Alright girls... can we talk?
Let's put it right here on the table.
Scooting. You know... the drag the butt thang across the carpet.
It's bad enough when you have to handle the discomfort for yourself, but the stares and comments of horrified spectators add insult to injury. From the looks we receive, one would surmise that they are completely ignorant of WHY we scoot on carpets. And, as you know, it is not a behavior limited to dogs. Although they would rather be more discreet, cats earn their share of frequent flier miles in rug scoots, as well. I'd like to say I've observed my humans do much the same, but the closest I've seen to this activity in humans involved a Billy Blanks workout tape.
Scooting, I understand, is generally caused by one of two reasons: clogged anal glands or... I can scarcely say it... worms.
Bag the worm thing, I KNOW I'm clean. Rather, it must be due to the... forgive me if this catches in my throat... "clogged anal glands." The sad thing about this is that we dogs can't help this affliction. We really could use some assistance relieving the pressure that builds in these glands. I've read that ANY well-meaning human can do the job. However, here's where I draw the line, for obvious reasons.
To these humans I say: It's bad enough we dogs need some help, but please don't bother if you need a road map to do the task. The following is informational background posted on the Internet to educate humans about how to relieve a dog's anal sacs.
Please be forewarned that the following content is neither for the squeamish nor faint of heart:
Most dogs are not too concerned about having their anal sacs expressed but we do have some that resent it -- even though they are trying hard to express them on their own by scooting and rubbing on the rug or ground. It probably is uncomfortable for the pet to express these sacs when they are very full or difficult to express.
If you want to try this at home it is often possible to do so. The anal sacs are located at about the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions if you imagine the area around the rectum to be a clockface. It is usually possible to feel them under the skin at these points when they are full. In some dogs the sacs can be pretty far to the side of the rectum but most are about 1/4th to 1/2 inch to the side. If the glands are pressed against each other by pinching the rectal area together they will usually express. It is hard to get them as empty as the vet can by doing this rectally but most pets tolerate it better so it can be done more frequently. Don't push so hard that you rupture an anal sac, though. That leads to significant problems.
If you succeed, you should see an exudate exuding from the ducts. It can vary from liquid to a thick paste and may be gray, tan, brown or black and be normal. Blood or other colored exudates may indicate a problem.
Whoa, baby! Thanks, but NO thanks, Dr. Mike!
Certainly, this procedure is a tad more involved than one might think. That understood, wouldn't you agree that a certain degree of empathy is required to do the job? I mean... do we want just ANY human to do this? I strongly doubt that someone - who five minutes ago glared at me in horror and shouted, "DON'T DO THAT ON THE PERSIAN!!" - would handle my fragile posterior with the utmost of concern. More importantly, we dogs do not want clods manhandling our bodies when there are risks involved.
Somewhere in all of this is a dog's plea for simple dignity. We reserve the right to have qualified caring humans attempting this delicate procedure. Ultimately, I say we dogs reserve the inherent right to "express" ourselves whether it be the classic unprovoked bark in the night, or a good saucy scoot on the carpet.