Dogs have two glands just inside the anus on either side which are filled with a very foul-smelling material. Small amounts of this material are normally released when your dog has a bowel movement or gets frightened or excited. Some dogs are “anatomically challenged” when it comes to natural evacuation, and this material can build up on the inside. This can be uncomfortable, causing the dog to rub his backside on the floor (“scooting”) in an attempt to release the fluid.
Unfortunately, the scooting generally does not provide the needed relief, and will continue until your veterinarian or groomer can manually express the anal glands. Some dog owners are game for learning how to do this, but it can be a rather messy endeavor. It’s never a good idea to let the problem go unattended because bacteria can build up and result in an anal gland abscess, which can be extremely painful. There are other problems which can cause your dog to scoot, but anal gland issues are by far the most common.
Other dogs are very “gifted evacuators,” leaving stinky calling cards at the drop of a hat (usually at an inopportune moment). Sometimes adding fiber to the diet helps to provide bulk to the stool, which helps keep the glands empty and “unarmed.”
Most dogs don’t have problems with their anal glands, but if your dog does, you’ll know!