Bottom dragging, worms and anal glands Dr Stephen Cutter B.V.Sc(hons)
Most dogs do it occasionally but if your dog repeatedly drags their backside across the ground then it probably has one of two problems. It either has worms or its anal glands are full. Worms can be easily dealt with by giving your dog an all-wormer tablet. Make sure the product you use covers tapeworms as they are the most likely cause of bum dragging. To find out which product is best for your pet, speak to our friendly reception staff for advice.
Full anal glands can be a little more difficult to deal with. Anal glands are two small sacks of glandular tissue on either side of a dogís anus which produce a very strong-smelling secretion. The smell from anal glands is used by dogs to identify one another. This is what dogs are checking when they sniff each othersí rear end.
Anal glands are usually emptied when the dog defecates but sometimes they can become blocked. The blocked glands become uncomfortable for the dog so they try to squeeze the glands themselves by dragging their bottom along the ground. If they donít succeed the glands continue to fill becoming more and more uncomfortable. Dogs with impacted anal glands may also chew or bite at their rear end, trying to relieve the pressure. Impacted glands can become infected and form an abscess. Fluid from normal anal glands smells pretty bad to begin with, but the smell of infected glands can be overwhelming.
While it is not one of our favourite jobs, our vets can empty your dogís anal glands when they are blocked. If they are infected antibiotics may also be necessary. In severe ongoing cases surgery may be necessary.
Some individual dogs have recurrent trouble emptying their anal glands; it is not known why this affects some dogs and not others. In these cases, getting us to express them regularly is the best way of keeping your dog comfortable. Early treatment is best and will make you and your dog much happier!