Itchiness and a red or swollen bottom are probably more common among dogs than you might think.
It’s a really uncomfortable situation for dogs and they tend to lick and bite their rear end constantly.
Infrequent itching and licking of the area shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
Repeated bouts of a rectal itch that last for longer periods of time, on the other hand, need to be investigated and treated appropriately.
The obsessive licking is just the start; the situation becomes even more unusual when you notice the dog scooting his behind across the floor.
Such behavior can be noticed both indoors and outdoors.
Depending on the cause of the itchiness, there are some natural remedies that can easily alleviate your dog’s symptoms.
Cases that require a change of diet or lifestyle require a more persistent regimen and can take days until the situation turns for the better, but you’ll get there.
Why Is My Dog’s Rear End Swollen?
There are numerous reasons why your dog’s anal area is swollen, red, and itchy and among them are overgrown hair, grooming, fecal contamination, diarrhea, allergies, flea infestations, worms, and breed predisposition.
In rare cases, a tumor can be behind the swollen bottom, but no reason to panic.
Try to find the cause and get it checked out by your vet if you’re unsure.
The symptoms are definitely signaling a medical issue with the pup.
However, sometimes the problem isn’t that big and can be easily taken care of.
My Rottweiler seems to thrive on a balanced raw diet and I’d recommend considering diet changes for sensitive dogs or allergy sufferers.
Here are balanced raw meals for those interested. It’s tailored to every individual, super easy to prep, and USDA-certified. Sourced from the USA, apart from lamb and venison which are grass-fed and grass-finished.
Here’s a cheaper raw option to still feed a raw diet if you want to tackle your dog’s rear-end issues.
Overgrown hair is a common cause of a red and swollen dog bottom, especially among long-haired breeds.
When the owners let that hair overgrow, some of the fecal content the dog excretes gets stuck on the hair.
Prolonged contact of the fecal content with the skin around the anus makes the skin become inflamed.
Clipping the excess hair and thoroughly cleaning the area afterward will make the problem disappear.
Grooming issues can also cause a red bottom for your dog.
Clipper burns are the negative side of the grooming routine.
Starting as red lines on the skin they can progress to serious skin inflammation.
Too dull or too hot blades used on sensitive areas such as the anal area can cause them.
They appear a few hours after your dog has been groomed.
Luckily, clipper burns only last temporarily and anti-inflammatory ointments and an Elizabethan collar (a shame cone) can help your dog get through it.
Does your dog struggle with diarrhea?
Fecal contamination of the rear end when a dog struggles with diarrhea can produce skin infection and itchiness.
The low pH in diarrhea burns the skin making the pup bite himself thus infecting the place and worsening the symptoms.
What about allergies?
Whenever a pet is scratching and biting excessively one can suspect allergies and hypersensitivity. Dogs experiencing food allergies vomit and have diarrhea along with itching.
Environmental allergens like pollen or house dust produce the same symptoms, but without digestive issues.
More often than we like to admit, hypersensitivity is the result of flea infestations.
Obvious bald and red patches caused by flea infestations in dogs are referred to as FAD (Flea Allergic Dermatitis).
Similar to mosquito bites, flea bites also result in tiny areas of allergic reactions.
The proteins inside flea saliva make the dog’s body start rebelling.
Although the most prevalent area for FAD patches is the skin above the tail, it can appear anywhere on the body.
Scooting is sometimes a signal that your pup hasn’t been regularly dewormed.
Most vets that encounter a scooting dog would first check the deworming history and even give medication for tapeworms and hookworms just in case.
While medication may be required in cases with symptoms, coconut oil and rumen can help with natural deworming.
Breed predisposition can be a reason why some dogs have swollen behinds more often than others.
Breeds like English Bulldogs or Pugs that deep skin folds and rudimental tails are prone to chronic skin infections.
The bottom of the skin folds and the area of the skin trapped beneath the non-functional tail are moist and greasy with barely any air passing through.
Such conditions are perfect for bacteria and yeast overgrowth.
An overgrowth producing a serious infection is very painful and uncomfortable for the dog.
Less frequently the problem with the dog’s bottom can be a result of tumors (rectal and perineal), ulcers and fissures, and perineal fistulas.
Probably the biggest contributor to all cases of rear-end itchiness in dogs is anal sac disease.
They are also referred to anal abscesses or anal glands disease.
Abscess on Dog’s Bottom Symptoms
Where are the dog’s anal sacs and what exactly are they?
The anal sacs are a pair of organs located between the external and internal rectal sphincter.
They are positioned near the opening of the anus at 4 and 8 o’clock.
Even though some people call them anal glands, they actually aren’t glands.
The anal sacs are, in fact, anatomical sacs with sweat and oil glands inside them.
The glands produce a foul-smelling liquid that dogs use to mark their poop.
What do dogs look for when they sniff each other’s bottoms? This exact smell.
How it works (and how abscesses are caused).
The anal sacs are emptied when the dog defecates because of the pressure of the sphincters. Stress can also contribute to gland expression.
When they aren’t expressed, the ducts narrow or shut completely, trapping the discharge which becomes thicker and thicker.
A completely shut anal sac with thick and bacteria-filled liquid is actually an abscess.
As long as the ducts are open and the liquid passes out, anal sacs disease won’t develop.
Why do some dogs have this?
There isn’t an exact known cause why some dogs have problems with the anal glands more than others.
Some suspect that issues with the anal glands are caused by chemical and drug exposure, chronic diarrhea, deficiency of muscle tone (sphincters and bowel), obesity, and poor nutrition.
Approximately 12% of all dogs have a chronic form of anal sacs disease.
Symptoms of anal sacs disease in dogs include:
- Scooting off the rear end
- Licking the anal area
- Biting the anal area
- Restless behavior
- Foul odor
- Swelling, irritation, redness
- Difficulty sitting
Conventional diagnosis and treatment: Anal sacs disease is diagnosed with a simple physical exam by the vet.
Regular check-ups are painless so they should be a part of every trip to the vet.
The conventional treatment would depend on the progression of the condition.
It’s usually enough for the vet to empty the glands manually.
More complicated cases require flushing of the ducts and the sacs with an antiseptic solution.
Dogs in severe discomfort need to be put on pain-relief medications and concurrent infections will require treatment with antibiotics.
The chronic character of anal sacs disease and the frequent reoccurrence are the main reasons why some vets advocate for complete surgical removal of the glands.
How to Treat an Abscess on your Dog at Home
The abscessed sac will appear as a large and firm ball under the skin.
Luckily, there are ways to treat or at least alleviate the pain at home.
What you can do to treat the abscess is applying hot compresses on the skin every 4-5 hours. Repeating the procedure for the next 3-5 days could help reduce the pain and the swelling caused by the abscess.
The cloth you are going to use can be dipped in a calendula mixture for an additional anti-inflammatory effect.
The mixture contains a teaspoon of sea salt, 8 drops of calendula tincture, and warm water.
Hold the cloth until the cloth cools down.
Silica 6C in the regiment of two times a day for a period of 1 week can aid your dog in expressing the anal glands without mechanical stimulation.
Silica is a homeopathic remedy that helps the body get rid of foreign materials (ex. pus).
Assuming that lack of fiber in the diet plays a big role in the development of the disease, adding a fiber broth to your dog’s diet can contribute to better muscle tone.
There are recipes to prepare fiber broth at home and use it on daily basis.
Fiber promotes a strong push of the anus and the surrounding structures during defecation.
That’s why a diet containing enough fiber can also help with gland expression.
If you were thinking about switching to a raw diet this is probably the best time to do it.
Raw food almost certainly produces firm stool.
While passing the firm stool out the anal sacs are exposed to stronger pressure and the liquid easily flows out.
The only problem with raw food is that the size of the excrements can be small so you will need to add some fiber in the form of fruits and veggies and build up volume.
Regular exercise is one of the most important things to keep your dog healthy and happy.
Exercise is especially important in this case because strong dogs have strong abdominal and rectal muscles for extra pressure on the glands.
Don’t forget that total body movement promotes bowel movement both in humans and dogs.
Home Remedy for Dog Itchy Bum
You can easily prepare a few homemade solutions that will work magic for your pup’s inflamed and itchy behind.
The first solution is to steep several tea bags containing chamomile, green tea, and calendula in a pot and let the tea cool down.
Afterward, spray the affected area several times a day.
The solution is especially helpful for dry patches as a result of clipper burns or allergies.
A 50/50 mixture of water and apple cider vinegar can be used for itchy skin. It also helps with skin infections caused by yeast.
Chilled coconut oil rubbed onto infected skin also has antifungal properties and can additionally help with insect bites (FAD) and eczema.
Oatmeal paste is easy to prepare using just ground oats and warm water.
Spreading the paste on itchy skin provides relief for a prolonged period of time.
Above all, make sure your dog is free of internal and external parasites.
Even though you need conventional veterinary treatment for internal parasites, you can get rid of fleas with homemade solutions.
The most popular recipe involves using:
- 4 cups (1L) of vinegar
- 2 cups (500 ml) of water
- 1 cup (250 ml) of lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) of witch hazel
The mixture effectively kills live fleas and the treatment should be repeated a few times more in an interval of 7 days.
Clear Liquid Coming From Your Dog’s Bum
Many owners notice a small amount of clear liquid coming out of their dog’s bums.
This isn’t a thing to be concerned about.
It usually means that your dog’s anal glands are properly expressed.
Especially if the liquid is accompanied by a foul smell, you know where it came from.
Mucus coming out of the dog’s anus on the other hand is deriving from the colon.
The large intestines produce it in order to lubricate the stool.
More mucus from the dog’s bum than usual can indicate a possible issue with the colon.
When the watery discharge is accompanied by drops of fresh blood you should seek veterinary attention.
Let me know if you were able to treat or at least alleviate your dog’s swollen bottom or overall itching rear end.Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutrionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.