Dogs scooting across the floor may seem funny to some. However, as a responsible dog parent, scooting should signal to you that something is wrong.
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Scooting usually indicates that your dog might have an anal sac issue.
The most common cause for scooting in dogs is impacted or inflamed anal glands. This causes discomfort and itchiness that can be partially relieved by a quick scoot across the carpet.Dr. Chyrle Bonk(Video) How To Recognise Anal Gland Problems In Your Dog
When your dog has an itchy bum, a visit to the vet is always a good idea. This way, you can ensure that her itch is not due to a more serious illness or parasites.
However, sometimes you can’t reach the vet in time. Other times, you only want to soothe your puppy’s pain without leaving the house. So, we set up a guide on how to treat a sore bum on a dog complete with solutions for what you can put on a puppy’s itchy bottom.
Read on to find out more about rectal itching in dogs and how you may treat it at home!
What Are the Signs of Sore Bottom in Dogs?
Rectal itching is common in dogs, and it may happen several times throughout your furry friend’s life. As a pet parent, it is impossible not to notice your dog scooting across floors, grass, or even the pavement. This behavior is a clear sign that your pooch feels pain or discomfort in that area.
Other signs of a sore bum in dogs include:
- Licking around the tail area.
- Biting and scratching the area around the anus.
- Often restlessness.
- Lethargy and lack of appetite.
Sometimes, your dog may jump suddenly and look back at her rear end. This sudden shock can tell you a bit about the intensity of the itch. Simply put, anal itchiness may feel similar to an insect bite or tickle.
If your dog shows signs of a sore bottom very rarely and with at least five days in between, she might not have a serious problem. However, if her scooting and scratching is more frequent, you should ask your veterinarian.
In severe cases, anal sac infections can turn into ruptured anal glands or even anal sac tumors. Besides scooting, symptoms of an anal gland issue include:
- A foul odor.
- Constant diarrhea.
- Blood in the stool.
- An open wound around the anal area.
- Protrusion of anal tissue.
Furthermore, you may notice that your dog is constantly whining or crying. She might also experience severe pain when sitting. So, if you see her avoiding that position, you should investigate her bum area and contact your veterinarian.
Anal gland impaction and infection in Dogs
Some pet owners believe that their dogs scoot across the floor because they have worms. However, the canine experts at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine might disagree. They believe that every canine, from wolves to Chihuahuas, experience anal gland dysfunctions at some point in their lives.
To know how to soothe your dog’s sore bum, you first must understand the anal gland function in dogs. This way, you will avoid giving it the wrong treatment or mistake the issue for something completely different, such as parasitic worms.
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What Are Dog Anal Glands?
Every dog has small glands on both sides of its anus. Also known as exocrine glands, these organs have special ducts in which they secrete and hold fluid until the dog defecates. Firstly, they do not use the bloodstream as a natural secretion flow. Secondly, they have to empty the secretions on each defecation.
According to the American Kennel Club, the healthy consistency of dog poop  should be compact, but moist. That is to say, the stool should be wet enough to slide out naturally. But, it should also be firm enough to compress the anal gland ducts in order to release their liquid.
A dog’s stool also contains secretions from the anal glands. Furthermore, they contain plenty of information about the pup’s diet, health, and whether it has a sore bottom or not. For example, that’s why your pup sniffs other hounds’ stools at the dog park. In a way, she is following a millennia-old natural habit of checking on the health of other members of her “pack.”
Your dog may get a sore butt when her anal glands do not empty during defecation. This unfortunate event is also known as anal gland impaction because the ducts become “impacted.” Subsequently, the glands inflate and look like red, swelling bulbs on each side of the anus.
Anal gland impaction in dogs occurs when the anal glands can’t be naturally expressed. This may be due to a thickened secretion that can’t pass through the tiny gland ducts. Or it may be due to inflammation or blockage of the duct or duct opening itself that doesn’t allow for the passage of the anal gland secretions.Dr. Chyrle Bonk
You may notice an overwhelming smell coming from your dog’s anus when her anal glands become impacted. For example, the odor is similar to rotten fish, and it is impossible to ignore.
How to Treat Anal Gland Infection in Dogs?
Anal gland impaction can lead to severe infections if you don’t tend to it in time. The anal glands may abscess and even rupture, leading to open, bloody wounds around the anus. Ruptured anal glands may require a surgical repair if severe enough.
At this point, a soothing cream wouldn’t do much to heal the impacted glands. Instead, you can manually express the dog’s anal glands to help squeeze the liquid out of them. Having the anal glands expressed should relieve the itch. However, this procedure is not guaranteed to work, and by doing it wrong, you may cause severe inflammation.
Most pet parents do not feel comfortable with expressing their dog’s anal glands. Instead, you can discuss the problem with your vet. In some cases, the vet will recommend antibiotics. Other times, you may find that natural remedies for itchy bottoms in dogs can be reliable solutions.
Anal Sac Risk Factors
According to PetMD,  dogs of all breeds can experience anal gland issues. However, large breeds are less likely to develop this condition. So, if you have a small breed dog, you need to monitor them regularly to reduce the risk of an itchy rear end.
The dog breeds most likely to develop anal gland impaction include:
- Basset Hounds.
- Cocker Spaniels.
- Lhasa Apsos.
- Miniature and Toy Poodles (but not Standard Poodles).
Note that both female and male dogs have equal risks of experiencing a sore, itchy butt. But, dogs who suffer from other skin infections or hypothyroidism are more likely to develop anal gland impaction, regardless of their breed or gender.
Dogs can suffer from a sore bottom at any age. One of the risk factors is obesity. Overweight pups are more prone to a wide range of canine health problems, and anal gland impaction is one of them.
RELATED: How Often to Express Dog Anal Glands?
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How to Prevent Your Dog from Having an Itchy But
To better understand how to protect your dog from anal gland issues, we should take a closer look at what causes your puppy to have a sore bottom:
- The anal sacs might be full and impacted or infected.
- Allergies to food or fleas.
- Bacterial infections.
- Rectal tumors.
- Ulcers and cracks in the skin around the anus.
- Skin infections and irritations.
- Tapeworms or ringworms.
- Skin cuts from grooming.
As you can see, you can control some of these factors. For instance, you can ensure that you feed your dog a fiber-rich diet. This way, her stools will have the ideal consistency that prevents anal sacs from becoming impacted. Secondly, you can keep her free of fleas, and make sure that grooming takes place without any cuts or clips around the anal area.
You should ensure that your pup is always comfortable defecating. For example, you should avoid making her feel extra stressed when you go for the daily walk. Do not scare or rush her when she is ready to pass her stool. Also, guide her to a remote area of the park, where she feels safe and secure.
Finally, you can prevent your dog from getting an itching butt by helping her keep a trim figure. If your dog has an appropriate weight for her breed and size, she will be less likely to develop anal gland impaction. However, if she is fat, you should put her on a diet and challenge her to more exercise.
Natural Treatment for Itchy Bums in Dogs
If you see your dog scooting frequently, you should consider immediate action. Without knowing what causes her an itchy bottom, you may apply the wrong treatment. Furthermore, you risk making a mild condition worse.
Lift up her tail and inspect the area. If it looks red and pulsating, you might be dealing with an infection. Next, gently touch the area around the anus. If it is hard, the anal sacs might be full. As we mentioned above, you can try squeezing them yourself. However, if you do not have experience in this matter or you feel uncomfortable doing it, you should head to the vet.
After a careful examination, the vet may suggest oral medicine or ointments that you can put on your dog’s itching butt. As a result, your pup will get pain relief and again feel comfortable defecating.
READ MORE: Dog Licks Pus
Home Remedies for A Dog’s Sore Bottom
If your pooch sore bum is in the early stages of anal gland impaction, you can try to treat the problem at home. Try these easy methods for reducing the risk of anal sacs infection:
- Increase fiber intake. Add fish oil and more fiber-rich ingredients to your dog’s daily food intake. For example, boiled carrots and pumpkin can improve the quality of her meals. Fiber will enhance the defecation rate and force your dog to pass stools more often. Therefore, her anal sacs will empty more frequently. Keep in mind that this method works only if you increase the fiber in your dog’s food gradually. If you add too much fiber at once, she might have an upset stomach or become constipated. As a result, the extra fiber might do more harm than good.
- Increase water intake. With the increase in fiber, you should also consider giving your dog more water every day. Dehydration can lead to constipation and other difficulties defecating and thoroughly expressing their anal glands.
- Use a warm compress. A dog’s anal sac can sometimes be expressed with the help of a warm compress. Soak a clean cloth in warm water and have your dog sit on it for roughly 10 minutes. Use gentle force to keep her in place. After that warm relief, your pup may find it easier to relax and empty the anal gland ducts on the next stool.
- More exercise. Two things happen every time your dog exercises. Firstly, her digestion works faster, which makes her defecate more often. Secondly, her muscles tighten. As a result, she will assert more pressure on the anal sac to empty every time she passes a stool.
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Below are vet-approved answers to pet owners whose pups have an itching butt, anal gland impaction, or an irritated bottom from a variety of causes!
What cream can I put on my dog’s sore bum?
Upon your veterinarian’s recommendation, you can use an anti-inflammatory cream or ointment to alleviate anal discomfort in dogs. Make sure that the treatment contains plant extracts, like Witch Hazel, which provides pain relief for anal gland infections.
How do you treat a sore butt on a dog?
An instant solution to treat a dog’s sore butt does not exist. The main treatment for a sore bottom is to find the cause behind it.
Depending on what causes your dog an itching bottom, you may have to change her diet, express her anal glands, treat her for worms or fleas, and apply creams and wet compresses to her bottom. Finally, she may even have to undergo surgery to resolve anal gland issues.
Why is my dog’s bum red and swollen?
Your dog’s bottom may become inflammed and swollen because of anal gland impaction. This condition occurs when the anal glands do not empty during defecation. As a result, the internal secretions inflate the anal sac, which may cause itchiness, tissue protrusion, and blood in the stool, among others.
Can I put Vaseline on my dog’s bum?
While Vaseline may have some anti-inflammatory properties, there is no proof that it can reduce inflammation in a dog’s anal sacs. Furthermore, you may find your dog licking it soon after you rub it on her rectum. It is always better to use medical remedies that the veterinarian has recommended.
What causes a sore bottom in dogs?
Every dog has two small glands just inside its anus. They secrete an internal fluid that comes out with the stool. However, when they fail to empty their secretions, these two glands swell up. As a result, the dog may feel discomfort and pain, which will cause her to scoot and lick or bite herself around the bottom area.
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Your dog may experience an itchy bum at any point in her life. There are plenty of ways to prevent it by ensuring that she has a fiber-rich diet and enough exercise. However, when it finally happens, you should take immediate action. If the situation is not severe, you can try to relieve the pain at home. If the anal glands are already swollen, you should visit the vet.
- Hoggan, Sarah. “Anal Sac Disease.”VetMed, vetmed.wsu.edu/outreach/Pet-Health-Topics/categories/diseases/anal-sac-disease.
- Donovan, Liz. “How to Tell If Your Dog’s Poop Is Healthy – American Kennel Club.”American Kennel Club, 17 Sept. 2020, akc.org/expert-advice/health/dogs-poop-says-health/.
- Dunn, T. J.Anal Gland Problems in Dogs (and Cats). 15 Feb. 2021, petmd.com/dog/general-health/evr_dg_anal_sac_problems.
Aside from utilizing lotions, you should also be aware that a warm compress is one of the most effective remedies for your dog's sore bottom. However, never use harsh remedies on your dog's painful buttocks, such as Vaseline or anything petroleum jelly-based! This can only end up causing more harm than good.What cream can I put on my dogs bottom? ›
Bellfor anal glands ointment helps to counteract complaints with the anal glands in dogs in a natural way. Bellfor Anal Gland Ointment is a natural care product for dogs. The ointment is suitable for external use and helps to counteract problems with anal bags in dogs.Can I put Neosporin on my dog? ›
If your pooch got into a scrape, chances are good that you can use a small amount of Neosporin to help prevent infection in the wound. Superficial injuries, such as scrapes, abrasions, and small cuts, may benefit from this trifecta of a topical antibiotic.Can you put Vaseline on dogs but? ›
While Vaseline is technically non-toxic for dogs, it does not mean it is 100% safe. If over-ingested (and they will lick) it can cause an upset stomach, which can lead to vomiting or diarrhoea. Vaseline forms a barrier over your dog's skin trapping in toxins, dirt and bacteria.Why is my dogs bum red and sore? ›
Anal sac disease is very common in dogs. The sacs frequently become impacted (plugged), usually due to inflammation of the ducts. The secretion within the impacted sacs will thicken and the sacs will become swollen and distended, making it painful for your dog to pass feces.Can I put coconut oil on my dogs sore bum? ›
For anal gland abscesses, add a teaspoon of coconut oil, 1 drop of lavender essential oil, and/or several drops of grapefruit seed extract to any of these hot teas. All of these additions have disinfecting properties. Obviously, if your dog has a really painful abscess, this treatment may not be appropriate.Can I put diaper rash ointment on my dog? ›
The Bottom Line. In conclusion, diaper rash cream is not safe or effective for use on dogs. If your dog's skin is irritated, it is best to use a product that is specifically designed for dogs. If you suspect that your dog has a skin infection, make an appointment to see your veterinarian as soon as possible.What can I put on my dogs raw skin? ›
- Coconut oil. Applying coconut oil to the skin can help soothe itches, but make sure you use a good quality coconut oil that is organic or unrefined. ...
- Baking soda. ...
- Apple cider vinegar. ...
- Colloidal oatmeal. ...
- Green tea. ...
- Chamomile tea. ...
- Aloe vera. ...
- Plain yoghurt.
Exmarid Skin Ointment has been developed to treat animals with minor wounds, abrasions or broken skin. The antibacterial ointment gently sooths and protects, helping skin become supple and healthy.Should I let my dog lick his wound? ›
Licking Harms More Than It Helps
Excessive licking can lead to irritation, paving the way for hot spots, infections, and potential self-mutilation. Licking and chewing can also slow healing by reopening wounds. Surgery sites are especially dangerous for dogs to lick.
You can add some plain Neosporin after, just make sure your dog doesn't lick it. This is just a temporary fix that may help sooth the area. Your dog may need a course of antibiotics by your vet if there is an infection or abscess.Can you use KY jelly on dogs? ›
Things You Will Need to Treat Your Dog's Wounds at Home:
Water-based lubricant, such as KY jelly (not Vaseline) Antiseptic solution.
Coconut oil can add moisture to your dog's skin and prevent flaking. It also helps freshen up a dog's coat if used with a light touch. To use it topically, simply rub a very small amount onto your hands and then gently pat the coat, run your fingers through the fur, and massage a little down onto the skin.How do you treat raw red skin on a dog? ›
Soothing shampoos (aloe or oatmeal based). Wiping off your dog's paws and belly after a walk, to remove pollen and other potential allergens. Hydrocortisone cream is usually okay to apply for a few days directly on the rash. Just be sure your dog doesn't lick and ingest it (an Elizabethan collar can help).How can I soothe my dogs red irritated skin? ›
Chamomile and Herbal Tea Soaks
Chamomile, calendula, and green tea have properties that soothe and cool irritated skin and reduce inflammation, making them great additions in a dog bath for itchy skin. These soaks are best for dogs who have hot, itchy patches of skin that are at risk of getting rubbed raw.
The Bottom Line
Desitin is a diaper rash ointment for human use only. Its use should be avoided in dogs as it can cause serious side effects.
There are numerous reasons why your dog's anal area is swollen, red, and itchy and among them are overgrown hair, grooming, fecal contamination, diarrhea, allergies, flea infestations, worms, and breed predisposition. In rare cases, a tumor can be behind the swollen bottom, but no reason to panic.What can you put on a raw bottom? ›
Use Vaseline, zinc cream, or a barrier cream for a sore bottom. Ointments like Vaseline or petroleum jelly help create a protective barrier over inflamed skin and reduce redness, according to 2016 research . You can apply a small amount to your anus after going to the bathroom and cleaning yourself.Why does my dog keep licking and biting his bum? ›
Anal gland inflammation
⁵ For your dog, anal glands may cause discomfort if they are impacted or infected. Many dogs will lick, scratch, chew, or drag their bums across the floor in an effort to alleviate this feeling. Constipation or blood in the stool can be present if your dog's anal glands are irritated.