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Caring Paws - Scooting



Scooting is a relatively common behaviour in dogs, not so much in cats.

It is most often related to the impaction of the anal sacs. These are two glands located at both sides of the anus that produce a thick, foul smelling material.


In the wild, the secretion of this substance is used to mark territory or to scare enemies. In domestic dogs, this type of behaviour is no longer displayed, and most dogs will void they sacs only when scared, or more commonly during defecation.


However, some animals become unable to empty their glands on their own. The sacs become impacted and uncomfortable, and the dog will scoot their rear on the ground in an attempt to empty the glands. Some others will chase or bite their tails, and most cats will lick the anal area, or even pull their hair.


If your pet is showing any of these symptoms it is very important to get them checked by your vet. If left untreated, anal sac impaction may lead to infection or fistulas (draining tracts) around the anus. To prevent further problems, consider including high fibre elements on your pets’ food, such as bran, pumpkin or Metamucil.


If your pet often suffers from this condition, you may ask your vet to teach you how to express the glands at home, so they don’t get too full before you seek professional help.


Remember that other conditions such as tapeworm can also cause scooting, and regular deworming treatments should be given.


Always consult your friendly Vet for more information and advice. If you have any questions you would like to ask our Paws & Co.’s Vet please send it to –


Silvana Conillo BVSc

Owner of SC Veterinary Ultrasounds

Published 01/03/2012

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