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My Dog is Splooting! Cute Pictures & Veterinarian Advice

Solving the Mysteries of Splooting Dogs

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dog splooting on rug

The Internet loves nothing more than a cute pet craze, and dog parents have developed their own vocabulary to describe their pup’s picture-perfect antics! In this article, we will have a look at a few pictures of dogs scooting – and explain why dogs scoot.

What is Splooting?

Splooting has become the affectionate term for when a dog lies on their belly with their back legs stretched out behind them. If your dog looks like a frog, then your dog is splooting!

There are a few variations of the classic sploot position where both legs are stretched out behind the body. These are the “half-sploot” (one leg is stretched out behind and the other tucked up underneath) and the “side-sploot” (one leg is stretched out behind and the other to one side with your dog lying on their hip).

Pictures of Dogs Splooting

Corgis are known for splooting most often, but all kinds of dog breeds sploot.

Also known as “frogging” or “frog-legging,” the sploot is an adorable pose snapped and shared by dog parents worldwide. But why do they do it and can it be a sign of something more serious? This article will discuss everything dog parents need to know about splooting.

Why Do Dogs Sploot?

golden retriever splooting on floor

Most of the reasons causing dogs to sploot are innocent – although it could also be an indication of a more serious medical issue in some cases. Let’s first review innocent reasons causing dogs to sploot.

In most cases, splooting is a natural doggy behavior that should not be cause for concern. Some of the most common reasons why your dog may sploot are: 

  • Stretching – lying with one or both legs extended provides a deep hip stretch and may be beneficial for your pup’s mobility and flexibility.
  • Relaxing – many dogs find splooting comfortable and will adopt this position when relaxed.
  • Cooling down – stretching out belly-down on cool surfaces, such as tiles, can help dogs cool off in warm weather.

Though any breed of dog (as well as cats!) can sploot, certain breeds have a reputation for splooting, including:

  • Corgis
  • Bulldogs
  • French Bulldogs
  • Chihuahuas
  • Pitbulls

Young dogs and puppies are also more likely to sploot, as their hips are more flexible compared to adult dogs. 

When Splooting is a Cause for Concern

Splooting on its own is not associated with a particular medical condition, meaning there are usually other signs present when it is caused by a disease or underlying problem. Conditions that may cause dogs to sploot or adopt similar changes to their body positions include:

Hip Dysplasia

This is a disorder that most commonly affects juvenile large-breed dogs, where the ball and socket joint of the hip fails to develop normally. As a result, the hip joint is looser than normal and moves abnormally, leading to chronic pain and the development of arthritis over time. The most common clinical signs of hip dysplasia include reduced tolerance for exercise, stiffness, hip pain, difficulty lying down or standing up, limping, hind end swaying or wobbling when walking, and bunny-hopping.1

For severe cases of hip dysplasia, surgery is often recommended to help modify the anatomy of the hip joint and improve your dog’s quality of life long-term. Mild cases may be managed with appropriate exercise, physiotherapy, and joint supplements; however, all dogs will end up with arthritis as a result of the condition.


WATCH: 3 Important Tips To Care For an Old Dog [VET VIDEO]


Arthritis

This refers to the degeneration of the normal structures (like cartilage) that make up a healthy joint and the subsequent inflammation, pain, and thickening of the joint capsule that develops over time. Also known as osteoarthritis, this painful condition affects 1 in 5 dogs and its prevalence only increases with age.2

Signs that your dog may be suffering from arthritis include changes in posture, limping, stiffness, sleeping more than usual, licking their joints, reduced muscle mass, weakness in the hind end, and behavior changes, such as increased aggression or lethargy. There is no cure for arthritis but there are ways you can help your dog feel more comfortable such as the use of ramps and steps, pain relief, and joint supplements.

Traumatic Injuries

These include muscle sprains or strains and could also result in your dog resting in an unusual position, although it would be uncommon for them to show no other signs of pain or discomfort other than splooting. Certain neurological disorders causing hindlimb weakness, ataxia (wobbliness), or paralysis could also look similar to splooting. However, your dog wouldn’t be able to simply get up and walk or move normally the rest of the time so this should not be considered the same thing.

When Should I Take My Dog to the Vet for Splooting?

Many dog parents are concerned about splooting being a sign of an underlying problem. After all, dogs often scoot over the floor – a sign that they need help with their anal glands.

Though a sudden change in resting or body position should always be considered as a possible sign of pain, it is unlikely that splooting alone is a cause for concern, unless accompanied by other signs of a problem3 such as:

  • Lameness (limping)
  • Changes in movement (e.g., difficulty rising, lying down, jumping into the car)
  • Reduced exercise tolerance
  • Reduced appetite
  • Changes in demeanor or behavior (e.g., lethargic or less energetic)
  • Sensitivity or pain when touched
  • Increased barking or vocalization
  • Reduced social interaction or aggression towards people and other pets

Monitoring your dog’s behavior is key, and pet parents should always be on the lookout for any changes that may indicate a problem. For example, if your dog has never splooted before and is suddenly splooting all the time, or is now splooting holding one leg tucked up, which isn’t usual for them. Signs of pain can be subtle and so it’s always safest to have your pup checked by a veterinarian if you’re concerned.

What Will the Vet Do If My Dog is Splooting?

Your veterinarian will start by taking a comprehensive history to find out more about your dog’s splooting behavior before performing a thorough physical examination. This will include an orthopedic examination where the vet will watch your dog move, sit, and stand, as well as feel and manipulate their joints to detect any pain or abnormal movement. 

From here, your veterinarian may recommend monitoring your pup if nothing abnormal is found, or they may prescribe pain medication, rest, or physiotherapy exercises for milder problems like a soft tissue sprain. In some cases, your veterinarian may need to investigate further to confirm the diagnosis.

For example, if hip dysplasia is suspected, they will recommend taking x-rays under sedation or general anesthesia. Less commonly, referral to a specialist for advanced imaging techniques such as MRI or CT may also be required to determine the cause of the problem.  The cost of the vet visit will vary greatly depending on the nature of the problem, if any diagnostic tests are required, and if surgery is recommended to treat it. A consultation and pain relief on average costs between $50 and $250, with x-rays another $250 on top of that (prices in USD).4

If your pup requires orthopedic surgery, such as a total hip replacement for hip dysplasia, you could be looking at a total bill of well over $5,000. This is why being prepared for the unexpected with pet insurance or a designated savings account specifically for veterinary bills, is so important.

How Can I Help My Dog?

As previously discussed, splooting is usually a completely normal doggy behavior and in most cases doesn’t require any special attention or care from you as a pet parent. However, it’s good to be aware of your dog’s normal resting habits and body positions so you can detect changes and pick up any potential problems early.

Overweight or obese pets put a lot more pressure on their joints and so keeping your pup at a lean body weight is important for supporting healthy joints throughout their lifetime. Making sure your dog gets the right amount of exercise for their breed and individual needs (such as age, previous injuries, or illnesses) is also important for both their physical and mental health long-term.  

If your dog has been diagnosed with a joint problem, your veterinarian is the best person to guide you on how to help support their joints and keep them as comfortable as possible. Options include:

  • Joint supplements containing ingredients such as Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and glucosamine
  • Gentle exercise and swimming
  • Physiotherapy with a suitably qualified practitioner or veterinary specialist
  • Modification of the home environment (e.g., non-slip rugs and ramps to help your dog get into the car or onto the sofa)
  • Orthopedic dog beds
  • Pain relief

Final Words

Luckily in most cases, splooting is simply a natural doggy behavior that is both comfortable and adorable. However, if you’ve noticed a change in your dog’s splooting behavior or body position, it’s always best to have them checked by a veterinarian, especially if there are other signs that something isn’t quite right.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your local veterinarian for health decisions. Learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean that your dog is splooting?

Splooting is the affectionate name given to dogs lying on their bellies with their back legs stretched out behind them and is a term commonly used online. It may also be referred to as “frogging” or “frog-legging.”

Why is my dog splooting?

Many dogs will naturally sploot to relax, stretch, and keep cool. Splooting is commonly associated with young puppies, as well as breeds like Corgis and French Bulldogs.

Should I stop my dog splooting?

If your dog seems comfortable splooting and is showing no other signs of a problem there is no need to stop them from splooting unless advised otherwise by a veterinarian.

When should I take my dog to the vet for splooting?

If your dog is showing any other signs of an underlying problem such as pain, limping, or difficulty getting up and down, they need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. It’s also best to have them checked if their splooting behavior has changed (e.g., become more frequent or their body position has changed).

References

[1] Syrcle, J, 2017, Hip Dysplasia: Clinical Signs and Physical Examination Findings, Vet Clin. Small Anim. Vol 47, pp. 769-771

[2] Canine Arthritis Management, Identifying Signs Of Osteoarthritis, Available at: https://caninearthritis.co.uk/what-is-arthritis/identifying-signs, Accessed 07 January 2022

[3] Mathews, K, Kronen, W, et al., 2014, WSAVA Guidelines For Recognition, Assessment And Treatment Of Pain, Available at: https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Recognition-Assessment-and-Treatment-of-Pain-Guidelines.pdf, Accessed: 07 January 2022

[4] Plotts, E, How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost? Here’s Everything You Need To Know, Available at: https://www.pawlicy.com/blog/vet-visit-cost/, Accessed: 07 January 2022

Author

  • Dr. Ellen Marcinkiewicz BVSc. MRCVS graduated from the University of Melbourne as a veterinarian in 2012 and is passionate about all things small animal health. Since graduating almost 10 years ago, she has worked in clinical practice, including at a university teaching hospital in New Zealand.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Read More.

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