Dogs express countless things with their whole body. You will have seen that they communicate very well when they want to "say" something: they move the tail, the ears, they change their postures and much more to make us understand what they want. But it is true that sometimes there are gestures or behaviors that are difficult for us to understand at first sight.
As an example of this, we may have observed your dog looking very interested in the tail, then suddenly chases it and starts nibbling on it nonstop. Have you ever wondered why he does it? What communicates with that behavior?
In Expert Animal we want to help you better understand your faithful friend and offer you possible solutions to their health and behavior problems through our articles. Therefore we recommend that you do not stay with the doubt of Why does my dog bite its tail?and keep reading this article where you will find the most common reasons why your dog can behave like this.
Physical health problems that lead a dog to bite his tail
When we observe that our dog is nibbling the tail, the first thing we will have to see is whether it is diseases or physical problems. To know why my dog bites its tail you should rule out some of these health problems:
- External parasites: It is possible that our dog has fleas or ticks in that area of the tail and is trying to get rid of them and the itching caused by bites. Be sure to deworm your dog externally and internally with the periodicity indicated in each case to avoid skin problems and other diseases.
- Wounds: Especially when our friend is a great explorer, he may return from the walk with some skin wounds. Try to check the skin and coat of the entire body after each walk, so you will ensure that you have no injuries and if you have them you can heal them. Obviously if you have a wound in the tail, it will turn until it reaches the area due to the stinging and try to lick and nibble, it is normal, but we must avoid being infected and help.
- Anal glands: When the anal glands do not empty as often as they should, various problems can occur from inflammation, to cysts and other diseases. This will cause great discomfort and pain to your dog in the area of the anus and the base of the tail. For this reason, he will not hesitate to try to scratch himself to relieve himself and you will see him nibbling his tail. What you should do is take it to the vet to examine the glands and empty or cure them depending on the severity of the problem.
- Skin problems: You may bite your tail and other parts of your body due to some skin diseases such as fungus, scabies or allergies. Again, the best thing you can do is check the skin in the areas you see that it bites and scratches and discuss it with your trusted veterinarian to find the problem and be able to solve it soon.
- Herniated discs and other spinal problems: Dogs may also have problems along the spine such as osteoarthritis, which can occur in all joints of the dog's body including the spine, and herniated discs. We must bear in mind that the dog that suffers from any of these problems will notice some pain or tingling in the affected area. If, for example, the problem is developing in the tail, at the base of the tail or the lumbar, we will surely observe how one turns to look at that part and nibble on it to see what happens.
These are the main physical health problems that can result in the nibbling of the tail in a dog. We recommend that before any symptoms or discomfort presented by your faithful partner go to your vet to perform an exploration and the tests that are necessary to find an appropriate treatment.
It may be that the fact that your dog is chasing and nibbling the tail is a "simple" game. But this will only be the case if you have never seen him do it before or if he has done it sometimes very distances throughout his life and without having meant a change in his character. In addition, before thinking that it is an entertainment, you should make sure that the problems discussed in the previous section are not really the cause of being bitten.
He may simply have been very bored for hours and in the end he opted for this "game." Really this It is not the most common since once it starts like this, if the cause is not observed and corrected as soon as possible, it will not take long to become a serious behavior problem, which we will discuss later in this article. For this reason, if you see that your dog does this, it's like a first step towards a behavioral and mental health problem, do not quarrel, but to start you should invite him to do other activities and ensure that he does not get bored or be alone for a long time.
A behavioral and mental health problem
What is usually more frequent, is that a dog the tail is bitten by a behavioral and mental health problem. What begins as a "simple game" will soon become a serious problem difficult to correct if it is not caught in time.
A dog will start chasing his tail until he grabs it and bites it, even in serious situations it can get hurt and mutilate, due to a case of lack of socialization, boredom, confinement and abandonment by who is in charge of him. Above all, it is typical of dogs that spend their lives locked up or tied in the same place. In the end, over time, they must redirect the energy and get distracted as they can and this is one of the most common ways they do it. This is one of the most common causes of why a dog bites its tail.
This type of repetitive behavior and used as an escape route is known as stereotypy and it can be suffered by all kinds of animals that are locked up or confined, whether in zoos, animal shelters that are up to cases or in private homes. But, it is possible that this problem of biting the tail, happen to your dog and think that you do not have it in such bad conditions as we have expressed so far. Of course a dog can suffer a stereotypy without being in such extreme conditions. But if so, you should rethink what you are not doing correctly with your mental health, since it is likely that you are lacking exercise, routine, socializing with other dogs and animals, among more aspects, and that you are highly stressed.
If you notice that your dog bites its tail compulsively and you have ruled out physical health problems, you should go to a ethologist specialist to help you improve the quality of life of your partner and solve the problem. Remember that, like everything that has to do with health, the earlier the problem is diagnosed and begins to be solved, the better the prognosis for recovery.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my dog bite its tail?, we recommend that you enter our Behavior Problems section.
What psychological problems can you have?
Now, if your dog's treatment is based on a routine O well, you are condemned to loneliness daily... begins to suspect that he is suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder.
The stress generated by the canine do not leave home, not receive love or accustom it to monotonous walks and without fun, they can lead to this problem: your dog will bite its tail as an adult, as a tic or stereotyped behavior. We assure you that this custom is only a way of transform your inner frustration into physical pain.
In this case, we recommend that you speak with a ethologist or canine trainer, can help you define and discover the reason why your dog bites its tail and help you overcome it together.
Remember, a dog is a living being, a partner, and a friend. It is in your hand to prevent damage and return all the love and love he gives you.
Physical activity, entertainment and attention they are also your duties Don't let him suffer for his absence!
Reasons why your dog bites its tail
If instead the bite is the base of the tail, your dog may have parasites, or itching due to a skin disease or lack of hygiene.
Flea bites can trigger allergic reactions in dogs, and cause dermatitis (flea saliva allergy), fleas are commonly found near the base of the dog's tail.
A skin infection, eczema or a painful wound could also be the cause of the dog biting its tail.
Dogs with amputated tails, often bite due to the presence of Morton's neuromas, these benign masses, consist of nerve fibers and scar tissue, and cause pain.
Dogs with neuromas bite and lick this area in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort it produces, in this case the neuroma should be removed.
Sometimes it is a compulsive behavior
Some breeds such as German shepherds are more likely to develop this type of compulsive disorder, often present this behavior when they are puppies and overcome it as they grow.
Generally this behavior appears due to stress or anxiety, more frequently in working dogs by nature that do not receive the necessary attention, are dogs with very high activity needs and that do not tolerate loneliness and inactivity too well.
What can we do to help the dog?
First make sure that there is no health problem or wounds in the tail, also that the dog has no external parasites, an eczema, or excess dirt that can cause itching.
Keep your dog's mind and body active in order to avoid stress, go for a walk with him daily several times and go to places where he can run loose, sniff and play with other dogs to channel energy.
When your dog bites its tail again, you must be careful not to reinforce this behavior by paying attention at the time it does, it should not receive any attention, it is important not to scold him at that time either to avoid a negative reinforcement.
If you see that you do not get your dog to stop biting its tail, go to a positive educator to advise you on the correct way to stop this unwanted behavior in your dog.
Emergence of parasites
Parasites may be a reason why dogs bite their tails, but not the only one. When your dog bites its tail repeatedly, it may be the presence of fleas or ticks that causes your pet to walk behind its tail and bite it endlessly. You have to be vigilant in these opportunities, since, dermatitis can occur in which your dog can get hurt.
Can be psychological
If the tail bites are constantly accompanied by groans and groans, you can be talking about an obsession and even a psychological disorder, which can cause stress in the animal in which it ends up causing damage that is difficult to cure, since it would bite in that area regularly. I recommend using the cone to treat wound healing.
Although it seems funny when we watch a dog bite its tail, there is a sad reality before this act, because behind this there are problems of a psychological or physical type.
When it is a physical problem, your dog may suffer from skin diseases or have parasites. An irritation in that area can cause you to bite compulsively, so you should take a treatment to calm the symptoms.
Biting the tail and spinning is a common habit in puppies that disappears with their growth, however, if this behavior persists, it could be a physical problem, so it is important to take your dog with the veterinarian to get a diagnosis
In the case of adult dogs that have a habit of biting and chasing their tails, it may be due to the stress it causes not to leave the house, not to receive affection or to get used to monotonous and fun-free walks.
When this custom arises, it is advisable to speak with an ethologist or canine trainer who can help you define and discover the reason why your dog bites its tail.
Do not forget that your dog is a living being, a companion and friend, and it is in your hands to prevent him from suffering damage, so you return all the love and love he gives you.
There is a sad reality to the act of dogs biting their tails. (ARCHIVE)
My dog bites his hind legs, why?
There are several answers to this question. The most common reason to bite your legs and get hurt is stress, for anxiety or fear. If your colleague exhibits compulsive behavior, be it biting your nails or nibbling at the walls of your house, it is usually a symptom that something is not right in your head, that you have unused energy in your body or that you are not happy.
Many PetLovers believe that they take good care of their dogs, but they are wrong because they have not finished understanding that their colleagues need more walks, games and sports than they do. This usually happens in caregivers who have started a romantic relationship or a new job. Without realizing it, they devote less and less attention to their friend, he becomes sad and acquires this type of behavior.
My dog bites its tail and spins, okay?
In case of separation anxiety or depression you may nibble a part of the body or play to catch its tail again and again. Although the second seems a more harmless habit than the first, it is also not healthy. The first time he does it, he sure has been funny, but the fourth time it is normal for you to worry.
The reason is the same: he gets bored, feels lonely and needs exercise. However, you cannot fall asleep on the laurels and believe that because he plays with his tail he is already happy, on the contrary. What he is developing is a compulsive mental disorder.
Both in the first case and in this one, we recommend that you consult with our online ethologists what to do. In general, offer him toys to bite, reward him for doing it, and take what he does as a warning to you: You have to spend more time with him.
My dog bites his thigh and back until he bleeds
Although in most cases this type of behavior is due to stress or anxiety, it is not always the case. Your dog does not know how to express in a loud voice what hurts something, so he uses his teeth and his tongue to do so. Knowing this, what we have to do as caregivers is to look at the part that is nibbling, because there lies the focus of his possible pain.
If we refer to a puppy, one of the most typical diseases that he usually has, especially if you have not rescued him from a protective and you have done with him in a 'farm', it is an infestation of parasites in his belly. Touch your belly, is it hard? In this case, you may have them, that you will chew your belly and lick your anus, because your intestines will hurt.
If the spine, thigh or other part of your body is bitten, the problem may not be internal but external parasites. Check the area, do you see remains of mites or ticks? If yes, go out and ask your veterinarian to apply the corresponding deworming procedure.
My dog bites his paws until he becomes blood
In addition to the fault of the parasites or the wounds that you may have, your dog may be biting because it has a skin problem, a dermatitis caused by an allergy, scabies or not being sufficiently hydrated. It is essential that your colleague always have access to fresh water, drink and consume nutrient-rich foods. That will prevent you from getting skin problems.
But even if you nourish it well, scabies or allergies can attack you. Again, check the area where you bite and consult our veterinarians online. As you can see, these bites are never a good sign. Learn to understand the reasons why they are given and count on us to get a personalized consultation.
And one last thing, download DOGO app.It will help you in the education of your dog through the innovative technique of the "clicker".
Have you been left with doubts? Ask our veterinarians:
Protect the wound
The cure may be another reason why dogs bite their tails, since, after making contact with it, they feel uncomfortable and go looking to see what happened and end up spoiling the cure and making their situation worse. The most advisable is the use of the Elizabethan necklace.
From all this we can say that we know why dogs bite the tail, it is not always because of the presence of fleas, there are more situations that can occur as the aforementioned disorder and we are not aware of what happens. You need to be attentive to your pet to react well to their behaviors.