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What to Do about Your Dog’s Scooting

You may notice your dog scooting across the carpet, leaving a little brown trail. Although many people mistakenly believe that worms are the cause of this behavior, the real culprits are the anal glands, the little sacs of smelly fluid on either side of your dog’s anus.

The anal glands are related to the scent glands of the skunk, and they apply small amounts of scent to dogs’ stools as a kind of signature. Sometimes these glands get plugged, however, especially when the stools are not firm enough to stimulate the anal glands to expel their secretion.

If your dog is scooting regularly, take him to the vet and have them examine and, possibly, express the glands. If the anal sacs have become infected, your vet will instill an antibiotic into the sacs after they have been emptied.

If plugged anal glands are a frequent cause of distress for you and your dog, you may ask your veterinarian to teach you how to express the glands yourself. Invest in a box of latex gloves and some cotton batting to collect the secretion, breathe through your mouth, and you’re all set to go.

Occasionally a dog will have chronically impacted anal glands. This can result in continuing inflammation around the anal glands and eventually scarring of the surrounding area, which makes it even more difficult for the anal glands to be emptied and sets up a vicious cycle.

If your dog’s anal glands are chronically impacted and scarred, you may want to consider having them surgically removed. This requires a serious and painful surgery with the potential for complications, however, so it should not be undertaken lightly.

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