You may have seen your dog put his buttocks on the ground and move forward by leaning on his front legs, thus dragging his butt on the ground. This sign is called the "sled sign" and occurs when there is anal pruritus or irritation in the anal or perianal area. In what cases does this sign occur, what are the conditions that can be suspected and what can be done?
When a dog experiences anal or perianal pruritus, he will tend to drag his buttocks on the floor. This can cause further irritation or even sores in this already inflamed area... It's a vicious circle.
The causes of this pruritus can be :
The presence of intestinal worms
Some worms, located in the distal part of the large intestine, can cause itching in the anal and perianal area.
We therefore advise you to deworm your dog at least every 3 months with a versatile and adapted dewormer prescribed by your veterinarian.
It is also important to treat your dog against fleas, because they can transmit the dog tapeworm, an intestinal worm.
An enlarged anal gland
The anal glands are small glands located on either side of the anus. They secrete a liquid that covers the stool when it is passed. This liquid has a very strong smell, it is a kind of olfactory marker belonging to the dog.
Sometimes during intense stress, the dog can empty these glands in one go.
If the liquid thickens or if the outlet of the gland is blocked, it is called anal gland engorgement. When they are engorged, the glands are often irritated, inflamed and itchy and the dog will try to relieve himself by rubbing his peri-anal area on the ground.
It is important to check the anal glands when signing the sled and to empty them manually.
If the inflammation persists, it may develop into an anal gland abscess. If an infection appears, an abscess, surgery may be necessary.
Your veterinarian can teach you how to regularly drain your dog's anal glands yourself if they tend to become engorged frequently.
Also check to make sure there is nothing stuck under the tail or around the anus of your dog: sometimes he can drag his butt on the ground if he feels a branch or a grass hooked somewhere in the hair of this area.