Why Is My Dog Dragging Its Butt?

Written by Guest Author

Ok, it's not the most glamorous topic but it is something many dog owners have to deal with!

That means it's something we're going to cover here on Golden Retriever Love for our readers 🙂

Reasons Why Your Dog is Dragging its butt

Butt dragging is a very common thing among dogs and most of the time there is no reason worry. The occasional carpet scooch isn't something to stress about. If you notice more frequent butt scooches on the other hand, then there could be a problem. Here are some things that could be causing your dog to drag its butt. 

Anal Glands

Dogs are territorial animals and they let other dogs know where their territory is by marking it.

Most of us are familiar with the more known method of marking territory, peeing on everything. There are other ways and one of the lesser known methods is to leave a scent by depositing fluid from anal glands.

Every dog has two anal glands that excrete a liquid whenever the dog makes a bowel movement. Sometimes these glands get damaged or they become too full because they’re not expressing naturally.

For a dog to express their anal glands naturally, they must have solid bowl moments. If your dog's stool is more on the soft side, the anal glands will not express and may become inflamed.

Dogs scoot to relieve some of the pressure from these glands or to itch their butts because of the inflammation. 

When you can see the glands you should bring your dog into the vet to get them manually expressed. This is only necessary when there is a problem with the glands themselves and they shouldn’t be expressed on a regular basis if there is nothing wrong with them.

Expressing the anal glands regularly or having them done by a groomer can harm the glands by causing damage to the skin of the anal sac. 

Inflamed anal gland 

Anal glands can also become infected if they become too full or have been manually expressed too often.

You can tell if the anal glands are infected if they are red and if not taken care of they could potentially burst.

In the case of an infected glands you should visit your veterinarian. Other signs that your dog may have infected glands is if they are chewing or licking the area, swelling of the anus, or trouble pooping.

Just in case the explanation was not graphic enough, here's a photo to show what it could look like. (I hope you weren't eating!)

Dirty Bottom

A dirty bottom is one of the most common reasons why a dog drags its butt and also has a very simple solution, keep your dog's bottom clean!

If you own a dog that has long hair this can become a bigger problem because the hair collects pieces of poop and other undesirables and it can cause irritation. This is especially troublesome when your dog has diarrhea (eww!).

Especially in longer haired dogs, it's important to keep the hind quarters trimmed up and neat. You don't want to shave fido's butt, but you should keep it neatly trimmed to avoid most of the nasties from collecting in the hair.

If you see that your dog’s bottom is dirty you can use warm soapy water to clean the area. Older dogs have a harder time cleaning this area so you may have to do this more frequently.


Allergies can be very common with dogs and they cause skin irritation in places including the butt area. Golden retriever owners are super lucky (insert sarcastic tone) because our pups are considerably more likely to have allergies than many other breeds.

If allergies are the culprit of your dogs butt scoots, you should see symptoms in other areas as well. The most common areas for itchiness on a dog include their muzzle, elbows, ears, and the rear end. 

Some common allergies found with dogs are flees, food, shellfish, and environmental allergies. You can help your dog by purchasing allergy pills or you can go to a vet and they will tell you specifically what you can do to help your dog. Please contact our vet before giving your dog over-the-counter allergy pills. 


Often times a dogs diet can be what is causing the pain in the rear so to speak. Certain things in their food can make their intestines become inflamed or make their poops irregular or soft.

If your dog is having problems pooping or having unformed, soft, or watery stools you should avoid feeding them any food that has too many grains or other foods that are known to cause inflammation. 

One other thing you can do is switch the types of protein your dog ingests. Sometimes by increasing or switching to other proteins, you can make their poop more firm and help with stomach problems.

If this doesn’t seem to work you can increase the amount of fiber they consume or feed them dietary supplements and digestive enzymes or probiotics.

Another common trait associated with butt dragging is weight. We don't want to fat shame anyone's pooch here but butt dragging is more common with dogs that are overweight.

I'm sure you can guess the cure for this situation... diet and exercise, just like us humans!

Parasites and Fleas

Parasites and fleas can also cause a dog to drag its butt. If your dog has fleas or ticks on its tail area this could cause your dog to drag its butt to relieve the itchiness.

Parasites can also cause itchiness in the rectal area. Some common parasites found in dogs are giardia, hookworms, tapeworms, and other types of worms. 

Some worms, fleas, and ticks can be diagnosed visually. You can tell if your dog has worms if you see proglottids in their stools. These are little pieces of worms that appear to look like grains of rice.

For other types of parasites you need to go to a vet and have a stool sample tested. Some things you’ll notice if your dog has a parasite are increased weight loss, a poor coat, poor skin condition, and diarrhea. 

As always, when in doubt, see a vet!

Tumors and Other Less Common Problems

Tumors and rectal prolapse are rare problems associated with butt dragging but it’s still something that happens often enough that is was worth mentioning here.

It’s hard to tell the difference between a tumor in the anal glands and inflammation of the anal glands but there are some minor symptom differences that you can look out for. Constipation, lack of appetite, excessive thirst, and lack of energy are common symptoms of a tumor.

In either case, a trip to the vet should be on your schedule and they can diagnose the correct culprit.

Another condition that can cause butt dragging is if your dog’s rectum has prolapsed. Rectal prolapse causes their rectal tissue to stick out and can occur after severe bouts of diarrhea or constipation. Both tumors and rectal prolapses require surgery. 

Other Reasons

Yeast infections are particularly common in hot and humid areas and can cause itchiness in multiple areas include the rectal area.

Symptoms of a yeast infection are very similar to the symptoms of an allergy but inflammation of the itchy areas will accompany the itchiness. You can buy solutions at pet stores called hot spot spray to relieve these areas.

And finally, urinary track infection (UTI) is our last possible reason for the old butt scoots. UTIs are not very common with dogs but they can still happen.

Dogs can get UTIs when bacteria comes into contact with the urethra or if their immune system is weakened. Trouble urinating or blood in their urine are common symptoms of UTIs and you need to bring them to a vet.

Did We Miss Anything?

It's your turn! We try very hard to be accurate, informational, and sometimes entertaining. Even so, we sometimes miss something. If you see something we missed that is important to this topic or would simply like to gives a a good old "How Ya Doin", be sure to comment below!

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