Why Is Your Dog Biting His Tail?
18 January, 2017
dog bite tail

It is a normal occurrence for your dog to chase his tail and even bite it to extract something from it.  But, if your dog chews his tail frequently, it can lead to bleeding and infection.  There are a few reasons why your dog might have started the biting and the sooner you figure out the cause, the sooner you can stop the biting.

As always, if the biting seems to be a health related issue, take your dog the veterinarian to evaluate your pup.    A preliminary evaluation at home could help narrow in to why your dog is chewing on his tail.

Your dog might have developed an allergy or a skin condition

If your dog has never taken a particular interest in his tail, it could be an allergy or skin-related issue.  Did you make any changes to your dog’s diet?  Anything different in your home that might cause a skin ailment.  Pollen, grasses and chemicals are just a few of the causes of common skin allergies in dogs. Also keep an eye out for possible wounds, swelling, crusts, bleeding, odor or pus in the tail area.

Fleas, ticks or other parasites can cause your dog to bit his tail

Fleas and ticks are common enough seasonal afflictions for dogs. We’ve all seen a dog scratch at a spot on his body where fleas are bouncing around or a tick has attached itself. Fleas may congregate on the tail, especially near the underside, causing sudden itchy fits. Tapeworms may cause anal itching that makes your dog bite the base of his tail to get relief. Occasionally, other pesky parasites may cause bouts of intense tail-biting in dogs.

Anal gland issues can cause your dogs to bite at the base or around his tail

If your dog is biting the base of his tail and the nearby area, anal glands may be the root of the problem and your vet can take a closer look.  One clear sign that a dog is having an anal gland issue is scooting, when he sits up and drags his butt across the ground. Other symptoms include a fouler-than-normal

Hot spots can lead to some biting if the spot is near his tail

A hot spot is an area on your dog’s body where repeated scratching or chewing leads to the creation of an open wound. Warmth and moisture are the optimal conditions for hot spots to form.  You can tell if it is a hot spot if an area is bloody, pussy or your dog’s hair is matted.  Apple cider vinegar is great cure for a hot spots.

Chronic long term pain or injury can cause your dog to chew at the area

Some dogs suffering from hip pain or some other skeletal or spinal abnormality shows their pain through on-going tail biting.  The intensity of the dog’s pain may lead her to act on or draw attention to it by excessive chewing, biting, or licking at the affected area. Only veterinary X-rays will be able to properly diagnose such an issue.

Stress, anxiety or even boredom can cause some tail biting

Stress, anxiety, and boredom can lead dogs into a host of destructive and repetitive behaviors: tearing up your favorite shoes, and sometimes dogs turn to themselves to act out.  If your dog is not getting enough exercise, playing or mental stimulation, your dog might turn to tail biting as ways to get attention.  The obvious remedy is to increase the walking and make sure your dog is tired and not gnawing at his tail.


One thought on “Why Is Your Dog Biting His Tail?”

  1. My dog is constantly chewing/scratching his rear and ears and periodically shaking his head. He has no fleas and aside from a clear spot near his anus from chewing, his coat is in very nice shape. He does not have fleas. I took in 3 rescue cats and that’s when it started. They have recently started scratching their ears….no black residue like you’d see in ear mites. One had a clear fluid. I have tried benadryl on the dog with no effect.

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