The itchy or painful butt is a daily occurrence in any veterinary hospital. Dogs and cats itch it, scratch it, lick it,and scoot on it. There can be many causes, but I’ll talk about the most common ones. If the description fits your pet’s symptoms, you may be able to help the situation.
The most common causes of itchy butt in both dogs and cats are flea bites. Fleas are hard to spot unless you are patient and have really good light. Look for the fast moving dark specks at the tail head, along the back and neck, and lighter belly of both dogs and cats. Fleas especially love to hang round the face, neck, and ears of cats!! You may spot small dark specks between the hairs and against the skin of lighter areas. These small dark specks may be either flea poop or dirt. Flea combs are a great way to look for fleas or “flea dirt” (which is really flea poop). When wet down on a light paper towel, flea dirt will turn red(that’s because fleas are blood suckers and poop blood), where real dirt will just be a brown smudge or black speck. Even if you don’t see fleas, just a few bites can make a sensitive dog or cat very itchy, just like a mosquito bite is much worse for those sensitive people. Rinsing a pet in a white bathtub or sink with the plug in will sometimes help you spot the pesky varmints. Fleas can be part of a pets itchy butt problem or the whole problem.
Many pets have multiple allergies that can cause an itchy butt and getting rid of fleas may or may not completely solve butt problems . Fleas are the most common cause of hind end itching and pretty easily treated. Flea control products need to be used monthly on all pets for at least a few months. Depending on the number of fleas in your house and yard ,the number carried by neighborhood cats and dogs in your area, and the amount of shady moist areas in your pet’s world, you may need to address fleas year round or just during “the season” which is usually warmer weather in the spring, summer, and fall. You can use topical flea control, oral flea control, or natural flea control(rinsing or bathing pets , diatomaceous earth on floors and carpets ,and nematodes in the yard to eat baby fleas, garlic in dog food, lemon spray repellent) . Some dogs and cats may be very sensitive to the topical chemical on their neck and back, or may become nauseous with oral flea control. You may have to try different products for one that works best for your budget, lifestyle, and your pet’s sensitivities.
Many people like myself are not as comfortable feeding or applying pesticides(flea control) to their pets constantly. I’m not so sure it’s healthy for them and I don’t want pesticides all over me or my family either! Feeding more oils and adding raw meat to the diet may help natural defenses kick in. For millions of years dogs and cats repelled fleas with a secretion by their sebaceous glands of the skin. The low amount of fat and healthy oils ion the diet may have crippled that effective system. ( That’s why I add healthy oils and feed cooked and raw meat to my pets …it’s more natural!!)Putting a very small amount of garlic flakes or garlic may also really help in dogs. I have read and used 1/4 clove per 30 pounds a couple times a week (for dogs only). Fish oil capsules (1-4 daily depending on the size of pet) and brewers yeast as well as other natural ingredients may help the skin repel those invaders!
The incidence of mast cell tumors has skyrocketed in the same period of the advent of topical flea control. I have no data, just suspicions. That’s why natural prevention (better diet with more oils), using a better oral product(comfortis or trifexis), or natural repellents and treatments appeals to me.
Irritated or full anal glands may cause licking, scooting, and straining. These glands may become inflamed and full from eating food, treats, or chews containing wheat or other allergens. They also may be full because the plumbing is too small for proper drainage. Toy breeds were bred to be small and may have faulty pipes, just like my garbage disposal outlet pipe that gets plugged. Too little fiber in the diet may not massage the stinky stuff out the gland. Adding 1 tsp-tbsp of pumpkin to the diet may help. Restricting the common allergens may help an irritated gland clear up.It may take one of the following meats (chicken, duck, fish, venison, rabbit, kangaroo) with potato if a pet is really allergic.
A cat that strains in the box or won’t use the box may have sore anal glands that are really full. I wouldn’t want to use the box if it hurt every time I tried to use it. Cats that are straining may act like they have a bladder infection or urinary blockage, when it’s really a sore butt!
Food allergies can also cause an itchy butt, scooting, or a small amount of red blood in the stool. Always feed your pet hypoallergenic treats, chews, and pill pockets. These are the most common cause of an itchy, sore, butt. Biscuits, chews, or food containing wheat, beef or less common allergens like chicken and rice may cause a soft stool, itchy butt, scooting, and other medical problems like red blood in the stool, seizures, bladder issues, ear infections, and infections of the skin.
That’s why I wrote both the books I list on this website, Dog Dish Diet and Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet. If you feed your pet better hypoallergenic ingredients, more healthy oils, and less calories, they may recover from so many medical issues. In fact the number of visits per pet has decreased in my veterinary clinic due to my consistent nutritional counseling. That saves my clients lots of money and prevents needless suffering for their pets. Check the description of my books out at
Heres a video on Itchy Butt problems:
Check out temporary home remedies to help with the itching: