Why is My Dog Scooting on the Carpet in Park Ridge, NJ?

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You’re settled down in the living room, enjoying the new Netflix series, and your border collie, Asterisk, interrupts everything by scooting across the carpet right in front of the TV. One of the most frustrating (and embarrassing) things Park Ridge, NJ dog owners deal with is when their dog starts scooting on the carpet. Why does this happen and what can you do to help your pup stop? We’ll go through some reasons and solutions below.

dog scooting on carpet in park ridge, nj

Anal gland problems Can Cause Dog Scooting

One of the most common reasons dogs start scooting has to do with anal gland problems. Anal glands are small sacs located under the tail in all dogs (cats have them too!) that contains a gel-like material. Skunks actually have modified anal glands that allow them to spray (and we’re all VERY happy that dogs do not have that ability!).

Just like for skunks, the anal glands of dogs create a unique scent pattern for each individual. These glands are usually expressed with a bowel movement and help dogs scent mark their territory (which is not really as important for domestic dogs as for other canids like wolves or coyotes).

Why Problems Arise

Problems arise when anal glands don’t get expressed with a bowel movement, as when a dog has diarrhea for a few days. Sometimes the material in the glands is not very fluid and will not express on its own (these are known as impacted anal glands). If you notice scooting, it’s always a good idea to give your vet a call.

They can check the anal glands and express them to help your dog feel better. Sometimes, one expression is all that is needed to alleviate the problem. However, anal glands can become infected (or even rupture if they not treated quickly enough). This will require a vet visit and often antibiotics or warm packs applied to the area under the tail.

Ruptured anal glands are a medical concern and should be seen by a veterinary professional quickly. When anal glands rupture, it is extremely painful for your dog. If you notice blood along with your dog’s stool, contact a veterinarian for advice.

Anal glands are also commonly expressed by groomers as part of the grooming package. Always ask your groomer if they express anal glands. If the groomer is part of a veterinary clinic, the groomer can always ask the vet techs or veterinarian to take a peek if something looks off with the anal glands before it becomes a larger problem.

Allergies Can Cause Your Dog to Scoot in Park Ridge, NJ

Allergies make any irritation worse. Dogs with food or environmental allergies commonly lick their paws (not a noise that is fun to hear at 2am!) or under their tail. Scooting is another way dogs will try to relieve itching. Allergies can be to food or treats, to environmental factors (yes, dogs can even be allergic to things like wool!), or can be seasonal allergies to pollen, just like what humans get in the spring.

Dog allergies should always be discussed with a veterinarian to find the root cause. Seasonal allergies may just require oral medications or injections for a few months. Food allergies require a diet change and strict adherence to make sure your pup doesn’t eat something they’re allergic to.

Environmental allergies can be as easy as removing the irritant from your home (if you can) or may require longer-term medications. To help your pup feel better, frequent bathing with a hypoallergenic shampoo can help with dandruff and itchiness (which should reduce scooting).

Between baths, wiping your dog down with unscented baby wipes or unscented dog wipes can help keep pollen or other irritants off them. (In area that get snow, it is always a good idea to wipe paws off after walks outside in the winter with wipes or a wet washcloth. Ice melts are not always pet safe and can contain chemicals or heavy metals that can make your dog sick if they lick it off).

If your dog goes to a groomer for baths (when they can also express anal glands to avoid another cause for scooting!), ask the groomer if they can use a hypoallergenic shampoo or if you can bring your own. Which leads to another reason for scooting…

Scented shampoos, sprays, or detergents Contribute to Scooting

We all like to smell good, and of course we want our pups to smell great too. However, scents we find pleasant can be irritating to dogs. Some shampoos or sprays with heavy scents (even those made for dogs) can be very irritating and cause itching and scooting.

If your dog starts scooting, licking, or scratching after a bath or grooming session, start by wiping them off with unscented wipes. If they continue, try a bath with an oatmeal-based shampoo or a hypoallergenic shampoo. If after all that they still seem uncomfortable, a call to the vet is probably needed to find the root cause.

If they seem less irritated after removing the scented shampoo or spray, they were probably irritated by perfumes or dyes added to the product. While human shampoos can be used on dogs, they can actually strip too much natural oils from the dog’s coat. Sometimes this is needed if your dog is really oily and your vet will recommend it. Other times, it can be extremely irritating to your dog and can cause itching.

Your veterinarian or groomer can recommend shampoos, sprays, or wipes to help your dog keep smelling great and which will reduce the chance of scratching and scooting from irritation. Other possible causes of perfumes or dyes that can be irritating to your pup are laundry detergents or fabric softeners.

Just like in humans, some ingredients in these may cause allergies or irritations in dogs. If you suspect your dog is sensitive, it is best to use laundry detergents made for babies that are perfume and dye free.

Masses Can Lead to Your Dog Scooting on the Carpet

No one wants to think a tumor or cancer can be why their beloved dog is scooting across the carpet. Unfortunately, anal cancers can affect dogs and will lead to discomfort, licking, itching, or scooting. Any redness or swelling under the tail should be investigated by your veterinarian quickly.

Intestinal Parasites and Scooting

Intestinal parasites (worms or microscopic parasites like giardia or cryptosporidium) are irritating and cause discomfort in dogs. Sometimes, worms can be seen in the stool and it is obvious your dog needs treatment. Other times, you won’t see worms, but your dog will be uncomfortable and may scoot or lick.

It is a good idea to keep your pup on regular anti-parasite medications (the easiest way is to use a monthly combination heartworm treatment and anti-worm medication) and have regular fecal examinations performed by your veterinarian. If worms are found, treatment is usually one or two doses of a liquid or tablet medication. Some parasites like giardia require longer treatment to rid them from the dog’s system.

Keep an Eye Out for Your Dog Scooting on the Carpet in Park Ridge, NJ

Watching your dog scooting across the carpet is never fun, but it is usually not cause for emergency. Of course, any strange behaviors or symptoms should always be checked by your veterinarian. Some small changes to your dog’s lifestyle or grooming habits can make a world of difference and make you and your pup feel better, as well as keeping embarrassing scooting at bay.

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