Why Does My Puppy Bite His Tail? | Should You Stop Them?

Puppies have the ability to make us laugh with their mischievous and goofy behavior. One of the most well-known silly actions puppies do involve them running in circles while chasing after their own tail in endless pursuit. Though it seems that this action is nothing but a funny harmless habit, did you know that the reason behind your puppy chasing can be a serious issue? 

It is fascinating to see your puppy chase their tail, but if it appears to happen frequently, especially if there is also gnawing and biting involved, it is likely that something is bothering your puppy. Which leads us to question why a puppy bites his tail. And… Should you stop your puppy from biting his tail?

The fact that we can’t figure out immediately what’s causing our puppy’s tail-biting doesn’t mean it’s pointless or unfounded. There is always a reason for tail biting. Parasites, environmental skin allergies, dietary allergies, hot spots, anxiety, boredom,  impacted anal glands, hormonal imbalances, and OCD are the most common reasons for tail biting and tail chewing in dogs. In general, tail chasing is okay, but when there is already biting or gnawing involved, and if it happens too often, then definitely, you should do something to stop this behavior.

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  1. Parasites: Worms, Ticks, and Fleas

It is common for dogs to be infected with fleas and ticks, particularly during the warmer months of the spring and summer. As with humans who are allergic to the saliva of cats or dogs, some dogs are allergic to ticks and fleas, but not to the presence of ticks and fleas, but to the saliva in the bites of ticks and fleas. It’s not unusual for these parasites to dwell in your canine’s tail, causing him to scratch or bite it on a consistent basis.

A dog suffering from an untreated flea allergy may bite repeatedly at the site of the allergic reaction until they break their own skin in an attempt to get relief from the allergy. Additionally, tapeworms can also make the area around the anus so uncomfortable that a dog feels impelled to nibble at the base of her tail. 

What to do: With the proper medication, regular bathing, and a visit to the veterinarian, it is not difficult to overcome these parasites.

 

©Greenfield Puppies
  1. Allergies to the Environment

Environmental allergies in your dog are commonly caused by household chemicals, molds, and pollen. Puppies between the ages of 3 months and 6 months are more sensitive to environmental and dietary allergies than older puppies. Environmental allergies could be the source of your dog’s tail-biting activity, which you have witnessed recently.

What to do: Take your dog to your veterinarian for an allergy test. Furthermore, some of the substances you put on their skin may induce allergic reactions. Before allowing your dog to use your dog soap, make sure to check the chemical content.

 

  1. Anxiety and Stress  


Dogs do suffer stress and anxiety at some point in their lives. Separation anxiety can cause destructive behavior, especially for puppies often left alone in the house with nothing to do. Puppies usually bite their tails to fight anxiety and stress.  

What to do: Regular exercise is recommended for all puppies. Additionally, giving them toys good for mental and physical stimulation will keep them busy and happy while you are not home. Busy dogs are happy dogs.

 

  1. Food Allergy

Puppies suffering from food allergies can really have a hard time. Food allergies are not the usual sneezing and wheezing your pup does when they are experiencing environmental allergy, rather it involves a variety of skin problems that require prompt attention from a veterinarian. Poultry, wheat, potatoes, and even some vegetables can cause allergies in dogs. Beef, dairy, corn, wheat, and soy are the most common dog food allergies.

What to do: If your dog does have a food allergy, your veterinarian may advise you to switch to a single protein diet for the time being. It is typically a diet that includes rare meats such as kangaroo, rabbit, and duck, among others. If your dog’s tail-biting ceases after you change his or her diet, it is likely that he or she was suffering from a food allergy that is causing tail biting and other skin irritations. 

 

  1. Hot Spots

The condition known as hot spots is characterized by localized areas of skin irritation and bacterial infection, also known as acute moist dermatitis (AMD). When a hot spot first appears, it is often mistaken for an insect bite because the area is so small and red in color. Scratching, licking, or chewing the affected area is a common cause of hot spots. Inflammation and subsequent bacterial infections occur as a result of the trauma to the skin. In the worst-case scenario, this self-trauma just serves to irritate the area worse, leading to an endless cycle of itching and scratching. This means that any condition that makes your dog itch has the potential to develop to a hot spot.

What to do: The first step is to see your veterinarian if you feel your dog has a hot spot. Refusing to treat the hot spot will just make it worse. Your veterinarian will need to establish the underlying cause of the hot spot in order to appropriately treat it and prevent it from repeating.

 

©Outward Hound
  1. Impacted Anal Glands

When your dog bites his tail all the way up to his buttocks, it may be an indication of an impacted anal gland. The anal glands of dogs are crucial for their overall health and socializing with other dogs. In addition to tail biting, additional indicators that your dog may be suffering from impacted anal glands include constipation (difficulty defecating), a bad stench emanating from the rear end, or scooting around (getting into a sitting position and dragging its butt across the ground).

What to do: Leave it to the experts! If you feel your dog’s anal glands are impacted, contact your veterinarian right away for assistance.

 

  1. Injury

Dogs have the knack for concealing their injuries. Sometimes they need to bring attention to their injured hindquarter or fractured tailbone to let you know they are in pain by biting their tail. 

What to do: Seek medical help from your veterinarian to address the injury. Only veterinary x-rays can accurately diagnose such a problem. In addition, veterinarians can provide pain treatment for the injuries.

 

  1. Boredom

When you’ve ruled out all of the other possible causes, your dog may be tail-biting out of boredom. It could have started out as a health problem, but it could have developed into an obsessive behavior that continues even after the original problem has been resolved because well, your pup just does not have anything else to do.

What to do: Your canine will need to be retrained. You must make certain that your pup’s energy is well spent. Give them plenty of opportunities to play and focus their attention on something more exciting. Show your appreciation to them once they have ceased biting their own tail!! Try to build up enough positive associations in your dog’s mind so that he’ll leave his tail alone.

Now that you know about the possible reasons why your dog might be giving a lot of attention to its tail; let us move to the next step: finding the right solution for the tail biting issue of your puppy. Below is additional information on how to deal with your puppy’s tail biting.


How to Stop Your Puppy from Tail Biting? 

Your puppy’s tail-biting problem can be solved on a case-by-case basis, depending on the root cause of the problem. Below are a few examples of possible treatment programs that you could use to assist your dog to quit biting its tail.

  • Make an appointment with your veterinarian

A dog that is excessively biting at its tail should be taken to a veterinarian for an examination and treatment. A veterinarian can examine your dog and do a few diagnostic tests, which can aid in the identification of the underlying cause of the tail biting.

  • Impacted glands may need to be lanced and your pooch may be prescribed antibiotics and pain medication. 
  • Medications are routinely used to treat environmental allergies. External parasites can be treated with flea and tick prophylactic medication while internal parasites can be treated by deworming.
  • For injuries, an x-ray may be necessary to confirm and treat the fractured tail.
©BeChewy

  • Dietary changes

Identifying which foods are causing your dog’s allergic reaction and eliminating them from his diet is the best remedy if your dog is biting their tail because of food allergies. After switching to an allergy-free diet, many pet owners are shocked at how rapidly their dogs’ behavior and skin change. Additionally, adjusting your pet’s food can help to prevent your pup from developing impacted glands. A high-fiber diet may aid in the prevention of loose stools. Hard stool will increase the pressure on the glands, allowing them to emit more fluid.

  • Preventing their behavior

Interfere and discourage the tail-biting behavior of your puppy if this is the first time you’ve noticed him doing it. For example, a bitter spray could be applied to their tail to prevent them from biting or chewing it. Dog cones are also equally helpful in these cases. If your puppy is trained to follow commands, you can also use orders such as “No” and “Leave it” whenever he bites his tail. Offering rewards whenever he does not bite his tail and positive reinforcement is also helpful.

©Chicago Tribune

  • Apply a flea and tick spot treatment to the affected area

Applying a monthly spot treatment for flea and tick can help to prevent and stop an infestation. Many topical remedies are effective within 24 hours, allowing you to provide relief to your pet as soon as possible. Puppies are particularly more susceptible to flea and tick infestation on their tail area because the tail is less thick than the body. 

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