A dog scooting after grooming isn't an unusual situation. Many dog owners pick up their dogs after being groomed and notice them acting somewhat oddly. Scooting is just a fancy word for describing a dog rubbing his bum on grass or on the carpet or floor. It's a sign of discomfort, and possibly, caused by local sensitivity, irritation, itchiness or pain located somewhere in the dog's rear end area. Dogs should be prevented from scooting as it only aggravates the local irritation, making it often much, much worse. There can be various causes of a dog scooting after grooming and several of them will be listed.
A Case of Clipper Burn
Clipper burn is a term often used in grooming circles and simply means that the dog develops an irritation located in the top layer of the skin as a result of grooming with clippers. This is one of the most common types of injuries that occur in grooming salons. Although, in most cases this is something minor, a clipper burn can cause dogs restlessness and distress.
The area often presents as being itchy and uncomfortable to the dog. Commonly affected areas include areas where the skin is more thin and more delicate such as the belly, buttocks, armpit area and private areas.
When the clipper burn takes place near the dog's bum, the dog will often seek relief by scooting. The dog may also try to lick and bite the area. If dogs are allowed to excessively scoot, lick or bite these areas, it is very easy to cause an open wound very quickly.
Clipper burns can be caused by a variety of factors including dull blades, clipping dogs to close to the skin (as it happens with matted dogs) or with too much pressure. Also, sometimes pre-existing skin conditions such as allergies may be predisposing factors.
Dogs with clipper burns can be helped with the use of some hydrocortisone ointment or cream obtained from the local pharmacy. The cream or ointment can be applied 2 to 3 times daily and can help reduce inflammation and irritation, explains veterinarian Dr. Beall. Avoid though placing the cream or ointment inside the bum or private areas and prevent your dog from licking the area after applying the ointment or cream.
Irritation of Glands Under the Tail
A dog scooting after grooming may do so because the groomer has expressed the glands under the dog's tail. Dogs have special glands under their tails at the 4 0' clock and 8 o'clock position around the dog's bum.
In ideal, situations these glands secrete a fluid material every time a dog has a nice and solid bowel movement. However, not always things go so well.
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If the dog doesn't produce solid enough stools or if the material is too pasty to secrete or if the dog just happens to have smaller gland openings due to its conformation, these glands can get clogged and require manual expression with the help of a groomer or veterinarian/veterinarian assistant. After having the glands expressed, dogs may in some cases develop some sensitivity or inflammation in their bum area.
These dogs can be helped with some cold compresses applied to the irritated area 2 to 3 times a day if the dog allows. These should feel soothing to the dog and help the irritated skin recover somewhat.
If the dog doesn't allow the area to be touched, an alternate method is to fill the bathtub with a small amount of cool water and have the dog sit down in the water for a few minutes. Feeding the dog some treats or kibble in a row while having the dog sitting may help keep the dog sit for longer.
Dog owners should also monitor the area for an anal gland abscess. Normally, the dog's glands are not visible, but should the dog develop an infection in one of the glands, there will be visible swelling under the skin, redness and sometimes a foul smelling discharge and blood. This requires a course of antibiotics from the vet.
External versus Internal Gland Expression
Something worth mentioning is that there are two ways for a dog's glands to be expressed. The way most groomers express the glands is externally, by simply putting a finger on one side and a thumb on the other side of both glands and squeezing together so to allow them to secrete their fluids. Many groomers express the glands at every dog's grooming visit as a standard procedure.
Veterinarians, on the other hand tend to express the glands internally, but putting the index finger inside the dog's bum and squeezing each gland individually using the thumb on the outside. This internal method is preferable due to the fact that it allows the glands to be expressed better and more fully.
It is therefore possible that a dog scooting after grooming may be doing so because his glands were expressed externally and therefore, not fully. Ask your groomer if his glands were expressed during his visit. When a dog's anal glands are expressed externally, this can sometimes cause irritation to the glands, explains veterinarian Dr. Kelly Hill. Generally, it can take 3 to 4 days before the dog's discomfort is relieved.
Importance of Seeing the Vet
If your dog is scooting after grooming, and the behavior doesn't subside or your notice signs of redness and/or infection, it is time to see the vet.
This is to rule out complications, but also to provide the dog relief. Sometimes dogs with inflammation of the area may also find it painful to defecate. Severe cases may require an oral or injectable cortisone medication which is only available from a veterinarian.
A vet visit may therefore be in order if your dog is repeatedly scooting after grooming, your dog may need to have those glands fully expressed, or there may be an infection which may require an antibiotic.