Why do dogs rub their bums across the floor?

Updated July 19, 2017

The sight of your family pet dragging its bottom on your rug may be comical, but your canine is doing it as more than an attention-getter. There are various reasons for this nuisance, including a normal itch. However, your pooch's anal glands may be bothering him.


Some people think their dog drag its bum across floors to sooth an anal itch, but in some cases the dogs may have a swollen anal glands that need to be expressed. The anal glands are located just under your dog's tail and above his rectum. The glands typically expresses themselves when your dog defecates. But in some cases the process is hindered by an infection or irregular bowel movements, and your dog needs help draining the glands.


If your dog continues to drag its anus on floors, it may develop skin tears or a rupture that may lead to an infection. This will cause the anus and the glands to become inflamed, but the damage will not affect your dog's overall health.


Dog groomers and vets can check for swelling of anal glands and alleviate the swelling by expressing the glands. Pet owners also can also check the glands in their dogs by locating them above the dog's anus, just under the tail. If the glands are swollen and need to be expressed, they will feel round. When they are not swollen, they can still be felt, but the shape would not be as prominent and the glands will be hard to find. To empty the glands, a groomer or vet places his thumb at the eight o'clock position on the swollen glands and a forefinger is placed at four o'clock. He then applies steady, gently pressure, causing a fluid to squirt out of two holes, one located on each gland.


Dachshunds and Shih Tzus tend to require more care than other breeds and may need assistance in expressing their glands. Other signs of swollen glands include, but are not limited to, biting and licking of the anus and excessive tail chasing.


If your dog's glands are especially swollen, it may be necessary for your vet to do an internal expression, which involves a veterinarian inserting a finger or instrument into your dog's anus. If your dog has a chronic problem, a procedure to remove the glands, called an anal sacculectomy, may be needed. Some dogs with recurring problems may be placed on high-fibre diets to add bulk to the dog's stool. The pressure applied while the dogs defecates helps express the glands.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Jiquanda Johnson has been writing since 1997. Her work has appeared in "The Seattle Times," the "Detroit Free Press," "The Detroit News," "The Flint Journal," "African-American Parent Magazine" and a public relations agency. Johnson has experience in marketing and works as a public relations consultant. She studies journalism at Wayne State University.