Dogs Biting Their Tails: What It Means and How to Address It

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Seeing your dog bite or chew its tail may seem like ordinary fun, but this action often may signify underlying behavioral or medical problems.

By guest blogger, Ruth Riley

Seeing your dog bite or chew its tail may seem like ordinary fun, especially when your dog does so occasionally or during play. Sometimes, tail-chasing may be an invitation for you to play with your pet.

However, if tail biting becomes habitual, this action may signify underlying behavioral or medical problems.

Because dogs cannot communicate in a language humans understand, you have to interpret your dog’s actions and gestures instead. It could be helpful to install a security camera to monitor your pets anytime, remotely easily. In this case, frequent tail biting may suggest the dog’s attempt to relieve itself of stress or pain.

Some pet owners may turn to alternative remedies to help their dogs relieve discomfort or anxiety manifested through tail biting. However, some issues that cause dogs to bite their tails may need additional medication or treatment.

Identifying the causes of tail biting allows you to address those causes and help bring relief to your dog.

Possible Causes of Dog Tail Biting

There are several reasons why dogs bite or chew their tails, and dogs may be afflicted with more than one of these causes simultaneously.

A study on the risk factors of tail-chasing among dogs suggests that genetics and the environment may cause dogs to chase their tails. This behavior may lead dogs to spin in circles or start biting their tails.

In another study, researchers noted that tail-chasing dogs are generally more fearful and shy. The tail-chasing dogs in the study also showed less aggressive behavior towards humans, indicating that the canines would bite, growl, or bark less.

Identifying the possible causes of tail chasing and tail biting may help you get the proper treatment or medication to address these issues.

Skin Allergies

Some allergies may cause skin inflammation or dermatitis that may irritate dogs, leading them to chew their tails. This reaction is almost similar to why you scratch your skin when you feel itchy.

These allergies may be caused by insects like fleas and ticks or environmental elements like dust, molds, or pollen. Some shampoo or soap brands may also irritate the dog’s skin.

Your pet’s allergic reaction to these causes may turn severe, especially when your dog is young, around three to six months, or has sensitive skin.

Stress or Confinement

Dogs experiencing stress, boredom, or confinement may need an outlet to release their pent-up energy and amuse themselves. Some dogs may start chewing on shoes, carpets, or the couch. In the absence of these items, other dogs may begin biting themselves.

If your dog spends too much time confined in a small space, your dog may likely become restless and seek ways to get attention. One of those ways is tail biting.

Parasitic Infestation

Parasites like fleas or ticks may cause discomfort or allergic reactions in dogs. These reactions are usually caused not by the presence of these parasites but by the saliva they release when they bite into the dog’s skin.

These reactions may cause the dog to continuously scratch itself or bite its tail to relieve irritation and itchiness.

Tapeworms are another type of parasite that grows and resides in the dog’s intestine. Your pet may become infected if it consumes meat infected with tapeworm cysts.

Tapeworm infestation may cause discomfort in the area around your dog’s anus, which may lead to your dog attempting to bite its tail to relieve the irritation.

If left unresolved, your dog may injure itself due to the constant tail biting.

Hind Injuries

When dogs experience pain, they may start chewing their tails for pain relief. Such pain may be caused by injuries or wounds, like when the dog’s tail gets caught in a closing door.

Sometimes, these kinds of pain may go unnoticed unless the biting becomes more frequent and you observe changes in your dog’s behavior.

Depending on the intensity of the pain caused by the injury, a dog may exhibit behaviors, starting with tail licking to excessive biting or chewing.

Canine Anal Gland Issues

Canine anal glands are essential for a dog’s social needs, like marking its territory or identifying itself with other dogs. These glands secrete fluids that dogs smell when meeting other canines.

This socializing behavior may be one reason dogs attempt to smell the other’s rear end whenever they have the chance.

If your dog has trouble with its anal glands, your pet may start scooting or dragging its rear on the ground while walking.

Sometimes, your dog may excrete a foul smell from its rear or experience constipation. In extreme cases, the dog’s feces may have blood or pus in them.

The dog may also start biting its tail to relieve the pain and discomfort caused by anal gland problems.

How to Address Dog Tail Biting

While occasional tail biting may seem ordinary and harmless, doing so may indicate that your dog has a problem.

Dogs may experience a wide range of issues that cause them to bite or chew their tails.

Some of these issues may be noticeable on the surface, like skin allergies or parasitic infestations. Others may not be immediately visible, like anal gland problems or stress and boredom.

If left unresolved, those causes may escalate into more significant health issues for your dog.

A few essential solutions may help relieve the discomfort that causes your dog to bite its tail.

For example, if you think your dog has sensitive skin, consider changing your pet’s soap and shampoo to suit its skin type. If your dog has fleas or ticks, using flea preventatives or flea shampoos are some solutions to remove those parasites.

A dog experiencing stress or boredom may need more time to spend playing or performing physical activities. Dogs feeling a sense of confinement may need to be given extra room to move around.

Frequent visits to the veterinarian may also help detect problems early on or prevent those issues from escalating.

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If you have performed some of these solutions and your dog continues biting its tail frequently, arrange an appointment with a veterinarian for a complete checkup and diagnosis.

about the author

Ruth Riley is an educator and writer. She teaches linguistics to college students and also conducts studies about CBD. She believes CBD is one of the best natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs and that it is worth more in-depth research and understanding. By utilizing her expertise in teaching and writing, she wishes to educate more people regarding CBD’s health benefits through her work found in

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Welcome to Spike’s Dog Blog by Acme Canine. Throughout the site, you will find a variety of helpful dog training articles, insightful dog behavior tips, and truthful product reviews from nationally-recognized canine trainers and professionals.