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5 Reasons Why Dogs Sniff Their Own Bums + 7 Dangers

Why Do Dogs Sniff Their Own Bum

A doggo smelling other hound’s behind?

Pshh. Not a big deal.

We know it’s their way of getting to know each other. 

But what if they’re doing it to themselves?


Well, now, that’s a big question.

Keep reading to discover:

  • What makes dogs sniff their own booty.
  • Whether it’s due to curiosity or a more serious problem.
  • 3 tips on how to care for a pooch with this ‘smelly’ behavior.
  • 7 dangers you need to watch out for if they keep smelling their bum.
  • And a lot more…

Why do dogs sniff their own bum?

Dogs sniff their own bum because they might have painful anal sacs that are blocked, are coping with stress or calming themselves down, or they’re startled and intrigued by their own fart. It can also be due to itchiness, discomfort, grooming purposes, or they just like to smell their behind.

5 reasons why dogs sniff their own bum

#1: Blocked anal sacs

“- Hmm. Something smells fishy…

– Sorry. My butt!” your pooch says in a guilty-looking face.

Don’t worry, doggo.

It isn’t your fault.

The foul smell might have something to do with their anal sacs.

And this can also be the reason why they sniff, lick, and scoot their behind.

So, what are those?

Canines have two sacs containing anal glands inside their bums.

They release a brown smelly liquid that contains all their information. It’s kind of like their own ID or Facebook account. And it’s also used in marking territories. 

Those fluids are usually drained while they defecate. As they also help in lubricating the stool. (This is why they sniff each other’s behinds and poops!)

However, when they’re not fully emptied, they can be blocked. Making dogs feel uncomfortable. As the area around their rectum may also turn red and sore.

“Oh, no. What to do?”

Don’t panic.

If they’re clogged, they can be expressed by gently squeezing them by hand.

Can I do it by myself then?

If you haven’t done it before, better bring your pooch to the vet instead.

Because if it’s not done correctly, it may cause trauma to the utricles. And when left untreated, it might result in even more dangers.

#2: It’s their way of coping up

Dogs Sniff Their Bum As Their Way Of Coping Up

Excessive sniffing?

This can be a sign of stress in dogs.

It might be their way of distracting or calming themselves.

To avoid uncomfortable situations, anxious Fidos will smell the ground or air all of a sudden. As well as their private parts, and even lick them.

It’s similar to when we use our phones or read a book to avoid awkward scenarios.

They may also:

  • Yawn.
  • Lick their lips.
  • Avert their eyes.

If your dog shows any of these, find out what triggers their anxiety. And avoid or put it away from them.

#3: They’re gassy


What’s that?”

After farting, some dogs might also check and sniff their bums.

Others will have a confused face, trying to figure out what just happened.

Why do they do that?

Well, no one knows the exact reason.

But, it could be that they’re startled.

It’s so sudden. And, of course, Fidos don’t understand what’s going on in their body.

They must have felt it. And smelled different kinds of odor in one blow. So, they inspect their behind and investigate.

What causes them to be gassy?

It can be due to three things – diet, swallowed air, and health problems.

There might be changes in their meals. Or, they ate great amounts of dairy, spices, fatty, and indigestible food.

Fun fact: A study was made to know more about dog farts. And it’s revealed that hydrogen sulfide is behind their stinky smell. It’s a highly toxic gas and is mainly found in sewers.

Reading tip: Why do my dog’s farts smell like rotten eggs?

#4: Discomfort

Fidos may also smell their rear end because it might be itchy or in pain. And this may cause them to bark or groan if it’s too much.

They’ll also lick, bite their tail, and rub their bum on the floor. 

But what causes it?

There are many possible reasons:

  • Fleas.
  • Worms.
  • Skin irritation.
  • Allergies/sensitivities.
  • Trauma in anal sacs.

#5: Grooming purposes

If it comes with licking and it’s not done aggressively, they could be checking out the area. Seeing if it’s clean or not.

Although it’s rare, VCA says that some dogs can groom their bum.

But only if it’s needed. Because usually, a firm poop will just fall off without any remnants.

So if they had a sticky or loose stool. They might feel the need to tidy up a bit.

#BONUS: “I can’t help butt smell”

For some unexplainable reasons, dogs can also sniff it because…

They feel like doing it.

It could be that they love their own scent, it’s a habit, or they’re just bored.

Some will be all curled up while peacefully smelling it to their heart’s content.

And it should be fine. As long as they don’t act weird and look nervous, and there are no changes in their behavior.

7 dangers when dogs sniff their own bum

#1: Infection

This could happen if their clogged anal sacs are left untreated.

Due to the thick dried fluids, some parts will become swollen. And this can cause great pain for dogs.

You may also notice bloody or yellowish pus coming out of their sacs.

So go to your local vet at once for medications, as well as for cleaning their utricles.

#2: Anal abscess

Infection of the anal glands can also lead to ‘abscess’ if not taken care of immediately.

“What is it?”

Since the glands are blocked, liquids, along with blood, will build up in their sacs.

Creating a swelling and painful abscess on either one or both sides of their butt.

In this case, expressing fluids by hand will not work. They might need surgery to drain them. And to get rid of the infected flesh.

Caution: If this isn’t managed right away, it can burst. The infection may spread so fast. So bring them to the pet clinic asap.

#3: Trauma in their anal sacs

Your Dog May Have Trauma In Its Anal Sacs

This will be the result if a person hasn’t correctly expressed a dog’s sacs.

Or when they’re drained unnecessarily many times.

Those utricles are sensitive. And they can be injured if not squeezed in the right way.

In this case, the sacs will be swollen. Or worse, damaged.

Caution: Although ’emptying’ may look easy, one should never attempt to do it on their own. Ask guidance from a professional and only perform it when needed.

#4: Tumor

Canines may also sniff their rear end because of a developing tumor.

They would feel discomfort as there’s a growing mass around their anus.

According to Merck Vets, it can be harmless or dangerous.

What are some signs to watch out for?

  • Diarrhea.
  • Painful excretion.
  • Blood in their feces.

If you notice any of these in your Fido, please consult an expert.

Caution: A malignant tumor might spread throughout their body. And for it to be removed, it’ll need surgery. Along with chemo and radiation.

#5: Allergies

Loose bowel movements can also cause dogs anal problems.

Because of the watery stool, there will be a lack of force to fully drain the sacs. Leading to blockage.

And what should also be blamed for this?

The food they consume.

Although every product might cause allergy, experts say the most common allergens are:

  • Soy.
  • Gluten.
  • Chicken.

And aside from itchy skin, they may also show these:

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Aggression.
  • Weight loss.
  • Less energy.

Their diet could play a role too. Especially when it lacks fiber, contains grains, or has only one or two kinds of protein.

Note: If changes in their food must be made, consult your vet first. As abrupt alterations in it can affect their digestion. So it should be planned accordingly to their needs.

#6: Parasites

Another reason for their itchy bum is…

The presence of parasites. OMG!

This is also more likely if a dog is vomiting or suffering from diarrhea.

Just bring your Fido to a vet first to test their stool. And they’ll give some medications to get rid of them.

Caution: If no action has been taken, this could result in anemia or malnutrition.

#7: Other diseases

Like in humans, passing gas occasionally in dogs isn’t a big deal.

But, if it becomes excessive, it might be something else.

And many illnesses can be connected to this, like:

  • Neoplasia.
  • Swelling of intestines.
  • Gastrointestinal disease.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Acute and chronic intestinal disorder.

Caution: If your Fido produces stinky gas frequently, it’s best to call your vet for help.

3 tips on what to do if your dog sniffs their own bum

#1: Butt’s up, doc?

If your pooch shows any of the symptoms above, visit your vet right away.

In some cases, they might only need medications and rest to recover. While more serious ones will require surgery.

Also, other Fidos may have frequent compacted anal sacs. So, it’s best to have them checked regularly.

#2: Give them a proper diet

“You are butt you eat.”

The right food can make a healthy bum.

So if they have diarrhea, it’d be nice to give them more fiber.

Just an extra of it in your dog’s meals (e.g., canned pumpkin) may help in making their poop firm.

By doing this, their sacs have higher chances of being emptied. And it’ll prevent their condition from getting worse.

But, if they have sensitive stomachs, PetMD also recommends a diet:

  • Low in fat – for easier digestion.
  • With probiotics – for the presence of good bacteria.

Based on research, these, along with fiber, will significantly improve their bowel movements.

Note: Before changing their meals, talk to a nutritionist or your vet about this matter. Because if it’s sudden, it may also cause an upset stomach in your pooch.

#3: Maintain a healthy weight

Oh, not you particularly. But yeah, it wouldn’t hurt if you do. 🙂

But I’m talking about your dog…

Keeping your pooch fit should be one of the main priorities.

As too much weight can add more to their pain. And it could also lead to many diseases.

Especially in anal sacs issue. Canines who have more mass have weaker butt muscles. And this makes it harder for the sacs to drain.

“What’s the ideal weight for dogs?”

It’ll depend on their size, age, and breed.

For that, you may try this online tool to compute it on your own. Or, better yet, have them weighed in a clinic.

Along with a proper diet, giving them enough exercise will keep them fit and strong.

So, take them for walks, play games, and other fun physical activities.

These aren’t only for helping them stay in shape. But also for strengthening your bond.