If you’ve noticed your dogs biting their own tails, it’s understandably a cause for concern. Pet owners may assume that this behavior is just silly and harmless, but if your dog seems to do it excessively, there could be a reason for it.
Dogs bite their own tails for a variety of reasons, ranging from anxiety to allergies, fleas, and other health issues. Do your best to determine if it is an ongoing issue. Take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out a health problem or any other disorders that could be causing problems for your dog.
Pay close attention to your dog if you notice a strange behavior such as biting their tail. Your veterinarian will be able to guide you on what the issue is and how to help your dogs. In the meantime, read on about possible issues and ways to distract your dog from the itch until the appointment.
Common Causes Of Dogs Biting Their Own Tails
Here are some of the most common reasons why dogs might be biting their tails. Keep an eye out for some of these signs that your dog may have a problem.
Anal Gland Issues
One of the most common reasons why a dog bites its own tail is because it has problems with its anal glands. Dogs have sacs located around their anus that secrete fluid when they poop.
But sometimes, these sacs can become blocked and swollen, causing discomfort and even infection. German Shepherds are especially prone to something called perianal fistulas, which is basically when they lick and bite excessively around their butt area.
But it’s not just anal gland issues that can make a dog go nuts with biting and scooting. Any kind of pain or discomfort around the tail or rear end can do it, too.
It could be something as serious as a herniated disc in the spine or something simple like a wound, cut, or infection. Dogs who have had their tails docked may even experience “phantom pain” in the area.
Allergies can also cause dogs to be super itchy, and they may bite and scoot around their perianal area to try and alleviate the discomfort. This is especially true if they have a food allergy or an allergy to things like fleas, mites, grass, pollen, or ragweed. Dogs with allergies may also have itchy faces, paws, and ears.
Fleas are usually the first thought when someone notices dogs biting their own tails. Fleas love hanging out at the base of a dog’s tail or around its neck.
Even if you don’t see any fleas on your puppy, it only takes one bite to cause a serious itch and make them start scratching like crazy. Plus, dogs can actually be allergic to flea saliva, which just makes things even worse.
But wait, it gets worse. If your dog happens to eat an infected flea, they might also end up with tapeworms. The tapeworm larvae develop into adult tapeworms, which then release packets of eggs that make your dog’s butt area feel all itchy and gross.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, the eggs can show up in your dog’s poop, looking like little grains of rice or sesame seeds.
If your dog is biting the base of its tail but it’s not fleas, it may be hot spots. Hot spots occur when an area of a dog’s skin becomes really itchy and painful, causing them to scratch and bite.
The area may even develop hair loss and raw, oozy-looking skin. Treatment involves shaving the hair from the area and applying local treatment along with a course of antibiotics. It’s important to have a vet help with the shaving, though, since the area is so painful.
Dogs see their tail moving around and think it’s a toy to play with. Sometimes, owners accidentally reward this behavior by laughing or interacting with the puppy when they do it.
Even though it’s okay to laugh at your dog and even play with it while it chases its tail, if it becomes too much, you should stop rewarding the behavior and find new ways to play with your dog.
Sometimes, tail-chasing and biting can actually be a sign of something more serious. It could be a sign of seizures, which can affect only one part of the brain and cause weird behaviors like tail-chasing. And in really tough cases, the dog might need to see a specialist to get a proper diagnosis.
Sometimes, it’s not just some cute little game they’re playing. Nope, dogs biting their own tails could actually be a sign of anxiety. If something freaks them out, like a super loud noise or something scary they see outside, they might start spinning around and chomping on their own tails as a way to deal with their stress.
It’s a thing called “displacement behavior,” which basically means they’re doing something that doesn’t really make sense at the moment but helps them cope with their worries.
Try to identify what’s stressing them out and work on lowering their exposure to those triggers. Or, talk to your vet about ways to make them calmer, like using a calming diffuser or medication.
The good news is that with a little bit of effort, you can help your puppy feel less overwhelmed and more relaxed – and that’s something they will definitely appreciate.
Type Of Dog
Certain dog breeds, such as those in the herding, working, and sporting categories, exhibit behaviors like spinning or tail chasing. These dogs were selectively bred in the past to perform various tasks, and these behaviors were necessary for their jobs.
However, in our current lives, our dogs can become under-stimulated due to our modern lifestyles. This lack of mental and physical stimulation can lead to dogs filling their idle time with tail-biting or excessive licking.
To ensure the well-being of our furry companions, we need to make sure they are receiving enough mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and the potential development of destructive behaviors. This can include exercise, training, playtime, and mental enrichment activities.
How To Stop Your Dog From Chasing Its Tail
If your dog’s chasing and biting its tail and it’s not due to a health problem, then you may need to train it to get the behavior to stop. Some dogs will give up the behavior easily, and others may take more time to get over it.
Find The Cause
If you’ve noticed your dog repetitively biting or chasing their tail, it’s important to consider that there might be an underlying medical reason behind this behavior.
Before attempting to tackle the issue with behavioral training, it’s crucial to first bring your furry friend to a vet. You want to ensure that an untreated medical condition is not the root cause of the tail-chasing behavior.
This could include epilepsy, pain in the tail area, or other medical illnesses. It’s important to look for a veterinarian who has experience diagnosing tail-chasing behavior. By doing so, you can get an accurate diagnosis and start addressing the issue appropriately.
Find A Distraction
If you have ever caught your dog frantically chasing their tail, it can be quite concerning to see them in that stressed-out state. Well, the good news is that there are ways to distract them from this behavior.
The first thing you should do is try to divert their focus by presenting them with some toys, food or even giving them some affection.
Now, if you want to prevent your furry friend from engaging in this behavior in the future, you can start by teaching them basic commands like sit or lie down.
Even better, teach them some fun tricks like shaking their paw. Once they’ve learned these commands, you can use them whenever you notice them starting to chase their tail again.
The ultimate goal is to get your dog’s attention on something else besides their tail. Remember, your puppy’s health and happiness should always be a top priority, so try to keep them engaged and mentally stimulated. Happy dog, happy life.
Train Your Dog
If your furry friend happens to be one of those adorable tail chasers, it may be time to help them break free from this repetitive habit.
A lot of folks might not realize how detrimental this behavior can be to dogs. It can even get so bad that it starts getting in the way of their everyday life, making it more important than ever to retrain them.
You may find it amusing to see your puppy do a little dance around its tail, but it’s really not something to encourage. If you have been rewarding this behavior, it’s time to take a step back and stop it in its tracks.
The best thing to do is to refrain from indulging your puppy with any attention or treats when they start chasing their tail. Instead, simply ignore them or move to another room. It’s crucial to avoid any reaction that could further spur them on.
Once your dog comes to a halt, it’s time to shower them with tons of attention and give out treats. This will show them that putting a stop to the tail chasing is what gets them the rewards.
Remember, keeping your puppy’s health in mind should always be a top priority – helping them let go of this compulsive habit will go a long way in keeping them happy and healthy.
Why Do Dogs Chew Their Tails?
While it may be normal for your dog to chew its tail at times, if you notice it is biting its tail frequently, it could be due to some serious reasons.
It’s best to check your dog’s tail to make sure it’s not doing any serious damage and also get to the root of your dog’s behavior so you can stop the tail chewing before it breaks the skin and leads to an infection or another serious problem that could affect your dog’s health.
We all know fleas are a total nuisance, and their bites can leave your pooch itching for days. But did you know that the problem goes beyond that? Yep, if your furry friend happens to snack on an infected flea while grooming themselves, they could end up with tapeworms.
These pesky parasites develop from tapeworm larvae that get ingested along with the flea. Once they mature, they’ll start releasing tiny packets of eggs that cause a super itchy sensation around your dog’s rear end. Without any relief, your puppy may resort to excessive tail biting to try and ease the discomfort.
But, the worst part? These egg packets look like little grains of rice when they show up in your dog’s poop or dry up to resemble sesame seeds. So, not only do they cause discomfort for your four-legged friend, but they’re also super gross to deal with.
Dogs can be pretty attention-hungry creatures, to the point where they’ll take any type of attention they can get – even if it’s negative.
That’s why sometimes when a dog owner scolds or tries to physically restrain the dog to stop a repetitive behavior, the dog might actually enjoy it. It’s better in their eyes to get a negative reaction than no reaction at all.
When dogs crave attention, they tend to repeat any behaviors that have worked in the past to get some type of response from their owners. So, it’s important to find a healthy and positive way to give your furry friend the attention they need without reinforcing negative behaviors.
Lack Of Stimulation
Many dogs, especially those that were bred for herding, work, or sports, may exhibit certain behaviors like spinning and tail chasing. These actions trace back to their ancestral roots, where they were trained to accomplish specific tasks.
However, our modern lifestyle may render our furry friends bored and inactive, leading to tail-biting and excessive licking as a means to pass the time.
Therefore, it is crucial to understand the underlying reasons why dogs engage in these behaviors and provide them with adequate stimulation and attention to prevent such actions from occurring.
Too Much Stimulation
Some dogs resort to tail chasing and biting when they are overstimulated or overwhelmed. This behavior serves as a coping mechanism for them to deal with such situations.
It is interesting to note that dogs may also chase or bite their tails when they are unable to reach something they really desire or when they cannot come to terms with the fact that a game or activity has come to an end.
This behavior is a manifestation of their frustration and inability to cope with the given situation. So, as a pet owner, it’s important to be aware of these triggers and take the necessary steps to help your furry friend cope better.
Canine Compulsive Disorder
Did you know that some dogs suffer from a condition called Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD)? It’s basically a fancy name for a bunch of repetitive behaviors that don’t serve any obvious function, like licking, tail-chasing, and spinning.
These behaviors seem to come from a place of frustration or conflict in the dog’s psyche, and they’ll keep doing them even in contexts where there’s no obvious reason to. It’s pretty sad, but luckily there’s treatment available. Usually, vets will prescribe a combination of drugs and behavior modification to help these puppies feel better.
Did you know that if your dog tends to chase its tail, it could be due to elevated levels of both HDL and LDL cholesterol? In fact, a study found that high cholesterol levels can affect the flow of serotonin, leading to obsessive behaviors like tail chasing.
So, if you want to help your puppy out, consider switching to a lower-fat diet. But don’t forget to consult your veterinarian before making any changes to their diet.
Dogs bite, chase, and chew on their tails for a number of reasons, ranging from neurological issues, anxiety, boredom, fleas, worms, and much more. Because there is such a wide range of issues that cause dogs to bite their tails, it’s important to observe the behavior closely and talk to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can provide treatment or make recommendations on how to alleviate their anxiety.
Whether or not a dog will hurt themselves by biting their tails depends on the cause and severity of their issue. Dogs sometimes itch so much that they itch their hair off and leave red, oozy skin. This may be from a medical condition like hot spots, or neurological issues. Talk to your vet about the problem to find the right solution for your dog.
Fleas aren’t the only cause of dogs biting the base of their tails. Tapeworms, hot spots, allergies, neurological issues, and anxiety could also cause tail biting. Tapeworms are common if your dog has eaten an infected flea. Allergies such as a food allergy or environmental allergy could also be the cause. If the issue is anxiety, provide your dog with mental stimulation and a calming environment. Talk to your vet about what the issue is and the best ways to treat it.
Conclusion for “Causes of Dogs Biting Their Own Tails”
There are many causes for dogs biting their own tails and other tail-based behaviors. These range from mental health issues to a variety of issues with their physical health.
When it comes to dogs biting their tails, it’s important to pay attention to their behaviors. There is no simple way to determine the cause, and a visit to the vet is a good idea.
Determining the cause of your dog’s tail biting is the best way to proceed toward treating the ailment. Treatments range from topical treatments from the vet, while others may be fixed with home remedies. If your dog chews on its tail for anxiety reasons, then there are many ways to help them overcome their tail biting.
If you find this guide, “Causes of Dogs Biting Their Own Tail,” helpful, check out:
- Once a Dog Bites, Will It Bite Again?
- Why Does My Dog Bite My Cat’s Neck?
- My Puppy Won’t Stop Biting Me. I’ve Tried Everything. What Should I Do?
Learn more by watching “Why Is My Dog Biting His Tail (10 Reasons Why Dogs Bite Their Tail Explained and Answered)” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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