My Dog Has Diarrhea And Keeps Licking His Bum! (6 Reasons To Be Worried)

As much as I hate to say it, dogs do some truly gross things.

From eating slugs to getting poop stuck in their butts, it’s hard to deny our furry friends can be pretty nasty at times.

However, some of these nauseating things can also be a cause for concern- hence this article.

“My dog has diarrhea and keeps licking his bum!”

If this is what you’re dealing with, I’m sure your first reaction was somewhere between the spectrums of horror and disgust.

However, as mortified as you are, you’re also probably wondering at the same time why in the world your dog is carrying out this wonderful combination of actions.

When a dog has diarrhea and is constantly licking at his butt, it typically means that the area is either painful or itchy.

The itch could be due to the diarrhea itself (which could be caused by a variety of conditions, as we’ll get into further below) or as a result of a parasitic infection.

In this article, we’re going to discuss precisely why dogs lick their butt while having diarrhea and if it’s something you should be concerned about! Sit tight!

(Side note: I am a member of the Amazon Associates program. From time to time I like to recommend products in my posts that I feel may truly be helpful to readers and their pets. If you do end up buying something by clicking the links on my site, I may receive a tiny amount of commission from the big guys.

And if you do end up buying something- Thank you! I really appreciate your support and I’ll always do my best to put out more quality content for you 🙂 )

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Keeps Licking Its Bum And Has Diarrhea?

Flexible Rhodesian Ridgeback turning back

As we briefly touched on above, when a dog licks his butt it can be due to a myriad of conditions. As a precautionary measure, most of these conditions will require a visit to the vet for a further examination.

The accompanying diarrhea is a cause for concern as this typically means your dog has some sort of infection (such as a parasitic infestation).

Many parasites lay eggs around the dogs anus and live in their intestinal tract where they are able to wreak havoc- causing both anal itching/irritation and diarrhea.

With that said, there are a few other reasons your dog may be licking his bum. These can include:

Impacted or Infected Anal Glands

If your dog’s anal sacs have become infected or impacted, it will likely lick its butt as a result in order to try to relieve the discomfort.

You may also notice your furry friend abruptly sitting down and scooting his butt across the carpet, like so:

Gifofdogs Scooting Dog GIF by - Find & Share on GIPHY

Though it looks comical, dogs typically do this to scratch the itchiness on their backends caused by the impacted anal glands.

A canine’s anal glands normally expel a scent-marking fluid (that smells pretty…fishy) when it poops.

This cloudy-white secretion is what tells all of the other dogs at the dog park, “Hey- this poop is mine! Back off!

If a dog’s anal sacs become defective for whatever reason and this natural process can’t occur, the organs can become swollen and impacted. This can subsequently lead to a bacterial infection and, in serious cases, even an abscess formation.

If your dog’s anal glands are becoming swollen, your vet may need to remove the fluid from your dog’s anal glands manually.

Your dog will possibly also be prescribed certain medications to treat any potential infections.

For everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that you would ever need to know about dog anal glands- including how to express them yourself at home if you so wish- read out comprehensive post HERE!

Pests & External Parasites

Ticks, fleas, and mites are all pests that can cause your dog’s butt to itch. A telltale sign can be if you spot black spots dotting the area around your dog’s bum.

Thankfully, these external parasites are typically pretty simple to eradicate.

In the case of fleas, washing with flea shampoo (careful not to get any into your dog’s eyes!) and applying a topical flea treatment to your dog’s coat can eradicate the jumpy little bloodsuckers quickly and effectively.

There are a large variety of flea and tick preventative products available for dogs, and most will offer protection for your pup for anywhere from 30 to 60 days in just one application.

Some of the most well-known and popular flea treatments include Seresto collars, Frontline topical treatments, and NexGard tablets.

What do you do if the Frontline treatment isn’t working as well as you expected it to? Take a look at 8 great alternative methods here!


Dog dermatitis

If your pooch experiences an allergic reaction (whether that be contact allergy or an allergy to a certain food), it could result in dermatitis in the areas surrounding your dog’s butt.

Dermatitis will result in a dog being constantly itchy, and you may notice such signs as:

  • Red, sore skin due to constant licking and biting
  • Scooting on the carpet
  • Hair loss around the area
  • Flaky skin
  • Red or brown saliva staining on fur around the area.

Your vet will be able to uncover the source of the itching through various different tests such as skin scrapes and blood tests.

If allergies are indeed discovered to be the cause, the vet will then be able to prescribe a consistent bathing regimen or a hypoallergenic diet designed to get rid of any potential allergens.

Beneficial practices such as treating carpeted areas, avoiding triggers such as pollen and grasses, and applying oatmeal or baking soda directly to the skin will also help to reduce discomfort for your pup.

In the short term, anti-inflammatory creams or steroid medications such as Apoquel and Atopica can be used to alleviate any allergy-related itching. While very effective, they do come with their fair share of side effectsso make sure you consult your vet thoroughly!

Skin Infections

If your dog keeps biting and licking at its bum, it could be suffering from a bacterial or fungal infection of the skin around his anal area.

This is especially common if the skin was recently broken or cut (during a session of home grooming, for example).

A dog’s anal area is particularly prone to infection due to the presence of fecal matter after your pooch takes a poop.

Sadly, when a dog continues to excessively lick the area- something they do in an attempt to soothe the itching and pain- it can further irritate the skin and make the infection even worse!

When you take your dog to the vet for a skin infection, she will usually scrape a piece of skin from your dog’s anal area to establish whether there is a presence of any harmful microorganisms.

If these microorganisms are discovered, the vet will usually prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications and creams to help eliminate these infections quickly and effectively.


Morkie dog on couch

Along with following you around everywhere suddenly and constantly looking at the ceiling and sniffing, sometimes dogs will lick their butts as a result of tremendous anxiety (strange, I know).

An anxious dog is prone to fixate on certain behaviors and actions as a way to cope with the way they’re feeling.

You may have noticed it the last time your dog was traumatized by the smoke detector in your living room!

In order to diagnose anxiety as the cause of your dog’s excessive bum licking, you will need to take him to the vet first to rule out any other medical/health-related conditions first such as those discussed above.

If anxiety is formally diagnosed as the reason for your dog’s unrest, the vet will then be able to prescribe certain medications such as Gabapentin or Ativan to help ease your dog’s unease and put a stop to the negative behavior.

There are some natural remedies for anxiety you can try in addition to medication, however. These include:

  • Giving your dog a bone or chew toy to gnaw on
  • Playing with your dog frequently so they can expel their excess energy
  • Avoiding yelling or arguing (this can scare your dog)
  • Playing music especially made to calm dogs down

There are also products you can buy to calm an anxious dog down naturally, including:

  • Calming Supplements such as VetriScience Composure Chews: These supplements contain colostrum, l-theanine and thiamine- all of which are recognized ingredients to support relaxation and calm behavior in dogs.
  • Anxiety Jacket or Thundershirt For Dogs: These jackets are specially designed to apply gentle pressure on your dog’s body to calm fear, anxiety, and overexcitement.
  • Calming Collar: Collars like this one can help dogs feel calm by mimicking a mother dog’s natural nursing pheromones. This collar is hypoallergenic and should start working within an hour, providing rapid results.

My Dog Keeps Licking Its Tail And Smells. Does It Have Internal Parasites?

Rear view of Jack Russell Terrier

While we’ve already discussed a few reasons your dog may be licking his bum above, it’s also possible that your dog has an intestinal parasite infection that is causing the discomfort and irritation.

When a dog excessively licks his anus, it sometimes means that it is suffering from parasites such as:

  • Roundworm- Can be picked up when a dog eats another dog’s (or other animal’s) poop
  • Whipworm- Again, can be picked up from other dog’s poop, as well as in soil
  • Tapeworm– Transmitted by an intermediate host, such as a flea
  • Hookworm– Third time’s not the charm! Also picked up via ingestion of poop or contaminated soil.

All of the parasites listed above live inside the dog’s intestines and can cause a host of symptoms including:

  • Anal irritation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Signs of nutritional deficiency such as weight loss, hair loss, and poor coat health

So, How Do I Know If My Dog Has Worms?

One of the best ways to find out if your dog has parasites- prior to taking him to the vet- is to inspect the dog’s fecal matter.

Parasites (or segments of parasites) can oftentimes be seen in your dog’s stool (or even right around the anus) if there’s an infestation.

You should also carefully monitor your dog’s symptoms and behavior. If your dog is licking his anus and has diarrhea, it’s important to take him to the vet right away to rule out potential parasites.

The vet will immediately take a stool sample to test for worms, and can then prescribe medications such as worming tablets to get rid of them completely.

For a guide on how to properly deworm puppies- Click HERE!

Home Remedy For Dog Itchy Bums

Itchy puppy biting itself

If your dog is licking its itchy bum or scooting due to less-serious conditions (minor irritation, for instance), there are some home remedies you can try to relieve the scratchiness.

It is highly recommended, however, that these remedies should only be tried after consulting with your vet!

After all, if your dog has parasites (or some other serious condition) causing his butt to itch badly, you don’t want to try home remedies and allow the condition more time to progress and worsen.

Calendula Compresses

Compresses can be especially helpful in relieving itchy dog bums!

These particular compresses require calendula, a flower that is well-known for being able to reduce inflammation.

Firstly, put a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water and add 8 drops of calendula tincture to the solution.

When everything is thoroughly mixed, soak a small cloth or towel into the calendula mixture and place it gently onto your pup’s rear area. Keep the cloth there until it cools down.

Calendula compresses are gentle enough that they can be repeated as often as necessary until the swelling and inflammation has been reduced.

The compresses are a great natural home remedy for impacted glands as well as they can help a dog’s anal glands open up and drain by themselves.

Prebiotics and Probiotics

Adding a prebiotic and probiotic supplement to your pup’s diet can be very helpful if the itching and diarrhea that it is experiencing is occurring due to digestive difficulties.

Despite having literally only one letter different when comparing the two, prebiotics and probiotics carry out distinct functions inside a dog’s body.

Probiotics increase the beneficial bacteria count inside the canine’s gut, while prebiotics provide additional support to these ‘good’ bacteria so that they can thrive.

In tandem, the two supplements work to enhance the immune system and digestive health.

What Are The Best Probiotics For Dogs?

Purina FortiFlora Probiotics for Dogs, Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements Powder Probiotic Dog Supplement – 30 ct. box

While natural foods such as kefir can be an excellent source of probiotics for dogs, sometimes more concentrated forms are necessary to help bring a dog’s digestive system back into balance.

There are a great many canine probiotic supplements currently on the market, and it can be very difficult to determine which are the best.

The most important factor to keep in mind when choosing a probiotic supplement is to make sure that it contains effective ingredients. Namely, you want to see the words Lactobacillus acidophilus and kefiri on the back of the packet.

These specific bacterial species and strains are what’s going to have the most beneficial effects when it comes to restoring your pooch’s gut health.

With that said, here is a list of the probiotic supplements that I can recommend (all available on Amazon, unless sold out due to popularity!):

Fiber Broth

A fiber broth constructed with coconut water/bone broth and a natural supplement like psyllium husk can be immensely beneficial for dogs that have issues when it comes to emptying their anal sacs or bowels because of diarrhea.

The combination of ingredients has the ability to stimulate a canine’s stomach so that they can produce a firm, healthy poop (as opposed to a wet explosion or dry, crumbly nuggets!).

Here’s a simple, easy-to-prepare fiber broth recipe that you can try for relief of your dog’s impacted anal gland symptoms:

  1. Use a cup of room temperature coconut water or warmed-up bone broth and mix in two tablespoons of psyllium husk.
  2. Stir until the mixture has achieved a consistency similar to jelly.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool first (if bone broth was used), then feed the substance to your dog directly. The broth is great as a meal replacement for regular food for a couple of days until the pooch’s bowel movements have returned to normal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Dog Scooting His Butt Across The Floor?

When a dog scoots across the floor, this is typically done to relieve an itchy butt caused by an impacted anal gland or a parisitic infection.

To stop this behavior, your dog needs to receive proper treatment such as those that have already been detailed above in this article!

Does My Dog Have Worms If He Licks His Butt?

As gross as it may be, dogs lick their butts for many reasons and some of them are completely harmless. For instance, some dogs groom themselves by licking their anal region!

However, if your dog is licking his butt excessively (and has accompanying symptoms like diarrhea) it could that mean he’s suffering from a parasitic infestation or has infected/impacted anal glands.

What Types Of Parasites Can Cause My Dog To Lick His Butt?

There are a variety of intestinal parasites that can cause an itchy butt in dogs. These include hookworms, ringworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms.

If your dog does have worms, it’s important to take him to the vet right away as they will be able to take a stool sample and provide the proper medication to eliminate the parasites.

Why Does My Dog Have Diarrhea?

Diarrhea in dogs can be a symptom of many things.

For one, your dog could simply have eaten something that didn’t agree with his stomach (such as coconut oil), or could have a food allergy you aren’t aware of.

Other possible causes of diarrhea in puppies and dogs include stress and not having enough water to drink.

With that said, diarrhea for extended periods of time is not good in dogs (or humans, for that matter). Not only can this be a sign of a more serious condition such as worms, bacterial infections, and the like, but it could also lead to dehydration.

This is because your dog is losing excess water when it experiences bouts of diarrhea. So, make sure your dog is drinking a lot of fresh water and take him to the vet right away if he’s experiencing diarrhea frequently!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, we’ve been able to thoroughly answer the question, “My dog has diarrhea and keeps licking his bum…what does this mean?” in this post!

As we have explained in this article, a dog that licks its butt and has diarrhea could be suffering from a variety of different afflictions.

From parasite infestations to anal gland build-up and impaction, there are a variety of reasons as to why your dog won’t stop licking its back end.

Whatever the case may be, excessive licking or scooting should never be ignored. If you notice your dog exhibiting this behavior, be sure to take them to the vet as soon as you can.

The conditions listed above will require testing and medication to resolve the issue (or to at least rule them out).

If treatment is indeed necessary, get ready to bring out the Comfy Cone or inflatable collar to prevent your pup from licking his rear area in the meantime!

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