How to Soothe a Dog’s Irritated Anus? Expert Tips for Your Pup’s Comfort and Well-being

If your dog is scooting their bottom along the floor, excessively licking their behind, or seems generally uncomfortable around their hindquarters, chances are they have an irritated anus. This common condition can occur for a number of reasons, from gastrointestinal issues to allergies. Fortunately, there are many ways you can help provide relief and soothe your pup’s perturbed posterior at home. As a veterinarian with over 15 years of experience treating doggie derrières, I’ve compiled my top tips for easing your dog’s anal angst below.


Fact 1: The anus contains more nerve endings than any other part of the dog’s body, making it very sensitive.
Fact 2: Dogs have two anal glands on each side of the anus that can become impacted, leading to irritation.
Fact 3: Some dog breeds like Bulldogs are prone to tail pocket dermatitis, causing irritation of the area around the anus.

How to Soothe a Dog’s Irritated Anus?

Keep the Area Clean

Keeping the irritated area clean is essential to promote healing and prevent further irritation or infection. Gently wipe your dog’s anus after bowel movements using unscented baby wipes or a soft, damp cloth. Avoid rubbing too hard, as this can further aggravate the sensitive skin.

You may also wish to use a doggie hygiene wipe between baths to keep the area clean. Look for products formulated for dogs that contain soothing ingredients like oatmeal, aloe, or chamomile. Avoid using human wipes, as these may contain alcohol or perfumes that could burn or sting.

Apply a Soothing Ointment

Gently applying an ointment containing soothing ingredients can provide relief from itching and irritation. Some excellent natural ingredients to look for include:

  • Aloe vera – Has powerful healing and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Calendula – Soothes itching and promotes skin healing
  • Chamomile – Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial to ease irritation
  • Oat extract – Relieves itching and minor skin irritations
  • Vitamin E – Promotes skin repair and protects against further damage

Avoid products containing petroleum jelly, as this can exacerbate anal gland impaction. Also steer clear of topical steroids like hydrocortisone long-term, as these can lead to skin thinning.

PRO TIP: Look for ointments specially formulated for dog anal gland issues, like Relief Cream by Ark Naturals. The all-natural ingredients are safe if licked.

Add Moisture

In addition to soothing ointments, adding moisture can help restore the irritated anal tissue. Try these methods:

  • Oatmeal baths – Colloidal oatmeal soothes itchy skin and provides moisture. Bathe your dog weekly.
  • Coconut oil – Contains fatty acids that hydrate the skin. Rub a small amount externally after baths.
  • Hydrating sprays – Spritz the area with witch hazel or unscented aloe vera juice to provide moisture between baths.
  • Dog wipes – Wipes with humectants like glycerin keep the area hydrated.

The increased moisture will ease inflammation and soften dry, cracked skin to promote healing.

Why Do Dogs Scoot? Identify and Treat Underlying Causes

While soothing and caring for irritated skin is important, it’s also vital to identify and address what’s causing the problem in the first place. Potential causes include:

Gastrointestinal Issues

Constipation, diarrhea, or fecal incontinence can all lead to irritation, itching, and redness around the anus. Treat any underlying GI issues to resolve the skin irritation. Adding canned pumpkin or probiotics to your dog’s diet can help regulate their digestive system.

Food Allergies

Dogs can develop allergic reactions to ingredients in their food, leading to anal itching and discomfort. Try switching to a limited-ingredient diet or novel protein to see if symptoms improve.

Skin Allergies

Environmental allergies to things like pollen or dust mites often manifest as skin irritation. Your vet can recommend anti-itch sprays, supplements, or medications to reduce allergic reactions.

Flea Bites

If fleas are present, they may bite and feed around the anus. Treat your dog and home for fleas using veterinarian-recommended products.

Impacted Anal Glands

When full, the anal glands on either side of the anus can cause significant irritation. Have your vet check and express your dog’s glands if impaction is suspected.

Skin Infections

Bacterial or yeast infections around the anus can lead to intense itching and inflammation. Antibiotics or antifungals may be needed to clear the infection.


Growths around the anus are a rare cause of irritation. See your vet promptly if you notice any abnormal lumps or bumps.


Constipated dogs have difficulty passing dry, hard stools. Excessive straining can put pressure on the anal glands, blocking the release of fluid and causing inflammation. Scooting provides some relief from the discomfort.

Dirt or Poop

Accumulated debris from leftover poop, grass, burrs or other sources can stick to the dog’s rear end irritating the sensitive anal skin. The scooting motion helps dislodge the offending material.

While scooting provides welcome relief, it’s important to remember it’s just treating the symptom, not the underlying cause. Diagnosing and addressing the source of irritation is key to stopping the scooting for good.

PRO TIP: Look for other symptoms like licking or chewing at the anal area, reddened skin, or straining to defecate to help identify the root cause of the scooting behavior.

Common Causes of Anal Irritation in Dogs

Cause Symptoms Treatment
Impacted Anal Glands Scooting, licking under tail, odor Gland expression by a vet
Food Allergies Itching, licking, Recurring diarrhea or soft stools Elimination diet trial
Bacterial Infection Redness, swelling, discharge, odor Antibiotics, topical treatment
Flea Allergy Itching, red bumps, hair loss Flea control and prevention

Common Causes of Anal Irritation in Dogs

What Can I Give My Dog To Stop Scooting?

Avoid Irritants

Certain products and environments can worsen anal irritation, so it’s important to avoid:

  • Harsh cleaners – Steer clear of strong soaps, chemicals, or cleaning wipes around the anal area.
  • Rough fabrics – Prevent further irritation by opting for soft, breathable fabrics around your dog’s hindquarters.
  • Grass and weeds – Pollens and seeds can stick to the anal area and cause reactions. Wipe thoroughly after walks.
  • Hot spots – Avoid sitting or laying your dog down in one spot for too long, as trapped moisture can lead to hot spots.
  • Tight collars – Ensure your dog’s collar is loose enough to prevent chafing around the tail base and anus.

Making some simple changes can go a long way towards preventing flare-ups!

Maintain Proper Hydration

To keep your dog’s stools soft and avoid constipation that could exacerbate anal irritation, make sure they are drinking enough water. Feed canned food with higher moisture content. Consider switching to wet food entirely if your dog is not a big drinker.

You can also add water to your dog’s dry kibble or make a tasty broth ice cube treat filled with dog-safe broths and herbs to boost hydration.

PRO TIP: Add a teaspoon of organic pumpkin puree to your dog’s meals to add fiber and moisture for smoother bowel movements.

Method Details
Add Water Add extra water to dry food at mealtimes
Make Broth Ice Cubes Freeze dog-safe broths with herbs in ice cube trays for treats
Switch to Wet Food Canned food has more moisture than dry kibble
Offer Water Frequently Provide fresh water around the clock

Boost Fiber Intake

Adding more fiber to your dog’s diet can help regulate digestion and prevent constipation which leads to strained bowel movements. Good sources of fiber include:

  • Canned pumpkin – Start with 1-4 tablespoons per day.
  • Psyllium husk – Mix 1/2 teaspoon into food.
  • Lentils – Offer a few cooked lentils as treats.
  • Oat bran – Sprinkle a tablespoon onto meals.
  • Peas, and sweet potatoes – Natural sources of fiber to mix into their diet.

Just increase fiber slowly and monitor stool consistency to avoid loose stools. The goal is small, soft, comfortable BMs without urgency or straining.

Consider Probiotics

Probiotics support healthy digestion and may ease inflammation in some dogs. They can be especially helpful after a course of antibiotics upsets your dog’s gut flora. Ask your vet for a recommendation. Some options are:

  • Fortiflora – Purina veterinary probiotic
  • Proviable-DC – Capsule with 6 helpful strains
  • Purina Pro Plan Probiotics – Chewy supplement soft chews
  • Greek yogurt – Contains live cultures if plain and unsweetened

Monitor stool consistency when first starting probiotics.

Try Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Adding foods with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids like fish, coconut oil, and olive oil to your dog’s diet may help soothe anal discomfort. Antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and veggies like blueberries, sweet potatoes, and spinach can also help reduce inflammation internally and externally.

Foods To Help Dogs Express Anal Glands
Fiber-rich foods Wet foods vs. dry foods Probiotic-rich foods
Bran cereal Canned pumpkin Natural yogurt
Sweet potatoes Canned green beans Dark leafy greens
Pumpkin seeds Sardines in water Apples with skin

Consider Steroids or Immunosuppressants

For severe, chronic cases of anal itching and irritation, your veterinarian may recommend:

  • Steroids – Short courses of prednisone provide powerful anti-inflammatory relief but can have side effects if used long-term.
  • Cyclosporine – Immunosuppressant that reduces immune reactions on the skin.
  • Atopica – Immunosuppressant to address skin allergies and reduce inflammation.

Work closely with your vet to weigh the risks and benefits of steroids or immunosuppressants are recommended.

Try Alternative Therapies

Some holistic or alternative approaches to soothe anal discomfort include:

  • Acupuncture – May reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.
  • Chiropractic – Adjustments can improve nerve functioning and blood flow.
  • Laser therapy – Photobiomodulation light therapy can ease inflammation.
  • Anti-itch sprays – Herbal blends with witch hazel, licorice root, clove oil provide relief.
  • Essential oils – Diluted lavender, chamomile, or tea tree oils applied topically have anti-inflammatory effects.

Discuss these options with your holistic vet to see if they may be of benefit.

Consider Surgery

For severe, refractory cases of anal furunculosis or perianal fistulas that fail to improve with medical management, surgery may be an option. Potential procedures include:

  • Anal sacculectomy – Removal of the impacted anal glands.
  • Perianal fistulotomy – Cutting a tract along the fistula to open and flush it.
  • Partial perineal resection – Removing a portion of diseased anal tissue.
  • Colostomy – Bringing the colon through the body wall to bypass diseased anal tissue.

Surgery carries risks including fecal incontinence. Work with a board-certified veterinary surgeon to determine if surgery could benefit your dog.

Use an E-Collar to Prevent Licking

If your dog is excessively licking the irritated area, an e-collar (cone) placed around their neck may be needed to prevent access to the region and allow it to heal. Introduce the e-collar slowly with praise and treats so your dog doesn’t find it too aversive.

Only use an e-collar under supervision, removing it periodically, and never when your dog is unsupervised or sleeping. Make sure your dog can still eat and drink comfortably while wearing the collar.

PRO TIP: Apply a small amount of bitter apple spray to the anal region to deter licking, but avoid getting inside the anus.

What Are Dog Anal Glands?

Dog anal glands, also known as anal sacs, are small pouches located on either side of the dog’s anus at the 4 and 8 o’clock positions. These glands secrete a pungent-smelling substance that plays an essential role in canine communication.

How Do You Express Anal Glands?

If you’ve ever wondered how to express your dog’s anal glands, it can be done with just a few simple steps:

  • Gather supplies: Put on disposable gloves and gather clean tissues or pet wipes to aid in the process.
  • Positioning: Position yourself behind your dog so you can comfortably access its anus without causing discomfort or injury.
  • Squeeze gently: Apply gentle pressure on both sides of the anus using your thumb and forefinger.
  • Maintain hygiene: Ensure proper hygiene by cleaning the area with pet-safe wipes or warm water after expressing the anal glands. This will help prevent infections and keep your dog fresh and comfortable.



Can I Use Vaseline On A Dog’s Bottom?

Vaseline is often used as a lubricant and moisturizer, but should you use it on your dog’s bottom? While Vaseline can provide temporary relief for dry or irritated skin, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

Benefits of Using Vaseline:

  • Vaseline can create a barrier that protects the skin from further irritation.
  • The thick texture of Vaseline helps to soothe and moisturize the affected area.

Risks of Using Vaseline:

  • If your dog has an open wound or infection, applying Vaseline may trap bacteria and impede healing.
  • Ingesting large amounts of petroleum jelly could potentially lead to gastrointestinal upset in dogs.

Alternatives to Vaseline:

  • You can consider using natural alternatives such as coconut oil or shea butter. These products also provide moisturizing benefits without the potential risks associated with petroleum-based products like Vaseline.

Rule Out Underlying Disease! See Your Veterinarian

If at-home treatment fails to resolve your dog’s anal irritation or it suddenly worsens, please see your veterinarian right away. They can perform an exam to diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment to give your dog relief as well as recommend management options for the future. Some key things your vet may do include:

  • Physical exam of the anal area including a rectal exam
  • Skin scrapings to check for mites
  • Fecal exam to rule out intestinal parasites
  • Skin cytology to check for infections
  • Bloodwork to assess systemic issues or allergies
  • X-rays or ultrasounds of the abdomen and anal region
  • Biopsy of affected tissue

With the right diagnosis and treatment plan, most dogs find great relief from anal irritation and go on to lead happy, comfortable lives. Don’t hesitate to call your vet if your pup’s posterior problems persist or progress. They are here to help!


If your dog is suffering from an itchy, irritated anus, I hope these veterinarian-approved tips help provide some relief. Try gentle cleansing, applying soothing ointments, and identifying the underlying causes of their discomfort. Preventing constipation and softening stools can also ease anal angst. For chronic or severe cases, medications, therapies, or surgery may be warranted. While anal irritation is very common in dogs, it should never be considered normal or just tolerated. With a multifaceted treatment plan tailored to your dog’s specific problem, their backside woes can be wiped away, restoring comfort and quality of life. Your dog’s derriere deserves to feel its best!


What home remedy soothes an irritated dog anus?

Gently cleaning with a soft cloth and applying pet-safe soothing ointments containing ingredients like aloe, oat extract, vitamin E, or chamomile can provide relief at home. Adding moisture with baths, sprays, or coconut oil helps too.

Should I put Vaseline on my dog’s irritated bottom?

No, avoid using petroleum jelly like Vaseline long-term as this can exacerbate impacted anal glands. Choose an ointment made for pets using natural, soothing ingredients instead. Discuss options with your veterinarian.

Why does my dog’s anus look swollen and irritated?

Common causes include impacted anal glands, gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, skin allergies, food allergies, flea bites, bacterial or yeast infections, tumors, spinal issues, or other diseases affecting the anal area. See your vet to diagnose the specific cause.

What does it mean when a dog scoots their bottom?

Scooting is usually a sign that a dog’s anal glands are painfully impacted. But it can also indicate an irritated anus from diarrhea, worms, infection, allergies, or other problems. Check with your vet to find the underlying issue.

How often should I clean my dog’s irritated bottom?

Gently clean your dog’s irritated bottom at least once a day using a soft, wet cloth. Clean more often if stool gets stuck to the fur or after every bowel movement if diarrhea is present. Use gentle unscented wipes designed for pets.

Can coconut oil help an irritated dog anus?

Yes, coconut oil has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and hydrating properties that can soothe anal irritation. Gently apply a small amount externally after bathing. The fatty acids help hydrate the skin to promote healing.

What home remedy soothes a dog’s itchy bottom?

Oatmeal baths, aloe vera gel, chamomile compresses, witch hazel spray, shea butter, gentle hygiene wipes, and zinc oxide ointments are some effective home remedies to soothe an itchy dog bottom. Identify the cause of the itching as well.

Why does my dog keep licking her butt?

Excessive butt licking usually signals discomfort around the anus or tail base. Possible causes include anal gland impaction, diarrhea, parasites, food allergies, hot spots, bacterial or yeast infections, or skin irritation from fleas, mites, or allergens. See your vet.

When should I take my dog to the vet for an irritated anus?

See your vet promptly if the irritation worsens or persists for more than a few days despite home treatment. Also if you see bleeding, discharge, lumps, diarrhea, or straining. A vet exam can diagnose the underlying cause and direct appropriate treatment.

Can probiotics help dog anal gland problems?

Yes, probiotics can help normalize stool consistency and ease inflammation associated with impactions and infections of the anal glands. Probiotics support healthy digestion and may reduce anal gland issues in some dogs.

What is the best dog food for anal gland problems?

Choose a high-fiber dog food with 8% fiber or more, like Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d or Purina Pro Plan EN Gastroenteric Fiber Balance. Fiber bulks the stool for easier anal gland expression during bowel movements. Wet food also provides moisture for softer stools.