s rectal area unless you are fully experienced as you could easily cut or nick the area causing an infection. It is therefore important to have your pet groomed on a regular basis to insure the rectal area is clean and free of any dried feces and not overgrown with fur which would cause irritants to be stuck to the area.

The smaller breed dogs seem to be more prone to having problems with the anal glands. However, medium and large breed dogs are not exempt so be sure to watch for signs of scooting or excessive licking and don’t let your pup suffer. Treatment is generally very easy and will keep your dog happy with his Bottom Up!!

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