why is my dog biting his tail

As a dog owner, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between a behavioral episode or a medical condition that needs to be addressed. An example would be if your dog is biting its tail. If your dog is chewing its tail, what should you do? Determining the right steps to take to find a solution to a problem can be challenging given the vast amount of conflicting and sometimes confusing information on the internet. To help you find a solution to this problem, here’s a guide on what to do if your dog bites his tail. The first step you must take is to determine the cause of the dog’s tail biting, then determine the right solution to stop the dog from biting the tail, and the last step is to work that solution all the way to the tail. bite is repaired.

Why is my dog ​​biting its tail?


Before you can find solutions and fix tail biting, you first need to understand why your dog is biting his tail. There are a number of different possible reasons why a dog may start biting his tail more than usual, and pinpointing the right cause will greatly increase the probability that treatment will work and correct the tail biting. Finding the underlying cause of tail biting can involve trial and error, and may require taking your dog to the vet in some cases. Here are some of the most common reasons dogs start biting their tails.


Many people don’t know that dogs can have allergies just like humans. Dogs can have a variety of allergies, from food allergies to environmental allergies. If your dog bites his tail, it may be because he is having an environmental or food allergy. Some of the most common environmental allergens include mold, pollen, or household chemicals. Dogs can also have food allergies, and some dogs are allergic to poultry, wheat, potatoes, or even certain vegetables. To check for this, your veterinarian may do allergy testing to see what environmental or food allergies your dog may have. Dogs can also be allergic to fleas, ticks, or ticks, which can cause dermatitis (inflammation of the skin). These allergic reactions are often worse when they are young, with the most severe reactions usually appearing in dogs between three months and six years of age. Some dogs may also be allergic to the products you use on them, such as shampoo. If they’re allergic to something they’re bathing in, it can cause their skin to become inflamed, itchy, and irritated, prompting them to chew on their tails to relieve the discomfort.

Stress and anxiety

Another condition dogs experience is stress and anxiety. When some dogs begin to feel stressed or anxious, such as when their owners go to work, they may engage in destructive and repetitive behaviors to try to assuage their anxiety. they. While many dogs turn this stress into destructive behaviors in their environment, they can redirect anxiety inwards if confined in a kennel. For some dogs, stress can manifest in tail chewing behavior. Dogs that did not receive regular exercise, did not engage in mentally stimulating activities, or did not receive interactive play were more likely to exhibit stress with anxiety-related behaviors such as tail chewing. For some dogs, tail chewing can be an attempt to get the owner’s attention.

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Parasitic infection

Dogs can chew their tails in response to a parasite infestation. Fleas and ticks are a common pain that dogs experience, especially during the warmer spring and summer months. Many dog ​​owners are familiar with the way many dogs react to a flea or tick bite, scratching, licking, or chewing on the spot in an attempt to comfort themselves and remove the parasite. Many owners will give their dog oral medication, a medicated bath, or a medicated collar to prevent fleas or ticks from spreading. get bitten by fleas or fleas more often. Many dogs with an undiagnosed flea allergy will chew and bite at the allergy site to seek relief. Also, if your dog is suffering from a tapeworm, it can cause discomfort in the area around the anus causing the dog to try to nibble or bite their tail to get rid of the discomfort.


Hot spots develop on the surface of a dog’s body when they repeatedly scratch, chew, or bite an area of ​​skin until an open wound is created. Hot spots often form in environments with moisture and warmth. Because they often grow in warm and humid conditions, dogs are susceptible to secondary infections that develop when bacteria are introduced into a wound before it can be treated properly. Hot spots on a dog’s body are usually identifiable by ruffled hair, lack of hair, blood or pus, scaly or red, irritated skin. If your dog bites his tail frequently, they may have formed a hotspot that creates a back-and-forth chewing cycle as your dog tries to comfort himself.

Affected anal glands

Some dogs may bite or chew their tail due to the anal gland being affected. For a dog, its anal gland is extremely important to their health and is a social tool for them to get to know other dogs and to allow other dogs to know them. Humans traditionally shake hands when they meet, but a dog will secrete fluid from its anal glands that other dogs will smell when they meet. This is why dogs will smell each other’s tails when they meet. In addition to tail biting, other signs that your dog may have anal gland involvement include constipation (difficulty passing stools), a foul smell coming from the rear of the car, or a growl (sitting in a sitting position). sitting position and dragging your butt on the ground). If the anal glands are severely affected, dogs may begin to have pus or blood in their stools.


Some dogs can have rear-end injuries and not warn their owners. If your dog injures his hind leg, they may start chewing or biting on the affected area to bring attention to their injury. An example of an injury that can sometimes go unnoticed is if a dog breaks its tailbone.

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Just like humans, some dogs develop unusual habits that they exhibit when feeling bored. Many people will bite their nails when bored, shake their feet, or play with their hair. For a dog, these responses to boredom can manifest in different ways. Some dogs may obsessively bite or chew their tail when bored, a behavior that mimics what humans call obsessive-compulsive disorder. This can be harmful over time, and some dogs can get injured by biting themselves into their skin.

Hormonal imbalance

In some dogs, a hormonal imbalance can lead to them biting their tails. If the dog’s body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone naturally or if it produces an excess of cortisol, the dog is at increased risk of developing a superficial skin infection. Some dogs may experience baldness in the affected area and will bite and chew in the affected area to relieve their discomfort.

Determine the right solution for your dog

Once you’ve determined why your dog is biting its tail, the next step is to identify the right solution to correct their behavior or treat the underlying problem. Finding the right solution will vary from case to case, especially since there are so many reasons why dogs bite their tails. It is important that you work with your veterinarian to ensure that you have identified the source of the behavior and are taking the appropriate steps to treat the problem. Here are some possible treatment plans that can be implemented to help you prevent your dog from biting its tail.

Change of food

If your dog’s tail biting is due to a food allergy, the solution is to determine which foods are causing the allergic reaction and then eliminate them from the dog’s diet. Your veterinarian can do food sensitivity or allergy testing or determine the source of an allergic reaction and may recommend a special diet based on the results. Many pet owners are surprised at how quickly their dog’s behavior and skin changes when they switch to a diet that doesn’t cause any allergic reactions.

Remove parasites

If your dog bites his tail due to parasites, it is important that you deal with them. There are countless flea and tick treatments you can try based on your veterinarian’s recommendations. If tail biting is in response to fleas, it is important that you wash all of your dog’s bedding, clean the house and furniture, and maintain a scheduled flea treatment to prevent re-occurrence. broadcast. If you have any other animals in the house with a flea-infested dog, they will also need to be treated for fleas.

Using drugs

For a number of different underlying conditions, your veterinarian may recommend medication to treat the problem. If your dog has dry, flaky skin that’s causing them to itch, they may need topical treatments or oral medications to help get their skin back to normal. If your dog is experiencing heat, they may need a topical solution to help relieve itching and an antibiotic to prevent infection at the hot site. If your dog is suffering from allergies or skin infections, they may need antibiotics, steroids, or anti-itch products to help reduce tail biting.

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Correction and Prevention of Behavior

If your dog is exhibiting a compulsive behavior, such as tail biting, it is important that you intervene and take conscientious steps to help prevent them from exhibiting this behavior. This means using a spray of bitter to prevent them from biting their tail or placing them in a collar to prevent them from biting into hot spots or itching in the tail. It is important that you repeatedly tell your dog “No” or “Ignore” when they exhibit a behavior that needs to be stopped. You can use positive reinforcement to encourage them not to bite their tail, for example, if they stop at your command, you can give them their favorite toy as a reward.

Coping with boredom or anxiety

Some dogs may act out because they are bored or anxious. In these cases, it is important to ensure that your dog is adequately exercised, mentally and emotionally stimulated. The destructive behaviors usually decrease when all of the dog’s needs are met. Also, train your dog to direct chewing or biting where it’s allowed, such as biting a toy or chewing a bone, and not at their tail.

Implement the Solution

While tail biting treatment may not be the same for every dog, all solutions need to be implemented in a consistent manner for them to be effective. If your dog is biting his tail out of boredom, you need to work with him to find the right solutions to keep him mentally and physically stimulated. Whichever solution you use with your dog, make sure you stick to it until the behavior is corrected.


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  • Corrigan, Ryan. “Prevent a dog from biting its tail.” WikiHow, May 28, 2018, Retrieved February 28, 2018. topqa.info/Stop-a-Dog-from-Biting-Its-Tail.
  • “Chasing Tails – Does your dog chase their tails?” Vetwest Animal Hospital, April 20, 2018, Accessed February 28, 2018. topqa.info/pet-library/tail-chasing-does-your-dog-chase-their-tail.
  • “Forced licking, biting and scratching in dogs.” WebMD, Retrieved February 28, 2018. topqa.info/dogs/guide/dogs-and-compulsive-scratching-licking-and-chewing.
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