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If you’re a dog owner, you know how heartbreaking it is to see your pup in pain. And while your furry best friend can’t tell you what’s wrong, they have behaviors that can clue you in as to what’s going on. If you’ve seen your dog scooting across the floor on their bum or rubbing it against the furniture, it’s a sign that your dog has an itchy, sore bottom. While there are a number of things that could cause this, there are also several solutions to help your canine buddy out.
Disclosure: Acme Canine isn’t veterinary advice and is presented for educational purposes only. If your dog has a medical issue, you should go see your vet or contact a televet.
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There are several signs that your dog has a posterior problem. The following are the most common signs your dog has a sore, itchy bum:
- Scooting across the floor in a sitting position
- Rubbing their bum on furniture and other things
- Biting, licking, and scratching under the tail
- Restlessness and irritability
- Red, swollen skin around the anus
- Signs of abrasion or other injury around the anus
Causes of a Sore, Itchy Bum
Here are the most common causes of a sore, itchy bum:
There are a lot of different parasites that can infest your dog’s GI tract. Some of them can cause itchy, sore bums. There may not be any external signs of a parasite infection other than your dog trying to scratch.
Your dog can cut or scrape its bum by accident. This injury, even if it seems minor, can be incredibly sore or itchy due to where it’s located. Although minor injuries should clear up quickly, there is a danger that they will get infected.
Food allergies can cause rectal itching. This problem can be challenging to spot, although if the problem started shortly after you switched to a new brand of dog food, you should be suspicious.
Rectal tumors could also be the problem. However, while tumors on the outside of your dog’s anus can be easy to spot, it’s impossible to spot them if they’re on the inside. Only a vet will be able to tell you for sure.
Every dog has a small gland on either side of the anus, also referred to as an anal sac. These glands secrete a liquid that helps your dog to poop. Typically, anal glands will empty every time your dog poops. Sometimes, something goes wrong, and the glands don’t empty all the way. Fluid buildup in the anal glands can cause them to become impacted and even infected. When this happens, the glands swell up and turn red.
Some dogs are more susceptible than others to getting an anal gland infection. Breeds that are especially at risk include the:
- Toy poodle
- Basset hound
- Lhasa apso
- Cocker spaniel
- Shih Tzu
Obescity increases the risk of an anal gland issue in any dog, regardless of the breed.
Anal furunculosis is a dehibilitating, progressive inflammatory disease that affects the area surrounding the anus. This condition is far more serious than infected anal glands and primarily affects German Shepherd dogs, although it can be found in any breed.
Treatment is available in the form of drug therapy and surgery, both of which can significantly improve the condition.
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How to Relieve Your Dog’s Sore Bum
At a loss as to how you can help your furry friend to feel better? Let’s take a look at how to best soothe your dog’s sore, itchy bum.
You can relieve your canine companion by putting a warm compress on their bum. Soak a soft, clean cloth in warm water, fold it up, and set it on the floor. Sit your dog on the cloth so that it covers the anus and use gentle pressure to keep your dog on the cloth for several minutes. The warmth will help relieve the soreness and itch for a while, and it may even help the anal sacs to relax enough to fully empty the next time your dog poops (if they’re suffering from an anal gland problem, of course).
Some recommend putting Vaseline on your dog’s bum to relieve soreness and itching. The idea does seem to make some sense. After all, Vaseline would protect any cuts or abrasions from getting infected. It is supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties as well. However, there is no evidence that Vaseline does help with such issues, and your dog would also just be likely to lick it off almost as soon as you put it on.
It also might seem like a good idea to use an antibiotic cream to avoid an infection. This is, in most cases, going to be a bad idea. While your dog will probably just lick it off, just as in the case of the Vaseline, antibiotic creams also contain drugs and other chemicals. These substances may be perfectly safe and healthy when applied topically and slowly absorbed through the skin, but taking them orally is another matter entirely.
Your vet may prescribe an antibiotic cream to help your doggy pal, but keep in mind your vet is an expert. They will either give you a cream that isn’t dangerous for a dog to ingest, or will provide you with special instructions for preventing your dog from licking it.
Besides applying directly to the problem area, there are a few other things you can try to help soothe your dog. If your dog has problems with anal gland infections, try switching them to a high-fiber diet. This will make them poop more often, making it more likely that the anal glands are being emptied regularly. Increasing the amount of water you give your dog and increasing frequency of exercise can help as well.
No matter what you think the cause of the problem is, you need to bring your dog to the vet. Only a vet can accurately diagnose the cause of your canine’s discomfort, and can prescribe any necessary treatments.
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