My dog is quite a performer.
He has a couple of actions that I find rather amusing. One of which is to do a playful bow, spring up in the air and run away.
However, there are some dog actions that we need to be more concerned about. And one of them is when your dog sits abruptly rather frequently.
What would make a dog sit this way?
A dog sitting down abruptly could mean that it is feeling some level of pain, discomfort or itch in its butt area. This can be caused by your dog’s anal glands, parasites, joint issues, lethargy and other underlying health issues.
In this article, we will be taking a more in-depth look at what is causing this behavior in your dog. And more importantly, what you can do about it.
Why Does My Dog Keep Sitting Down Suddenly?
It can be quite a comical sight when your dog walks into the room and then suddenly plonks itself down on its butt.
Some dogs will even drag themselves on their butt across the floor or carpet. This is also known as scooting. Your dog is unable to use its paws to scratch its painful or itchy bum bum hence this is the best way.
As endearing as it might seem, it does signal that something isn’t quite right with your dog.
Here are some possible reasons.
Infected Anal Glands
How do dogs greet each other?
By sniffing each other’s butt.
It doesn’t mean that your dog has some weird fetish but because of the anal glands. Dogs are led by their acute sense of smell. And how they interact with the world is through smelling and sniffing.
The dog’s anal glands are located on the lower side of the anus. It contains an oily brown liquid that smells musky, almost like fish oil.
Anal sacs have a few purposes:
- For territorial marking
- A database about a dog’s sex, age, health, etc
- Helps with bowel movements
- Readiness to mate
This is why dogs will attempt to sniff another dog’s butt when they meet to try and gather as much information possible about the other canine.
For all you know, it might have been something we humans did as well during the prehistoric era but have evolved to handshakes and visual cues.
Thank goodness for that.
It is common for the dog’s anal sacs to be infected or impacted due to a poor diet or health problems. Healthy anal glands express or empty themselves over time without any human intervention.
Your dog’s breath can also start to smell like metal when it licks the infected anal sacs.
Swollen anal glands can start to become a painful condition for your dog. Your dog will start grooming and scooting more often, leaving a trail of brown smelly liquid.
Ticks And Fleas
Ticks and fleas are blood-sucking parasites that are always looking for a new host to feed on like your dog.
Unfortunately, dogs are more prone to getting ticks and fleas due to them spending more time outdoors as compared to other pets. These parasites like to live in grassy and wooded areas. When dogs go for walks and enter such areas, there’s a chance of infestation.
Dogs can also get ticks and fleas from other dogs when they play together.
Ticks and fleas do more than just drain your dog’s blood. They can also spread diseases and other internal parasites to your dog. Ticks can spread lyme disease to our pets while fleas can transmit intestinal parasites like tapeworm when ingested by the dog.
Some dogs can have a strong adverse reaction to bites from fleas and ticks which can lead to lesions and skin infection. If your dog suddenly sits and starts scratching and biting itself aggressively, it might due to a sudden flea bite or tick bite. Some dogs will have their tail tucked between their legs and acting weird due to the discomfort caused by these parasites.
It is easy to spot ticks and fleas on your dog’s fur or skin by doing a manual inspection. When it comes to intestinal parasites, they can be harder to identify.
Internal parasites are worms that live in your dog’s body like their heart or stomach. In this case, we will be talking about intestinal parasites like tapeworms and hookworms.
Do note that heartworms that live in your dog’s heart can be deadly if left untreated. A popular medication for heartworms in dogs is called Heartgard. Heartworms are transmitted via the bite of an infected mosquito.
Many dogs get infected by intestinal parasites at some point in their lives. Puppies can get it from their mother’s milk when feeding on it.
Most dogs get these worms by ingesting food, soil, fecal matter or water than has been contaminated by these parasites.
These worms leech off the nutrients in your dog’s stomach. The lack of nutrients can take your dog from a healthy weight to being underweight.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Has Worms?
If you notice small white segments that resemble grains of rice in your dog’s poo or vomit, those particles are from the tapeworm. Sometimes, you can also spot it around your dog’s rear end.
For hookworms and roundworms, a stool sample is required for the vet to take a look under the microscope.
These parasites can make it uncomfortable when your dog poops which cause your dog to suddenly sit and start scooting.
Other signs to look out for:
- Weight loss
- Bloated stomach
- Blood in stool
These worms do not belong in your dog’s body and need to be eradicated.
If you have never heard of this phrase before, you are not alone.
And I don’t mean getting a dog sitter to look after your puppy while you are gone. And definitely NOT to see on a puppy in any way or form.
Puppy sitting refers to the way a dog sits. It is called ‘puppy sitting’ and not ‘dog sitting’ because only pups are supposed to sit this way.
They will suddenly sit with their rear legs to the side rather than under their hips. You tend to see this sitting style more often in dogs that are younger than two years old.
This is because younger dogs are more flexible and have joints that are more nimble. As the puppy gets older, it will start to sit with its hind legs under its hips.
Like humans, many dogs start to get health and joint problems as they get older. One common joint problem in dogs is canine hip dysplasia.
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint like our shoulders. This condition causes the hip joint of a dog to become unstable. Standing or walking for your dog will become painful and difficult.
Many dogs develop knee joint problems as they get older too. More so if they have been very active from a young age and do a lot of running like Greyhounds.
If you find your older dog just sitting down on its butt while walking or standing, it could be a sign of hip dysplasia.
There are some dog breeds that are more prone to canine hip dysplasia like the Golden Retriever, Pugs, Bulldogs, St Bernards and Labradors.
It can happen in dogs as young as five months old and there’s no cure for it.
Have you ever woken up from a night’s sleep and not been able to move your neck or arm properly?
I know I have.
This could be due to a nerve impingement that happened while you were sleeping in some weird posture.
The same thing can happen to dogs.
A nerve impingement or pinched nerve is when excess pressure is placed on a nerve. It can feel painful to your dog and make it seem less mobile and uncoordinated.
This can be caused by something minor or a more serious medical condition that is affecting your dog’s nervous system.
Dogs that have been involved in accidents can also suffer from this condition.
A dog that is injured or has an existing injury might be trying to sit more than stand. Especially if the injury is to its legs or paws whereby putting pressure is painful.
If your dog keeps sitting down abruptly while working or you notice that it has been limping, check your dog’s legs or paws to see if there’s any swelling or injury.
Your Dog Is Feeling Tired And Lazy
Even the most energetic of dogs can be feeling too lazy or tired to move. If you are looking to take your dog out for a walk after it has spent some time playing, your dog might just drop its butt to the ground as a sign that it doesn’t want to move.
Dogs that are older tend to be ‘lazier’ than their younger counterparts.
So cut your senior dog some slack if it wishes to chill in front of the TV rather than take a walk in the park.
There are some dog breeds that tend to be less enthusiastic about playtime.
- Great Danes
- St Bernards
- Bassett Hound
If you are someone that prefers to be indoors more than outdoors, these dog breeds would be more suitable for you.
How Can I help My Dog?
As a dog owner, it would be beneficial to you and your dog to know what to do when your dog has one of the above conditions.
Express Your Dog’s Anal Glands
If your dog’s anal glands have been impacted or infected, dragging its itchy bum across the floor or carpet can damage the sensitive and soft skin around the dog’s anus.
How Do I Know If My Dog’s Glands Are Full?
If you notice that your dog has been leaving a brown stinky patch wherever it goes or it has been biting its butt and scooting, your dog’s anal glands are full and need to be expressed.
If your dog’s anal sacs are full and it can’t express them, it’s best to get your dog’s anal gland examined by the vet.
Can I Express My Dog’s Glands Myself?
Trust me when I say that attempting to express my dog’s anal sacs has to be one of the grossest things I’ve experienced.
You might be fine with it but unfortunately, I have a weak stomach.
The good thing is, this isn’t something that you need to do often. Healthy dogs can express their own anal sacs.
Some dogs only need it done a couple of times a year while others more frequently if they have chronic anal gland problems dogs.
If you are fine spending the time and money bringing your dog to the vet or groomer to get it expressed then by all means please do. It might be a good idea for the vet to do a check just to make sure the anal sacs are healthy.
Feed Your Dog A Good Diet
Impacted anal glands can be caused by a poor diet. If you are feeding your dog dry food or kibbles, please stop.
Dry food is really bad for our pets and should not be allowed.
Dogs are natural carnivores which means that they should be eating a high protein diet from animal meat. They don’t require any carbs in their diet.
My dog has always been on a raw meat diet and he thrives on it. At the very least, your dog should be fed good quality canned food.
Ticks And Fleas Treatments
Ticks and fleas are common parasites that are found on dogs due to their time spent outdoors. The good thing is that although ticks and fleas are a real menace, they can be quite easily terminated.
There are a number of tick and flea treatments out there that you can use on your dog.
Nexgard is a tick and flea treatment that comes in tablet form. It comes in a few dosages which are dependent on your dog’s weight.
All you need to do is give your dog one tablet a month till the infestation clears up.
Nexgard contains an active ingredient called afoxolaner that kills parasites living in your dog’s hair or skin.
After taking the tablet, it can start to kill the fleas within 8 hours and ticks by 48 hours.
Do note that Nexgard is not safe for puppies younger than 8 weeks and weighing less than 4 lbs. It has not been evaluated on cats that are pregnant or breeding.
Flea And Tick Shampoo
There are a number of flea and tick shampoos that can be used on your dog. These aren’t like your regular dog shampoo as they’re medicated.
They are meant to be used once every 1-2 weeks. Your risk irritating your dog’s skin if you use flea shampoo too often.
Flea Comb And Dawn Dish Soap
A flea comb is a simple fine-toothed comb but can be very effective in removing fleas from your dog. Dip the comb in dawn dish soap and start combing through your dog’s hair to remove the fleas.
The dish soap will suffocate and kill them quickly.
Fleas like to form a nest near the base of your dog’s tail so I would focus more on that area. You will need to brush your dog a few times to get rid of as many fleas as possible.
To remove the ticks from your dog, the best way is with a tweezer as they tend to be harder to extract.
Similar to fleas and ticks, these intestinal parasites can be easy to get rid of provided you treat your dog early.
However, unlike ticks and fleas, these intestinal parasites live within your dog’s body and require medication to treat.
A popular and effective deworming medication that can be used on dogs is called Heartgard Plus. It comes in dosages that tie in with your dog’s body weight so make sure to get the right one.
Heartgard Plus helps to treat heartworms, tapeworms and roundworms. The active ingredients in Heartgard plus are ivermectin and pyrantel pamoate.
The aim is to kill off the larvae of these worms to prevent them from maturing and breeding which increases the number of worms in the dog.
Once dead, these worms will either be reabsorbed back into the dog’s body or expelled via its poo.
It is made by the same company that makes Nexgard and it comes as a single dosage in a tablet form. Each dosage is good for up to 30 days and is to be given monthly till the infestation clears.
Take Your Dog To The Vet
There are some of the above causes that require immediate veterinary care like nerve damage, canine hip dysplasia, joint issues and injuries.
The vet would have to take an x-ray to scan to further assess your dog’s condition. Sometimes, surgery might be required to resolve the problem.
Your vet might recommend some supplements for your dog if it is having joint problems. Usually fish oil or Omega 3 fatty acid is good for dogs with such conditions.
My Dog Keeps Sitting On His Bum After Grooming
If you find your dog sitting on its bum after coming back from the groomers, chances are your dog had its anal sacs expressed and emptied at the groomers.
It could also be that the groomer might have trimmed the hair around the dog’s butt and it feels weird for the dog.
Your dog is feeling some slight irritation in that area and is trying to relieve the sensation by sitting and scooting.
Not something that you should be overtly concerned about unless it lasts for a few days.
Should I Wipe My Dog’s Bum?
Given that your dog’s butt area get can get rather dirty from playing outside or with fecal matter, it is good practice to try and keep that area as clean as possible.
You can wipe your dog’s bum using wet wipes for pets. It is best to not use wet wipes for humans as they can contain ingredients that can irritate your dog’s skin.
If your dog has long hair, make it a point to keep the fur around your dog’s rectum short for easy maintenance.
It isn’t always a serious issue if you notice that your dog has been sitting on its bum quite a lot. It could be a phase or an underlying health condition.
The first thing that you should do is to give your dog a once-over for anything out of the blue. Look out for any signs of swelling, bleeding, redness or parasitic infestation.
Even if you can’t find anything that spells trouble, I think it would still be good to bring your dog to the vet for a check-up just in case.