Does Your Dog Drag It’s Rear End?

Dogs drag their rear end because it itches. There are three main reasons for this problem:
  1. Anal Disease
  2. Tapeworms or Pinworms
  3. Perianal Fistula

Anal Sac Disease:

ASD is by far the most common anal disorder of dogs. ASD has no age or sex predisposition. ASD is caused by the clogging or infection of the anal sacs located on each side of the anus. The anal sacs are a musk gland related to the scent glands of a skunk and produce a small amount of dark, foul smelling, (to us) musky liquid.

The dog has two anal sacs and viewing the anus from the rear the glands are located at five and seven o’clock. The anal sacs are scent glands. In dogs they produce an odor that identifies the individual and marks the stool to establish territory. That is why dogs greet each other by sniffing at the rear.

The anal sacs should empty from pressure of stool passing through the anus. They also can be emptied by forceful contractions of the anal sphincter—something that may happen when a dog is frightened or upset. When they do not empty or the opening gets blocked, they fill and hurt under pressure. That causes them to suddenly drop and drag their rear end.

Clinical Signs: The signs of ASD are related to pain and discomfort. Recent illness or excessive weight can contribute to anal sack issues:
  • Licking and biting of the tail head region (tail biting)
  • Rubbing Anus on the ground (scooting)
  • Jumping up suddenly while at rest as if pricked by a pin
  • Periodically staring at the anal area


3 Stages:
  1. Anal Sacculitis is characterized by pain and discharge from the glands. The discharge is thin, greenish-yellow or creamy-yellow secretion. In severe cases flecks with blood can be seen.
  2. Impaction is usually characterized by a thick pasty brown or grayish dehydrated brown secretion. The opening blocks and the gland can only be emptied with great difficulty.
  3. Anal sac abscess will be pushed through the skin. Once it busts through the skin, dogs will have a discharging sinus or abscess. The body will push the issue out and scar the sinus shut resolving the issue.


Treatment for draining an anal gland abscess:
  1. Clean area - Clip hair for ease of cleaning the area. VET BASICS® Chlor 4 to clean and disinfect the area works well.
  2. Topical flushing - Peroxide the area and use an antibacterial solution like VET BASICS® ChlorConazole Flush to treat.
  3. Internal antibiotic that penetrates tissue is needed. Clindamycin is the best at tissues abscesses – 10 day treatment is best.

Tapeworms or Pinworms:

Tapeworms are common and segments crawl around the rectal area making it itch. Pinworms do the same. This crawling and itching causes dragging of the rear end on the ground for relief. Tapeworm segments and pinworms are often seen with the naked eye.

Treatment: Deworming with common dewormers that cover pinworms will resolve this issue. Combination dewormers with Praziquantel are the best choice here. You should see resolution in a few days after treatment. Repeating in 30 days will assure tapeworms are cleared.

Perianal Fistula:

A Perianal fistula is a difficult disease and has multiple draining tracts surrounding the anal area. Fistulas appear ulcerative in appearance are painful which causes rubbing of the rear end. It is thought to have an autoimmune component and is not well understood. The lesions are chronic, difficult to resolve and progressive in nature.

Treatment: A mild condition can be managed with hair removal and perianal cleansing using an antiseptic solution. Using Prednisone for two weeks with or without antibiotics followed by a maintenance dose of Prednisone has had some success. Surgery may also be an option though once removed they often reoccur in another area of the rear end. This condition is best managed with the help of your Veterinarian.

  1. Always trim hair from the area around the fistula before starting therapy!
  2. Internal antibiotic is needed early. Penetration of tissue is important and Clindamycin is the best at tissue abscesses treatment. Treat for two weeks minimum.






The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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