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You could be walking with your dog or strolling around the house when you notice your dog constantly looking behind them. It can be very entertaining to just spend a few minutes watching your dog, but you’re curious about this behavior.
People look behind themselves sometimes, but you might think, “Why does my dog keep looking at their back end?”
There are many different reasons why your dog looks behind them. Some reasons include having a lot of excess energy, taking in the new environment, and hearing someone coming. There are also some medical reasons such as having pain in their back area, tapeworms, or an anal gland infection.
Looking at their back end is a common dog behavior. While these are just a few reasons why your dog could their back end, let’s take a deeper dive into these reasons and other reasons why your dog is showing this behavior.
Reason 1: Your Dog Could Feel Pain In That Area
While dogs seem super durable after seeing videos of dogs flipping or running into things, they, unfortunately, aren’t super dogs! They can get hurt just as we can.
Your dog could be looking behind them because they are feeling pain in that area of their body.
Sometimes they could bump into things or get a small injury after going all out while playing with their buddies. While it would make sense that a bruise would bother them, dogs actually rarely get bruises.
According to this article by Hill’s, dogs rarely get bruises because they have thick skin and a lot of fur. If your dog might be looking at their back end and you do notice a bruise on your pup, a visit to the vet is highly recommended.
Reason 2: Your Dog Has A Lot Of Energy
Our dogs can be like kids in the sense that they can sometimes seem to have unlimited energy!
Your dog might keep looking at their back end because they have a lot of stored energy.
Looking at their behind might also be followed by your dog chasing their tail. Your dog might look at their back end and find that chasing their tail is a way to spend their energy.
This might be more likely with high energy dogs. Dogs like bully breeds have a bottomless bucket of energy so they need different ways to use it. Doing activities like daily walks and occasional playdates can make a huge difference.
Without being given a way to use their energy, dogs find their own ways. Many dogs tend to be destructive when they aren’t given an outlet for releasing energy so giving active time for your dog will save you a lot of money and cleaning!
Reason 3: Your Dog Has Gas Pain
Your dog may be looking at their behind because they are having discomfort from gas pain. Dogs will eat a lot of things so it’s not unusual for them to experience flatulence.
Flatulence is the build up of gas in the stomach or intestines and can cause a lot of discomfort for both humans and dogs. But what causes flatulence in dogs?
Some foods are not easily digestible for dogs. This article from VCA Animal Hospitals explains in detail about how poor digestion can lead to fermentation. Foods like beans and high-fat products can also cause flatulence.
If you suspect that your dog is looking at their back end because they are facing gas pain, the best thing to do is to let it pass. Figuring out what gives your dog flatulence can help prevent your dog from discomfort in the future.
If your dog continues to have gas pain, it is best to ask your veterinarian for help on finding what’s causing it.
Reason 4: Your Dog Has an Itch
It’s not uncommon for dogs to just stop what they’re doing and just scratch an itch. But before that, you might find them looking at their behind.
Your dog might keep looking at their back end because they have an itch they want to scratch.
If they scratch right after looking at behind them, there’s a large chance that that was the cause. If they keep trying to scratch but can’t seem to get the itch, they might need your help getting to that hard-to-reach spot!
Other signs that your dog is showing this behavior because of an itch is rubbing against you and rolling on the carpet.
If you notice your dog continuing to scratch a lot, it would be best to check for fleas or ticks. Keeping your dog up to date on flea and tick prevention can help prevent this as well.
Reason 5: Your Dog Is Taking In The Environment
You’re out on a walk with your dog but you wanted to change it up a little bit compared to the usual routine of going to the park. However, you notice your dog keeps looking behind them.
Your dog might keep looking at their behind because they are trying to take in the new environment.
Dogs are used to going to the same places all the time so a change in setting, so just like with humans, they also need a little bit of time taking things in when in a new environment.
If this is the reason why your dog keeps looking behind them, the behavior might also be followed by staying by your side and acting very clingy all of a sudden.
Giving your dog a little extra time to take in the new surroundings can help your pup adjust and realize that the new place isn’t so bad!
Reason 6: Your Puppy Is Playing With Their Tail
As mentioned before, your dog may have extra energy that they would release through chasing their own tail. However, there are other reasons why a pup or dog would chase their own tail.
If you have a young puppy, they might look at their behind because they want to play with their own tail.
Often times at a very young age, puppies do not realize that the thing that seems to follow them is actually their own tail! They don’t know that their tail is attached to their body and they think that it’s a toy to play with.
This is nothing to worry about as long as your puppy isn’t getting hurt while trying to play with their own tail. They will eventually grow to realize that their tail is part of them.
Check out this video of an adorable puppy chasing his tail:
Reason 7: Your Dog Is Getting Older
On the opposite end of the aging spectrum, your dog might keep looking at their back end because they are getting to an older age.
Unfortunately, like many other creatures including humans, dogs aren’t as sharp as they used to be as they continue to age. In this article by the ASPCA, it is said that a dog’s “memory, their ability to learn, their awareness and their senses of sight and hearing can all deteriorate” with age.
Your dog may appear to look at their back end often when they are older because they are losing awareness. They may no longer realize that their tail is a part of them and may be curious as to what that thing behind them is and why it is always following them.
While we, unfortunately, cannot prevent our fur babies from aging, we can help them live their best lives. Making sure their quality of life isn’t affected by their loss of awareness will help your dog continue to be happy being with you!
Reason 8: Your Dog Could Have Infected Anal Glands
One thing that many new dog owners don’t realize is how common anal glands issues are in the dog community!
Your dog may be looking behind them often because they have infected anal glands.
Dogs have two anal sacs or glands that produce a fluid that helps other dogs identify the characteristics of each other. While there is no confirmed reason as to why dogs have them, it has been found that many dogs need help “expressing” them to relieve discomfort. Some groomers and many vets can help your pup with this.
How do you know your dog has anal gland issues?
The most common sign is a behavior called “scooting.” That is when your dog drags their bum on the ground. Other signs include sniffing their own butt and sleeping with their bum facing you.
Reason 9: Your Dog Could Have Tapeworms
Scooting is not only a possible sign of anal gland issues. It can also be a sign of tapeworms.
You might find your dog looking at their back end because they have tapeworms.
Tapeworms are parasites found in the intestines. They can be found in species other than dogs, including humans and cats. Fortunately, they aren’t very harmful to your pup, but it is not impossible for them to get sick if there are many tapeworms.
Luckily, there are various medications to help your pup get rid of the parasites. If you find that your dog has tapeworms, treatment from the vet helps the situation from getting worse.
However, the best way to prevent your dog from getting tapeworms is to keep up to date with their flea control.
Reason 10: Your Dog Could Have Hip Dysplasia
When researching the different dog breeds, there is no doubt that the condition “hip dysplasia” will show up at least once.
Relating to the first reason, your dog might be looking at their back end because they’re feeling pain, specifically due to hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a condition where, in simpler terms, the parts of the hips and joints no longer fit or move together properly. While bigger breeds are generally strong and healthy dogs, hip dysplasia can often be found in big dog breeds such as pit bulls.
Your dog might seem to look at their bum because they may be trying to see what is causing them a lot of discomfort. Other signs that they have hip dysplasia is struggle going up and down stairs and putting their head down and bum up.
Reason 11: Your Dog Is Looking For You
Dogs care more about us than many people may believe.
If you notice that your dog keeps looking behind them on walks, they may be looking for you. This is may be especially if your dog walks ahead in front of you.
Dogs will look to you for reassurance just as kids do. So if your dog is walking ahead of you and continuously looks back, they could be looking for you for reassurance.
Some dogs tend to walk in front of their owners while others walk next to them. Ideally, dogs should be at their owners’ sides while walking and glance up at them every once in a while to maintain self control to prevent any incidents.
If you want to teach your dog to walk by your side, also known as “heel,” check out this page from the AKC. You can also talk to a trainer to get more personalized advice.
Reason 12: Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
Just like when people look behind them out of suspicion, dogs can as well. Your dog may look at their back end because they want to make sure that nothing scary is behind them.
Separation anxiety can bring out all the anxious actions your dog can show, including looking behind their bodies. Separation anxiety is the feeling of hopelessness and stress that your dog may face when you are not home.
Other signs of separation anxiety include staying by your side all the time while you’re home and sitting very close to you.
If you want to help your pup get over their anxiety of being alone, try leaving them for small periods of time and then gradually increasing the alone time. This can show them that’s being by themselves is perfectly fine. Asking a trainer for advice can also be beneficial.
Reason 13: Your Dog Hears Someone Coming
Dogs behave more similarly to humans than many might think. If dogs hear something, they want to know where it came from and what caused it.
Your dog might look at their back end because they hear someone coming up from behind them.
A dog’s hearing is incredible compared to human’s hearing. They can hear things that other animals can’t, including humans. That is why is isn’t strange for them to know when someone or something is getting closer when you might not hear anything.
If your dog is looking behind them because they hear something, it might also be accompanied by some sniffing of the air and looking in an upward direction.
Should I Be Worried About The Behavior?
After reading all the reasons listed here, dogs looking at their back end might generally seem like a bad sign.
While the behavior might mean some underlying health problem such as hip dysplasia, anal gland issues, or tapeworms, understanding the context can determine the difference between one of these concerns versus your dog just having a lot of pent up energy and wanting to play.
If you suspect one of the more concerning reasons, it is better to visit the vet as soon as possible to prevent the situation from getting worse. The sooner the vet finds what’s wrong, the sooner your dog can live comfortably.
As a dog owner, there are many responsibilities when it comes to taking care of a fur baby. One of the biggest responsibilities is paying attention to your dog’s behavior.
Since dogs cannot tell us how they feel or what they think, body language is the best way to communicate. Their actions tell us what they’re trying to say.
Understanding our dogs’ action can help strengthen our bonds with them and build one of the best relationships we can have in our lives.