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Dog Dragging Bottom on Grass

by Sherry
(Laurel, MD)

My 6-year-old female German Rottweiler has been dragging her bottom across the grass. I noticed her doing this a couple of weeks ago but hadn't noticed it since. This morning she did it again.


Her stools have been alternating as of late between hard, normal and soft so I'm wondering if that may have something to do with it, and I would love advice regarding what to do.

I feed her a good quality hard food in between canned food (organic Paul Neuman's). The canned food is a relatively recent addition, so I'm wondering if that could be part of the issue. Thank you!

Comments for Dog Dragging Bottom on Grass

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Aug 31, 2014
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Dragging Bottom on Grass
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

August 30, 2014

Hi Sherry,

The most common cause for a dog to drag its bottom on the ground, is because the anal glands are full. Anal glands in dogs are similar to a skunk's scent glands. (Although, not as large nor as strong a scent!)

There are two glands located on the rectal area at approximately 4 o'clock and 7 o'clock. Cats also have anal glands, but rarely have as many problems as dogs. Usually, when a dog has a bowel movement, the sphincter muscle squeezes the stool out and at the end, also squeezes the anal glands and empties a small amount of fluid onto the stool. The purpose is for 'identification'. When a dog meets another dog, you will notice that they will immediately go to the rear area to smell their anal glands. The 'scent' is distinctive for each and every individual dog. Therefore, when the fluid from the anal glands is expressed onto the stool, any dog that smells the stool will know exactly which dog left it!

If for some reason the anal gland opening is clogged up, (for example, with a small amount of dried stool), then the gland will not be emptied at the time of the next bowel movement. After several days of not being emptied, the gland will become quite full, and rather uncomfortable. You will see the dog scoot on its bottom or try to chew at the rectal area, in an attempt to empty the full gland.

After a period of time, the full anal gland can actually become infected, and form an abscess that can burst, and is VERY painful.

Of course, a change of diet, with loose stool, alternating with hard stool, that may be adhering to her rectal area, may also cause her to scoot her bottom in an attempt to clean off her rectal area. But dogs will usually just lick themselves to clean that area.

Take her to a groomer or your veterinarian to have her anal glands expressed/emptied. For the larger breed of dog, this is not something that needs to be done very often, as large dogs have larger sphincter muscles that function adequately for emptying the glands. Toy and smaller breeds must have their glands emptied on a more 'regular' basis to prevent problems from occurring.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.


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