Dear Dr. Zeus: Sometimes my backside (butt) itches and it feels so good to rub it on the carpet for relief. My humans get very irritated when I do this. What do you think I should do? –Anonymous (and I think you know why!)
Dear Anonymous: First and foremost, you should get to the bottom of why your behind itches (get it?!). If it just itches or you’re shedding or something, go for it. Don’t people know we don’t have hands to scratch our behinds? Try to relieve your itch discreetly, though, preferably when your humans aren’t looking. You might get better friction on sidewalks or driveways (and some types of decks) as they are coarser and can work wonders. I’ve tried trees so I don’t have to scoot but I must not be as coordinated as a bear because I just can’t seem to make it work. Grass is also an option (especially freshly cut or turf like) but, if you are light-coated like me, then you have to worry about those nasty grass stains. Buggers to remove! Also a bit embarrassing to walk around as others think it’s not grass!
If you have a chronic discomfort, there may be more to it. It could be an issue with your anal sacs. The fluid inside these sacs contain pheromones that get expressed when you poop – so other dogs “get the scoop” on age, gender, zodiac sign, what you ate for dinner, etc. If the anal sacs are impacted from inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, you need to get to the vet so they can be expressed (emptied). A family member may try to attempt this by reading articles and watching videos on the internet but I highly advise going to a professional where it will be quick and painless. Nothing quite changes your relationship with a family member than DIY anal sac expression. You will never look at each other the same way again! and you will be the butt of future jokes! Do everything you can to ensure you get to the vet – hide under the bed or corner of the closet (don’t be tempted to come out when they offer treats!) or institute the “iron sit” (just let them keep trying to get you to stand up!). Of course, all the while, have a smile on your face and pretend like you are trying to help. We all know the “puppy dog” eyes. Use ’em! If they are smart, retrieve the phone and deliver it to them – let’s hope they take the hint.
The actual “expression” is … well, stinky – there’s no butts about it. Oooooweeee! Hold your nose! Now you know what the neighbor dog is thinking after your greetings.
Seriously though, if you have continual discomfort, scratch away so you get noticed and taken to the vet for some relief.