What to do when dogs embarrass their owners

Many dog owners have experienced that moment of embarrassment when, sitting in your living room with guests or your in-laws, your dog chooses that moment to ‘scoot’ across the floor dragging his bum along the carpet!

Many people believe this behaviour is due to worms, but it is actually far more likely to be a different but entirely treatable problem – anal sac disease.

The dog has two anal sacs positioned below their tail on either side of their bottom. They release a smelly fluid when the dog goes to the toilet, acting as a scent marker. This distinctive scent marks a dog’s territory and identifies your pet to other dogs.

Problems can occur if the ducts (narrow tubes) leading from the sacs don’t empty properly and become blocked, which can lead to infection. This can cause irritation and pain in the bottom area, and many dogs will sit down and drag their bottom along the ground or lick the area excessively to try and alleviate some of the discomfort. Often owners think this means their dog has worms, and although this can sometimes be the case, blocked anal sacs are more often the culprit.

Any dog that’s showing any of these signs needs to be checked out by their vet as soon as possible. With simple blockages the vet can empty the sacs there and then, which often brings about instant relief. However, if the anal sacs are infected they can be very painful and may need to be emptied under sedation or anaesthetic. The dog may then need further treatment, such as a course of antibiotics and any necessary pain relief.

If, however, it turns out that worms are the culprits after all, your vet can recommend the best and most effective treatment for your pet to tackle any infestation.

PDSA is on a mission to educate on pet wellbeing and is delighted that funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is helping the charity to continue this work. More pet care tips at www.pdsa.org.uk