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Play & wellbeing

Butt scooting and spinning in dogs

A dog spinning or scooting on his butt is anywhere from vaguely humorous to watch (if no serious medical condition), through to being a sign of a serious medical condition or problem. It’s considered bad pet parenting to laugh and do nothing about it.

If you do need to laugh at a dog spinning around, then YouTube provides for you here. After you’ve had your chuckles. Come back and have a look at some of the reasons why your dog may be doing this.

Get the chuckles out of your system first, and then learn about why dogs scoot on their butt below. Ugh, we’re easily amused us humans. Some of those dogs were clearly in discomfort. And boy oh boy, were a lot of them overweight too (that’s another story for another day).

Why does my dog scoot and spin on his butt?

  • Spinning could just be a temporary itch in a difficult to reach place if just an occasional and not repeated behaviour. Probably not much cause for alarm there.
  • Dogs have anal glands that under normal conditions help with the excretion of faeces. If they are infected or blocked, they can become painful and swollen.
  • The dog could be trying to pass something in its stool that is “stuck” (bone, string, garbage – we know all manner of things can get ingested by dogs).
  • After a groom many owners report that their dogs are unusually sensitive in the anal area and will scoot or spin.
  • Intestinal worms, allergies, flea bites, mosquito bites. It’s often said that scooting means worms – it’s not a myth, but, that issue is overstated.
  • Your dog could just be “wiping” after passing a stool.
  • You may not have heard about a tail pocket. It’s often found in dogs with folding or “wrinkled” skin like some bulldog breeds and some pugs.

In my dog’s case he will spin on his butt only when he’s getting close to needing another groom. If the fur around the rump is getting a bit long occasionally a stray piece of poop (sorry, gross) will cling and he knows for sure it’s there. Because of a lacking opposable thumb and not being able to reach back there – he spins to clean up.

Now this can go one of two ways. It can have the intended effect and the posterior is clear and clean – this is usually helped along if he chooses to do the spinning on a clean (not wet) grassy area. Unfortunately, the other way it can finish up is by doing the spinning on the footpath area which just results in mooshing and mashing the poop into the fur. On those days we head home early from walk to take an unplanned clean up with wipes or bath.

I am very grateful that my dog’s spinning just results in aesthetic issues for me to deal with. Don’t just laugh at your dog though, and seek advice from your vet to take the appropriate course of action if necessary.