Dog Scooting and Allergies

Scooting is the act of trying to relieve an itch by rubbing or dragging your dog’s bottom along the floor. Dog scooting allergies are quite common in dogs and most dogs will need to be treated for them at some point.

Can allergies cause dogs to scoot?

There are many causes of scooting behavior in dogs and allergies or skin irritation is one of the most common, aside from anal gland problems.

These allergies could be:

  • Environmental i.e. grass seeds, pollen, etc
  • A food allergy or intolerance
  • Flea allergy dermatitis
  • Demodicosis (demodex mite)
  • Atopy (canine atopic dermatitis)

Some causes such as environmental or food allergies can be easily managed by avoiding certain areas during walks and switching to a diet that does not contain the triggers of your dog’s allergy.

Flea allergy dermatitis is caused by an allergy to the saliva that fleas produce. It is quite common for dogs to experience this, with symptoms such as itchy skin, redness, dry or flaking skin and inflammation.

Atopy, or canine atopic dermatitis, is an allergic skin condition that causes itchy skin, sores and hair loss anywhere on the body. Atopy is usually triggered by environmental allergens either absorbed into the skin or inhaled.

The allergens cause an over-reaction of the immune system which is the cause of the skin irritation.

How can I soothe my dog’s itchy bottom?

The treatment options are dependant on the cause of the irritation and the resulting scooting behavior.

Treating the cause will alleviate most of the symptoms, but there are some things you can try to soothe your dog’s itchy bottom.

Topical treatment such as medicated cream works wonders for itchy bottoms as they contain ingredients that target the inflammation. An alternative is aloe vera or coconut oil which can be applied using a cotton pad.

A bath in warm water will also help but be careful to dry your dog completely. Warm, damp skin is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which could cause a secondary infection.

What can I give my dog to stop scooting?

Scooting may soothe the itch for a short time, but it will cause skin sores and hair loss from the friction of the skin against the carpet or hard floor.

You may need to ask your vet for a mild pain relief as well as any treatment for the cause of the itchy skin. Do not give your dog human medication as it is not designed for their metabolism and can cause toxic shock.

Remember to keep up to date with your dog’s flea and worm treatment to ensure this does not worsen their itchy skin. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva, so preventing fleas is important.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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