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What to do with a dog with a very sore bottom

If they’re not sniffing each other’s, they seem to be licking or pooing with their own. Bottoms are a constant obsession with dogs, but problems can arise that they are unable to remedy on their own. Worms can cause itchiness that will lead your dog to drag its bottom along the ground in a faintly amusing, but fairly unhygienic way. However, the presence of worms shouldn’t cause your dog too much soreness. Dragging its bottom along the ground could be a sign that your dog has problems with its anal glands and this is usually accompanied by soreness as well.

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If your dog seems in distress and indicating it is a problem with its rear end, take a look at your dog’s bottom to see if it’s swollen. If it is, its anal glands may have become blocked or infected. Two anal glands lie on either side of the anus and secrete a liquid that can be interpreted by other dogs. The liquid is usually squeezed out when the dog does a poo, but sometimes the gland becomes blocked.

Hands on

You can have a go at unblocking your dog’s anal glands yourself, but otherwise take it to a vet to have it done for you. If you want to take the job on yourself, use a pair of rubber gloves and have a paper towel or sponge ready for some fairly unpleasant liquid. Hold your dog’s tail up and press down either side of the anus at the four and eight o’clock positions. Press up towards the anus like you’re milking the glands – which is essentially what you’re doing.


There is a chance that abscesses have formed in the glands after they became blocked, in which case your dog will need to go to the vet. If you are successful at milking the glands but the pain continues this may be what has happened.


There will be a reason why your dog has been unable to empty its anal glands itself, so try to find out what it is so you can prevent it happening again. Some varieties of dog are commonly affected, including some of the smaller breeds. However, it is likely to be a result of poor diet. If the stool is too soft it will not be able to apply enough pressure to the gland to “milk” it. Equally, if your dog is constipated and not pooing regularly enough the glands will not be emptied enough. Add fibre to your dog’s diet to help healthy movements.

More treatment

You can ease any soreness temporarily by applying the same skin creams they sell to treat sore bottoms on babies. Use this as a stop gap before finding and treating the cause, but try and make sure your dog doesn’t just lick it off.

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About the Author

Robert Macintosh is a full-time journalist based in Northern Ireland. He has accumulated eight years’ experience since 2005, writing for magazines, newspapers and websites in various countries. Macintosh has specialised in politics and entertainment. He has an honours degree in social anthropology, an NVQ level 4 in newspaper journalism and an AS Level in photography.

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