Some questions about dogs are common. Others are rare, and some are weird. Why do dogs chew their tails? This is probably one of the most common questions and one of the most interesting out there. Today, we are going to answer it in detail. As always, there is more than one reason. There are six, and each one is obvious once you know about it.
6 Reasons Dogs Chew Their Tails
Yes, allergies can cause this issue. Ticks and fleas are the most common causes here. But don’t forget about environmental allergies. The best example is pollen, but your dog can be allergic to almost anything. Once the irritation affects the skin, a dog will start to scratch and bite his tail. Why do dogs chew their tails? They feel the urge to scratch. You probably want to do the same thing when you have itchy skin, and it is perfectly normal.
Regardless of the cause of that allergy, a dog will bite his tail. Keep in mind that younger dogs are more prone to this issue. Allergies mostly affect dogs aged 3 months up to 6 years. Some dogs have very sensitive skin. A strong shampoo can cause irritation.
2. Anxiety or Stress
Both of these can cause repetitive behavior. One of the symptoms is biting the tail or any other part of the body. Your pet may also eat all the shoes you have, pillows, toys, and anything else. All of this can happen when a dog is alone in an apartment for too long. He will find a way to get the attention and relief he needs.
If your pet doesn’t have a lot of physical activity per day, he may act weird. Biting his tail is one of the things he may do. Others include destructive behavior. His goal is to get attention, and he will do everything he can in order to get it.
3. Parasitic Infections
Once again, we can see that fleas and ticks can cause this issue. But tapeworms can cause it as well. This happens because the dog will be in discomfort. He will have a massive urge to bite his tail (base of the tail, more specifically) in order to relieve that discomfort. This will make the situation even worse. Your pet will damage the skin, causing more pain.
4. Anal Glands Are Responsible
Your dog has anal glands in the anus. When they are impacted, a dog will bite his tail. Once again, he will be in massive discomfort and pain. Biting his tail is the only thing he can actually do. Dogs who have this will drag their butts across the carpet, so this is the best way to diagnose the problem. This is scooting, basically.
Anal glands are important for dogs, and they use them for communication and exchanging “personal’’ details. You will have to take your pet to a vet and examine his anal glands. If they are the cause, treatment will be mandatory, and your pet will be fine within hours or days.
5. Injured Tail
Yes, dogs can injure their tails. The tail has bones inside, and they are not very strong. If he breaks the bone, he will chew the tail. All dogs do this in order to relieve pain and discomfort. The best comparison would be a person rubbing his injury to do the same thing.
You will have to take him to a vet as soon as possible. In some cases, you can see a tail that is bent, or a dog can’t move it normally or shows signs of pain while moving it. An X-ray will tell you the main cause of the problem here.
6. Due To Hot Spot
Hot spots are common in dogs. These are basically small but open wounds that will be moist and probably end up covered with bacteria. Then we can see a secondary infection! Hot spots occur when your dog scratches or bites one part of his body on a regular basis. He will be in discomfort and pain.
You will probably see pus, blood, or the whole wound on the tail or the base of the tail. You need to take your pet to a vet. He must draw the blood and diagnose the issue. He also must prescribe proper treatment.
Observing and Identifying the Cause
Determining the root cause of tail-chewing in dogs is crucial for effective intervention. It’s not always straightforward, as this behavior can stem from a variety of factors, ranging from physical discomfort to psychological distress. To unravel this mystery, a keen observation of your dog’s overall behavior and environment is essential. Here are some tips to guide you in identifying the underlying reasons:
Monitor Your Dog’s Routine:
Pay close attention to when the tail-chewing occurs. Is it more prevalent during certain times of the day or in specific situations? This can provide valuable clues. For instance, if it happens more when your dog is left alone, it might indicate separation anxiety.
Look for Patterns:
Does the behavior coincide with any changes in your dog’s life or routine? New pets, moving houses, or changes in the family dynamic can all trigger stress-related behaviors like tail-chewing.
Regularly inspect your dog’s tail for signs of injury, irritation, or parasites. Even small changes, such as dry skin or minor wounds, can prompt your dog to chew its tail.
Allergic reactions to food or environmental factors can cause discomfort and itching, leading to tail-chewing. Keep an eye out for other signs of allergies, such as scratching, ear infections, or changes in coat condition.
Observe your dog’s general behavior. Are there signs of boredom, like destructive behavior or excessive barking? Does your dog exhibit signs of anxiety, such as pacing or whining? These cues can be indicators of underlying issues that manifest as tail-chewing.
Seek Professional Advice:
If you’re struggling to identify the cause, don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian. They can conduct a thorough examination and rule out any medical issues. In cases of suspected behavioral problems, a professional dog behaviorist can provide insights and strategies.
By diligently observing and identifying the cause, you can take the first crucial steps toward addressing your dog’s tail-chewing habit. Understanding the root of the problem is key to providing the right solution and ensuring your furry friend’s well-being.
Here’s What You Should Do
If this happens to your pet, there are three things you need to do. The first one is to determine the cause. Examine his tail and the base of the tail. If you find injuries, hot spots, or anything similar on the tail, you will have to react, and you will have to take him to a vet and get the treatment. Usually, you can see the damage or the hot spot on the tail, so you will know what you are dealing with.
The second thing is to treat the main cause of the problem here. A vet will prescribe a treatment, and you must follow it. Usually, these are not invasive or risky treatments, and your pet will show signs of improvement within hours or days. There is no need to tell you that the treatment and its duration will depend on the main problem.
The third thing here is to discourage this behavior if your pet starts showing it again. Simply put, tell him no every single time he wants to bite his tail. Once again, you need to examine the tail and make sure there are no injuries or anything similar that will force him to bite the tail.
Now you know. Why do dogs chew their tails? The question is important, but the answers are mandatory to know. This is something all dog owners need to know about, and they can help their dogs within seconds rather than ignoring the issue or taking them to a vet immediately. Sadly, it is one of the most common things your dog will do at some point.