No Butts About It!


Article By: Janet Gray, CMG  |  Blue Sky Pet Spa, Madison AL

BUTTS. Everyone has one. Big ones, little ones, skinny ones, um, not so skinny ones…but we are here today to talk about the FURRY ones. As in…have you looked at YOUR dog’s butt lately?

At Blue Sky Pet Spa, where I spend a good part of my life, with dogs of all shapes and sizes, I’ve come to the conclusion that most clients tend to have no idea of what goes on ‘back there’. I’m going to touch on a few topics of client education which arise frequently as a result of dogs having ‘bottom’ issues.

Scooting on the floor or ground: This can be caused by several reasons. The old wive’s tale that a dog that is scooting has worms isn’t too far-fetched. Tapeworms, which are caused by eating a flea that is infested with tapeworm larvae, can break off into segments and crawl out of the dog’s anus, causing them to itch, and, well, want to scratch.

Excessively full anal glands can also cause scooting, as well as licking the area. What are anal glands, you say? Anal glands are two little sacks of fluid which reside on each side of the anus. They empty a few drops of anal gland fluid each time a dog squats to poop, providing the poop is firm and well formed. (Well-formed firm poop comes from feeding a proper diet, but that’s a subject for another article). Dogs that are couch potatoes or dogs who have ‘soft-serve’ poop tend to have anal glands that are overly full. Sometimes the anal gland fluid thickens and becomes hard, and the anal gland ruptures, forming an abscess. We received a call from an irate client a few weeks ago who was certain that one of our groomers had ‘cut’ her dog under the tail during grooming. She brought the dog back in upon my request, and when I inspected the area, I found a little hole under one of the anal glands which was leaking fluid. It seems that the area was disturbed just enough during the bath to uncover the abscess. A visit to the vet was in order, and of course, the groomer was not responsible.

Scooting can also be caused by the occasional clipper sensitivity after grooming, but usually clears up after a day or two. The area feels a little scratchy, and for a furry pet that hasn’t been groomed in awhile, feeling the air on their skin is enough to make them want to scratch the itch.

Another thing to watch for are growths and tumors: As your dog ages, you might see the occasional lump or bump develop on their skin. Most of these are harmless fatty tumors or warts, but it’s a good idea to have your vet check them out during an exam. In between visits to the vet, it’s a important to give your dog an exam of your own on a regular basis. When doing this, don’t forget to check under the tail. I pointed out to the owner of a toy poodle that I groomed last month a little ‘bump’ under the tail that looked like a pimple. It turned out to be a cancerous growth that her vet was able to remove. Since it was caught early, it hadn’t spread.
Groomers usually notice anything unusual or different since we see most of our clients on a regular basis, but for the dogs who don’t need a haircut, it’s up to the pet parent to catch these changes.

Last, but not least, for owners of Collies, Shelties, and other furry breeds who need regular grooming, lift that tail to make sure the way is clear for the poop to happen. These breeds in particular tend to collect hair and fecal matter under their tails. If you’ve ever wet a dog in the tub with a matted, poopy rear, then you know what I’m talking about…phewww!!

So…the next time your adorable dog takes you for a walk and you look at that cute little wiggly butt in front of you, remember to lift that tail and check it out!

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