Why do dogs drag their butts on the floor? Scooting explained

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why do dogs drag their butts on the floor

So, you’ve caught your dog dragging his butt on the floor and you’re wondering what this peculiar behavior means?

I’ve seen my dog Baloo do that a couple of times when he was younger. Not only does it look weird. But Baloo also looked quite uncomfortable and he wouldn’t stop doing it.

So, I visited the vet but he told me that nothing was out of order. Only after doing a ton of research myself, I found out what could be causing this scooting. Full anal glands is the most frequent answer. But in Baloo’s case, it was something different.

In this article, we’ll look at why dogs drag their butts on the floor and how you can help them stop.

Why do dogs drag their butts on the floor?

Almost every dog owner has at least once caught their dog dragging their butt on the floor. This is a behavior that’s generally known as “scooting.”

But dog behavior like this can be confusing. After all, what does your dog get out of dragging his butt on the floor?

Scooting usually doesn’t mean anything terribly serious for your dog. But it can indicate discomfort that your dog is experiencing.

Plus, scooting isn’t exactly something that looks good. So for your own sake, or for the sake of your guests who have may be surprised by your dog’s behaviour, it’s worth understanding why scooting happens.

Full anal glands

You’ve probably watched two dogs greet each other. One of the first things dogs will do when they’re introduced to each other is to sniff each other’s butts.

What’s up with that?

Well, dogs have anal sacs on either side of their anuses. These anal sacs are what provide each dog with his own individual scent. Sniffing these anal sacs is how one dog gets to know who another dog is.

These anal sacs drain through a duct. But sometimes this duct can get clogged. This will cause discomfort for your dog, and could be the reason why he’s dragging his butt across the floor.

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Yeah, it’s gross… but sometimes your dog scoots because he’s got a little fecal matter attached to the fur around his butt.

This fecal matter, or “dingleberries,” can cause discomfort for your dog. It might tug at the fur, which isn’t a very nice feeling.

To relieve himself of the discomfort and get rid of his dingleberries, your dog might drag his butt on the ground.

Dogs with longer fur tend to experience this issue more than dogs with short fur. If your dog is getting chronic dingleberries, then trimming the fur around his butt can help.

That’s what it actually was for Baloo. I didn’t cut his fur short enough around his butt. And so he got dingleberries on a regular basis. Took me quite a while to figure it out. And probably even longer to get rid of them…

Now I make sure to alway cut his hair very short around his rear end and we’ve hardly had this issue anymore.


Having diarrhea doesn’t feel good—for anyone.

Having diarrhea can make your dog feel incredibly uncomfortable. This is especially true since it can irritate your dog’s anus.

To find relief, your dog might resort to scooting.

Diarrhea can be a one-off issue, or can signify something more is going on with your dog. If your dog just has one bout of it and then feels better, he’s probably fine. But if it continues for a long time, you may want to visit your vet.

Itchy bum

Sometimes the issue is just an itchy bum!

It’s hard for dogs to scratch their own butts. They can’t necessarily reach the part that’s itchy.

In these cases, your dog might drag his butt across the floor to try and alleviate the discomfort. It’s not the most elegant or classy thing, but your dog only cares about easing his itchiness.

If this only happens once a while, your dog is probably fine. But if your dog is showing excessive itchiness, then you might want to take him to the vet to get checked out.

why do dogs drag their butts on the floor


If your dog is showing excessive scooting behavior, then he might have a parasite.

Dog parasites can cause lots of discomfort for your dog. They can also cause other side effects like diarrhea, vomiting, or weight loss.

If your dog has parasites, he’ll usually show other symptoms—but not always. If your dog is scooting a lot, then you should bring him to your vet. They’ll check for any signs of parasites. If they find any, they’ll set you up with a treatment plan to deal with it.

Speaking of the vet: Have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!

Also make sure you have a look at my list of 9 tips for saving money at the vet!

Attention seeking

Scooting isn’t always caused by something physical. Sometimes a dog can express behavior like this because he knows it gets him attention.

If you’re giving your dog attention every time he scoots, then that works the same as positive reinforcement dog training. You’re giving your dog exactly what he wants, which is your attention!

One of the best ways to solve this problem is by making sure your dog is getting enough stimulation. For more information, check out these 11 tips for a tired, happy dog.


Just like humans, dogs can have allergies.

If your dog has eaten something he’s allergic to recently, then the area around his anus may become inflamed as he passes the feces.

Your vet will be able to help you determine whether or not your dog has allergies. They’ll check his anal glands and look for any signs of parasites. If neither of those things seems to be the issue, then they’ll test your dog for allergies.

How do I get my dog to stop scooting?

It’s helpful to know the reasons why your dog may be scooting. But if you’re not a huge fan of the behavior, here’s how you can help him stop.

Check for dingleberries

This is one of the first things you should do if your dog is scooting. Dingleberries are easy to spot, and have one of the easiest solutions.

If you spot any dingleberries on your dog, then you can try to remove them yourself if they’re not too bad. Use a wet paper towel to gently clean up. If that doesn’t work, take some scissors and cut the dirty fur away. That was always the only way I could get it out of Baloo’s fur.

Once the majority is cleaned up, you can bathe your dog.

If the issue is particularly bad, then taking your dog to the groomer to have the area shaved down might be the best solution.

Get his anal glands checked

If your dog’s anal glands look pretty swollen, then he might need to have them expressed.

Some owners express their dog’s anal glands themselves, but this is not recommended. Your dog’s anal sacs are delicate, and you can cause some serious harm to your dog if you express them incorrectly.

If suspect that your dog needs his anal glands expressed, then get a professional to check for you. Your vet will be able to determine if this is the issue and express them for you. Many groomers can also perform the procedure, but make sure to call and ask.

Adjust his diet in case of diarrhea

If your dog is scooting because of diarrhea, then that could be a sign he needs a diet change.

It’s important to make sure that you’re feeding your dog high-quality food. This will help prevent issues like diarrhea and scooting from arising.

When you’re buying your dog’s food, make sure you check the ingredient list and understand how to read the label. This will help ensure your dog is getting the right nutrients.

You may also want to consider food options like choosing fresh-cooked food rather than kibble. If this is something you’re interested in, then check out the best dog food delivery service for fresh cooked food.

Ask your vet

It’s hard to diagnose your dog yourself. After all, you’re not a professional.

But your vet is! And they’ll be able to determine exactly what is going on with your dog.

If you suspect that something is wrong, like parasites or allergies, then you should take your dog to your vet right away. Your vet will know exactly how to help and treat your dog, and ensure that both of you are taken care of.

why do dogs drag their butts on the floor

Why does my dog scoot when excited?

It might seem weird, but some dogs start scooting if they get a little too excited.

While this behavior isn’t exactly what most people would call “desirable,” there is a reason behind it.

If a dog suddenly gets excited or even scared, he might involuntarily empty his anal sacs. He might then start scooting to clean himself up or relieve any discomfort that he might be feeling.

While it’s not a particularly pleasant thing, it’s very normal for dogs.

How do you tell if your dog needs his glands expressed?

If your dog is scooting, then that’s one major sign that it’s time to have his anal glands expressed. But he’ll probably show other signs, too.

One of the other big signs that your dog’s anal glands need expressing is if he’s licking his butt a lot. You may also notice that your dog’s anal glands are emitting an especially pungent smell if they’re extremely full.

If your dog has been sitting in one place for a while, you might find some brownish marks where his butt was.

These are all signs that you should call your vet or your local groomer to get your dog’s anal glands expressed.


Dogs show many behaviors that we humans consider confusing. Dragging their butts on the floor is one of them.

If you find your dog scooting, it’s usually not the sign of anything terribly serious. But it can indicate that something is going on if it’s quite excessive.

Make sure to check your dog for signs of visible issues, like dingleberries or anal glands that need to be expressed. If your dog doesn’t show any signs that these might be the issues, then calling your vet is the next step.

Remember, your vet is there to help you and your dog. And it’s your job to speak up for your dog, and make sure that he’s always happy and healthy.

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