Why Does My Dog Drag Its Bottom?

If you were looking at a list of things dogs like to do in front of company, dragging their butts on the carpet would come in only slightly behind licking themselves. It’s a behavior that is gross, annoying, and funny all at the same time. But no matter your reaction to it, the question remains: Why does my dog drag its butt?

Medical Reasons

Despite the sometimes comical nature of this behavior, there can be some serious reasons for the butt drag including:

  • Anal Sac Problems – These scent glands in dogs can become blocked, infected, or otherwise irritated, and cause the dog to drag its butt in order to relive the pressure.
  • Diarrhea – Matted fur around the bum can be an irritant that can cause butt dragging.
  • Worms – Our dogs are susceptible to a number of different parasites that get passed through the digestive tract and can ultimately be an irritant that produces a butt scooting episode.
  • Rectal Prolapse – This is a serious situation in which the end of the intestine telescopes its way out the anus and could require a surgical solution.

Any of these may be cause for a regular, or in the case of rectal prolapse, emergency visit to your veterinarian. This article from WebMD can give you a bit more detailed information about the medical reasons for butt dragging and their treatment.

Non-Medical Reasons

There are other, less serious reasons for you dog to hike its back legs above its head and drag its ass like it’s trying to light a match. Some of these include:

  • Itching – Although technically a medical reason, most of the time itching it is not a serious condition. Seen more often in smaller dogs that have exposed bums, it can suddenly appear in the winter months when the furnace is running more often and the air is tinder dry.
  • Klingons – No, I am not talking about Star Trek here. Dogs like my Australian Shepherd have a lot of hair back there and sometimes things get hung up.
  • Reinforced Behavior – Believe it or not some dogs do this simply for the attention. Dogs know what gets our attention and learning theory tells us that rewarding a behavior will increase its frequency. Just like jumping on you when you come home gets you to bend down and interact with your dog, dragging their butts across the carpet may get you up off the couch and interacting with them as well.

No matter the reason for the bum drag, it’s a behavior that all dog lovers have to contend with. It’s just a dog doing what a dog does. Figure out the reason, use an appropriate method of treatment, and soon your floors and carpets won’t be subjected to this indignity.



4 thoughts on “Why Does My Dog Drag Its Bottom?

  1. Yup, I have a reinforced bum scooter here! She looks at you, groans, and then drags her bum along the ground, maintaining eye contact the whole time. I’ve tried to put it on cue by capturing it, but to no avail.

  2. Oh my gosh! I had no idea that there could be a medical reason for a dog dragging it’s butt. I mean my dogs seem to do it all the time in the most inconvenient places too. Who would have guessed that butt dragging could be a sign of rectal prolapse? It kind of makes me wonder if I sure second guess my dogs’ butt dragging every now and then. Thanks for the information! I’ll be sure to remember this.

  3. Just wanted to add to the list of medical reasons. My dog was butt scooting so to the vet he went. Figure impacted anal glands and never having expressed them before (or even wanting to)….. Well, it turns out he had an anal gland tumor, removed and diagnosed as Anal Gland Adenocarcinoma. Because of his butt scooting, we caught it when it was small (size of a peanut M&M) thus greatly increasing his survival. He is now 2 years 6 months since diagnosis and is doing well.

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