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Why Does My Dog Constantly Lick Their Butt?

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Our pup’s story about her butt licking and what we learned that may help you and your pup

Sweet Potato would lick her butt quite often with the occasional scooting. No changes in her lifestyle other than eating a healthier diet after we adopted her.

I started taking Sweet Potato to the vet for monthly anal gland expressions thinking this would resolve the butt licking and it did for a while. Then she started doing this more often. Back to the vet, we went but this time to check for tumors or masses. The vet gave us a clean bill of health followed by this statement…feed her more fiber.

The new food regimen included a spoonful of sweet potato with breakfast and dinner. I boiled an organic sweet potato until soft removed the skin and scooped a spoonful for each meal. Additional fiber would come from some of her favorite snacks such as berries, celery, carrots, green beans, or cucumbers. Her absolute favorite fiber treats are the Sam’s Yams Bichon “Fries” which you can purchase here (#CommissionsEarned) The additional fiber in the Sweet Potato’s diet made her poop bigger and most often an extra poop a day. This seemed to work and then it happened again. More licking and scooting.

Is There An Allergy Issue?

After a visit to the dermatologist, everything checked out perfectly. No irregularities, polyps, or masses. Her anal glands were small, symmetrical, and easy to express(no pain) with normal anal gland secretion. The dermatologist says this:

“It can be hard to differentiate from anal gland problems vs. backend itch. It is not as consistent with allergy or an itch if Sweet Potato has relief from backend licking after having a bowel movement or after having her anal glands expressed. That pattern is more consistent with an actual irritation of the anal glands themselves. I like your idea of keeping a log of her licking and the association with her bathroom schedule.”

Logging Your Pet’s Habits

Logging your pup’s habits is so helpful for you and your pup’s vet. We logged every lick, every scoot and followed the event with a walk. It all boiled down to Sweet Potato having to go for another walk so she could poop. Keep in mind she goes on a lot of walks during the day. Sure enough, the licking and scooting have pretty much stopped. If we see Sweet Potato lick her butt or start scooting, we know it’s time for another walk. Now Sweet Potato poops at least four times a day. I equate four poops to a healthy diet. How else do you get the toxins out of your body? The Dermatologist called a couple of days later checking on Sweet Potato which was very nice, BUT…

The Dermatologist Felt It Was Not Common To Have Four

bowel movements a day. I disagree. I would love to see the research on dogs who poop as often as our dogs and their lifestyle.

I feel the more consistent bowel movements are signs of good health. We now have three dogs and they each poop four times a day. Not once have they ever had a loose stool or diarrhea. Just saying.

True Story

I met someone who had taken their dog to the vet to have her anal glands expressed because he said: ” I noticed her increasingly licking her bottom. The vet expressed her glands which were super full but didn’t sedate her so she was hollering.” Later that day, he noticed her bottom was weeping and super stinky. The next day he took his dog to a different vet. The vet diagnosed the situation stating the R gland had ruptured. Definitely take notice if your dog is scooting. As a result, she had to go on pain meds and antibiotics twice a day

Scent Glands Fill Up and Then They Empty

Anal gland material causes dogs to say “what is this smell, who are you, where are you.” There are some dogs who need more help with expressing their anal glands. Depends on their anatomy if they need expression.

Interesting Fact

The anal sacs (or glands) are the modified oil glands just inside the anus at the end of the colon. They are usually emptied with a bowel movement or from your dog’s normal activity. How often we need to “help” a dog empty the glands is very individualized, but usually not necessary on a regular basis unless there is a problem or associated pain.

Wild animals (like skunks) will empty the anal glands as scent marking. The amount of anal gland material that is emptied on your dog’s bowel movement is partially why dogs are interested in smelling another dog’s bowel movement or backend. Do not overlook your dog’s obsessive licking or butt scooting, get it checked out.

P.S. I hope you found my story helpful. Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below or email


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