Dogs perform a number of behaviors that can seem a little odd to us; chasing their tails, rolling around in the mud, and even eating poop! But what does it mean when your dog keeps looking at his back end? Is it anything to worry about? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know and consider.
So, why does my dog keep looking at its back end? Dogs will look at their back end frequently if they are experiencing pain or discomfort in or around the area. This can be caused by certain diseases, allergies, and lifestyle factors such as an inappropriate diet or the remnants of any recent toileting.
It may be something that goes away naturally.
It may be something that you need to help your dog with.
Or, it may even require a little investigation and the support and advice of a vet if you are concerned, or this does seem to go on for a while.
So let’s continue to explore the potential reasons before delving into the appropriate responses for each one of them!
Why Does My Dog Keep Looking At Its Back End?
There are many reasons why your dog could be looking at his back end. Sometimes it is harmless and will naturally resolve quickly; other times, it may even require treatment. Either way, it often signifies that something is bothering him.
Although there are numerous medical causes for your dog looking at his behind, it is worth noting that this behavior should not be confused with looking at or chasing or biting the tail because this is a fun activity for dogs!
It is especially common in puppies as they learn about their own bodies and explore the world around them.
If you notice your dog is chasing his tail constantly, then it could be a sign of boredom.
So, make sure you invest in plenty of stimulating toys and set time aside for regular walks. Otherwise, your dog is simply being silly and enjoying life!
Nevertheless, and with this in mind, here are some of the more common medical issues that could be causing your pooch to repeatedly look at his behind:
Anal Sac Disease
Impacted anal sacs are fairly common in dogs and are caused by the inflammation of the ducts around the anus.
Dogs use their anal sacs to secrete chemicals that act as territorial markers, which is why dogs love to sniff each other’s behinds!
However, when these sacs become inflamed and plugged, the secretions can become an ideal medium for bacteria to grow.
So, it is important to get your dog checked out before he catches any nasty infections.
Anal sac disease can also be pretty painful for your dog when he passes feces. Signs to watch out for include:
- Reddened and swollen areas around the anus
- Excessive or unusual vocalizations during a bowel movement
- Scooting or dragging the behind along the ground
- A noticeable change in behavior. Your dog may even become more snappy or aggressive due to the pain
- Excessive licking and biting at the base of the tail
It can seem comical when your dog repeatedly looks at his back end and then suddenly lets out a huge fart!
In most cases, excess gas is not a problem as long as it can be released. However, a build-up of too much gas can cause your dog some discomfort.
So, what causes excess gas in the stomach?
The main culprit is usually food.
If your dog eats something that has gone off, or he is living on a high-fat diet, then unwanted gas can build up.
Allergies and obesity can also cause excess gas. If your dog appears to be releasing gas more regularly or seems uncomfortable, you may want to consider changing his diet.
But make sure this is done in increments over the course of a few weeks because a sudden change in diet can also cause tummy upsets!
Alternatively, you may want to consider investing in a slow feeder if you suspect he is gobbling up his food quickly because fast eating can cause your dog to swallow excess air.
Constipation is incredibly uncomfortable for dogs, but it can often be difficult to determine the cause.
If your dog only has the odd bout of constipation, it is probably nothing to worry about.
However, if it becomes more frequent, then it may have become a chronic issue that needs addressing. Some of the main causes of constipation are:
- A low-fiber diet
It’s always worth taking your dog to the vet for a check-up if you are concerned.
If chronic constipation is left untreated for too long, it could develop into constipation.
This occurs when the feces in the colon become dry, hard, and impacted, making it very difficult for your dog to empty his colon.
Signs to look out for include lethargy, continuous straining with no results, and a loss of appetite.
If the condition is serious, your dog may even start vomiting.
An Allergy Or Injury
Yes, dogs can suffer from allergies, too, just like people!
So, if your dog is constantly checking his behind and scratching, he could have developed an allergy or come into contact with an irritant.
The most common culprits for allergies tend to be pollen, fleas, dust mites, and dander.
However, dogs can also develop allergies to certain foods, such as dairy or wheat.
We all know that itching is a common symptom of an allergy, but there are other signs to watch out for, including:
- Swelling or hives around the infected area
- A runny nose
- Excessive licking or biting
If you suspect your dog has an allergy, it may be worth starting a journal to record every incident so that you can begin to determine the cause.
You should also seek the advice of a vet just to be on the safe side!
Alternatively, your dog could have simply injured himself in the garden, which has caused a wound on his behind.
Make sure any wounds are cleaned thoroughly using warm salt water to prevent any infections from developing.
Tapeworms are nasty little critters that can cause significant discomfort to your dog.
Dogs can pick up tapeworms from numerous sources, including undercooked meat and fleas, so you should always be vigilant.
Tapeworms will look like wiggling grains of rice around your dog’s anus or in fresh poop but don’t be fooled – these parasites can grow as long as 11 inches when they reach adulthood!
You may notice your dog scratching or dragging his backside along the ground to try to ease the irritation.
It is worth remembering that tapeworms can be fatal for young puppies as they can cause anemia and dehydration.
So, if you suspect your puppy has tapeworms, you must get him to a vet immediately.
Tumors are more likely to affect older dogs.
Certain breeds such as German Shepherds and Rottweilers also seem to be predisposed to developing cancer.
The majority of tumors are usually benign, but it is always worth getting them checked out just in case.
Intestinal tumors normally develop in the colon or the rectum and can be diagnosed by a rectal exam.
Symptoms your dog may exhibit include constipation, blood in the stool, and excessive thirst if kidney failure is present.
What To Do If Your Dog Keeps Looking At Its Back End?
If your dog repeatedly looking at his behind could be a sign of a medical issue, it is best to seek the advice of a vet to be sure. The most important thing to do with all pets is to keep an eye on them so that you can swiftly notice any behavioral changes or abnormalities. It is also essential that you offer your dog a healthy balanced diet to prevent issues from developing later in life, as many ‘backend’ issues can be caused by an inappropriate diet.
Check & Optimize Diet
It can be hard to determine the best food to give your dog as there is so much choice out there, especially with the growing popularity of fresh and raw diets.
Dietary requirements can also vary between breeds.
To help you out, here is a lowdown of the different types of diets for dogs:
This is the most traditional diet for dogs, but the ingredients can vary between brands, so do your research!
The best kibble diets are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. They should also not have any added sugar.
The benefits of a kibble diet include a lower risk of dental disease and easy storage compared to fresh diets!
Raw diets have grown in popularity in recent years, but some experts still believe that they can contain bacteria and parasites if not prepared properly.
These can make your dog ill.
However, meticulously prepared raw diets can lead to healthier skin and bones as it is much closer to a dog’s natural diet in the wild.
Fresh Food Diet
Yes, it can take an age to prepare a meal of chicken, peas, and carrots for your dog every day, but it does have its benefits.
Fresh food diets can increase heart health, reduce the risk of constipation, and increase energy levels in your canine companion.
However, you must be careful about the ingredients you add, as excess salt and sugar can wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive system.
If you are unsure, it is best to buy fresh diets from a reputable retailer.
Many of these will deliver gourmet dog meals straight to your door!
Keep Them Hydrated
Whichever diet you choose to go with, you must make sure that your dog also has constant access to clean water because dehydration can also cause stool problems.
Check & Clean The Area
Although this is a little disgusting, it could even be that something has irritated their behind.
It could be something they have sat on or even the remnants of a recent poop that is causing itchiness.
So, you may want to check and then clean their behind with an appropriate product.
Or you may even need to shave or cut away fur/hair in the area where poop can cling.
This may actually remove the sauce of itching or other discomfort, and your dog may actually stop looking at their behind altogether.
Consult The Vet
If you suspect your dog is suffering from food-related digestive issues or allergens, then you need to determine the cause and take action.
More serious issues, such as tumors, will need specialist care, so you will need to talk to a vet to work out the best options for your pup.
If your dog is frequently looking at its behind, then something is wrong.
What is wrong, however, can range.
It can range from something simple and easily resolvable all the way through to requiring an overhaul of diet or even medication.
So the best thing you can do here is to monitor your dog closely.
Look for signs and patterns.
If you are still not sure, consult with a vet and ask for them to run a few checks and tests.
And in the meantime, do consider their diet and toileting.
Make sure that you are feeding them a proper diet, and be careful with any tidbits and snacks.
Oh, and make sure they are clean down there!
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.