If our pups bite their tails, we must correct this behavior immediately. However, we must also consider that our dogs might be trying to tell us something by chewing on their seats, indicating many conditions and diseases.
Watching our furry friends chase their tails can be pretty disturbing. Watching them catch it and the absolute bliss on their faces when they did — ah, happy times! However, chasing the tail can also be a severe issue. While amusing from time to time, if your dog continually chases, catches, and bites its tail, you might have a real problem on your hands.
Dogs prone to constant and obsessive tail chasing will not stop at a little nip once they catch it. They will continuously bite and gnaw at it, resulting in a severe injury, which is why I will show you How to Stop a Dog from biting Its Tail.
But even if it’s a symptom, tail chewing must stop as soon as possible. So, how to stop a dog from biting its tail? To be able to address this issue appropriately, we have to determine the cause of it.
How to Stop a Dog from Biting Its Tail Due to Psychological Issues
If we, along with our vets, have exhausted all potential medical issues that could cause tail biting — the previously mentioned parasites, skin conditions, and other issues — we have to start looking into the psyche when searching for the cause of tail biting.
Correcting negative behavior is vital when it comes to dogs biting their tails. So, what to do if tail chewing is caused by stress, boredom, or other environmental and psychological issues? How to stop a dog from biting its tail?
Solution #1 — Exercise
There’s a strong possibility that your dog is under-stimulated and has too much energy. That may lead to tail biting because our dogs don’t know what to do with themselves. The most natural solution is to pay more attention to our dogs and their energy levels.
If you see that your dog is getting restless, take it out for a walk or a run. By releasing the pent-up energy, there’s a good chance that your dog will be too tired or simply content and won’t engage in negative behavior. Regular walks and playtime are essential for the well-being of your dog, and they will impact much more than just tail biting.
Solution #2 — Chew Toys
So you take your dog for regular walks, play with it every day, engage it, yet still bit its tail? Now what? Well, consider investing in some chew toys. Your dog might have a chewing obsession. If that’s the case, you must do your best to redirect this compulsive behavior to something that won’t hurt it as tail biting will.
If your dog has plenty of chew toys but still ignores them in favor of its derriere, try enticing it. A chew toy or a puzzle toy with some treats hidden inside will do wonders to redirect the dog’s attention from the tail to more appropriate items. Hide peanut butter in a puzzle toy or smear some on a chew toy to occupy your dog.
Solution #3 — Correcting the Behavior With Positive Reinforcement
Chew toys are a great solution, but if your dog has obsessive-compulsive biting tendencies, the chew toys won’t work on their own. Like everything else, they are teaching our dogs not to bite their tails takes time and effort.
Pay close attention to your dog. Each time it starts to chew on its behind — stop it. Tell the dog to do something else — sit or lie down — and reward the correct behavior. Eliminating the negative behavior and rewarding the positive one teaches your dog to avoid a particular activity. In this case, that’s tail biting.
You can also use bitter sprays to dissuade your furry friends from gnawing at their tails. That’s an effective tactic, although training the dog to engage in a positive activity instead of the negative is always a better choice than just stopping the harmful action.
How to stop a dog from biting its tail? Be consistent! As with any other negative behavior, consistency is vital. You can’t control your dog from biting its tail one day and then allow it the next. Also, no matter the cause, you shouldn’t reward negative behavior.
Even if a medical condition causes tail biting and you’re tempted to allow a nibble or two to your dog — you shouldn’t. We must take a firm stand when trying to diminish a specific activity.
We must stop our dogs from biting their tails whenever we see them do it. However, our furry buddies can sometimes be sneaky. They’ll go into hiding and chew their seats in peace or wait until we go to bed so we can’t stop them.
To outsmart your dog, put a bell on its collar. You’ll notice it when it inevitably starts chewing because the erratic head movements trigger the bell. No more hiding behind the corner for a bite or two for your buddy!
If we know what triggers tail biting in our dogs, we must do our best to avoid exposing them to it. Whether it’s an environmental, physical, or emotional issue, we must solve it. Removing triggers along with positive reinforcement will go a long way to resolving the problem of how to stop a dog from biting its tail.
How to stop a dog from biting its tail — Causes and Treatments
How to stop a dog from biting its tail is a much bigger problem than determining why it’s doing that. However, finding out the why is, as mentioned, equally important. There are a few different reasons why a dog might go head over heels for its tail and start gnawing at it. Luckily, we can quickly go down the list of potential causes to determine what’s eating at our dog — or what’s making it eat itself.
Anal Gland Issues
Impacted anal glands are one of the most common causes of dogs chewing their little tails. As most dog owners know, anal glands are essential for the well-being of any dog. Not only is their proper function crucial for health, but they also play a vital role in dog-on-dog social interaction. When you see your puppy sniff another one’s behind, it’s sniffing anal gland discharge.
If the anal glands get impacted, they get itchy. Thus, our doggies do their best to scratch at them — they scoot over the floor or try to gnaw at them—usually both.
You’ll notice an impacted anal gland quite quickly. Aside from the weird behavior, your dog will also have a smelly butt.
How to Stop a Dog from Biting Its Tail to Ease Anal Gland Issues
Even though anal gland issues are relatively easy to spot, it’s still vital that you have a professional confirm the diagnosis. After all, there’s little you can do on your own.
So if you see your dog scooting or chewing its tail, pay a visit to the doggie’s least favorite place — the vet. Make sure you explain the behavior and ask for advice. More often than not, a vet will prescribe medication and other treatments. If the gland is severely impacted, your furry friend will have to receive a round of antibiotics. Once those kick in, the chewing should stop.
If the gland isn’t severely impacted, there’s a chance that it will empty itself. The gland gets emptied every time the dog goes potty. Therefore, minor impaction can be solved relatively quickly. In those cases, a vet will prescribe a high-fiber diet.
The anal gland sacks will once again play their nature-assigned role. However, if you’re a seasoned dog owner, you can solve the problem yourself. If the gland isn’t severely impacted, you can empty it manually by massaging it with your fingers. Ah, the things we do for our best friends!
Most first-time dog owners are surprised when they hear their dogs are allergic to something. Like humans, dogs can be allergic to the most ordinary (sometimes inconvenient) things — poultry, eggs, pork, etc. Moreover, they can also be allergic to something from their environment, like plant life, other animal hair, chemicals, mold, etc.
Allergic irritation may cause your furry buddies to chew their behinds. Moreover, insects like fleas, ticks, or mites can also create an allergic reaction. These little creatures are the most common cause of dogs chewing themselves all over the body (tail included).
Not to mention, insect bites can also lead to inflamed skin and other irritation, so you must treat them rather than letting your dog chew its way through them. Thus, that’s something you should pay strict attention to.
How to Stop a Dog from Biting Its Tail Due to Allergies
400;”>This particular cause of dogs biting their tails warrants another trip to the vet. Your vet can do an allergy test to determine if your dog is allergic to something. Once you have that information, the best (and only really) solution is to remove the triggers from the environment. Food allergies are the easiest to deal with, as you must change the puppy’s diet.
Various skin issues can cause irritation, inflammation, swelling, and itchiness. Therefore, it’s no surprise that your dogs will see chewing and scratching as the only solution to this problem. While it will provide relief, you can’t chew an infection away.
But, because our doggies don’t understand that, we have to stop them from making a bad situation worse. If your dog has allergic dermatitis, neurodermatitis, dermatitis, or stud tail, chewing the bottom will worsen the condition. That can lead to severe infections and even sepsis.
How to Stop a Dog from Biting Its Tail Due to Skin Issues
Again, the solution is quite simple — seek professional advice. Your vet will quickly determine the cause of the infection and treat it with medication. However, because the drug isn’t magical, it will take some time before it kicks in. While you wait, you must do everything possible to stop your dog from chewing its tail (and other affected spots).
To do that, you can try some behavioral tricks we’ll discuss later in the text. However, if the situation is complex and your dog has been chewing its tail for quite some time, you may have to get it a cone to stop it from messing with the healing process.
A hot spot is a spot on your dog’s skin that has been scratching and chewing for a while. Some of our furry friends are so persistent with the naughty behavior that they create open wounds on the skin.
You won’t have any trouble noticing a hot spot. Namely, after they chew at it for a while, the affected area will have either matted hair or no hair, and the skin will be irritated, red, and scabbed. There will probably be a lot of blood and puss with severe hot spots.
How to Stop a Dog from Biting Its Tail Due to Hot Spots
Before we dive into why our dog chose that particular spot to gnaw on, we have to treat the wound. Your best bet is to go to a vet. Yes, a visit to a professional is always a good option. However, you can also treat the wound yourself.
Clean it, put antibiotic cream on it, and make sure your doggie doesn’t lick it off. If your dog is a stubborn beast, you might have to employ the old cone to stop it from tearing into the wound again.
We must know when we have to ask for additional help. If you live in humid conditions, an open wound like that is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. If you missed a hot spot in time, you probably have quite an infected wound on your hands. In that case, the best action is to go to the vet. They will give you the necessary medications and treat the damage probably better than you could.
Of course, after the wound is treated, try to figure out why your dog chewed on its tail in the first place. That will help you curb that behavior and stop hot spots from happening in the future.
An imbalance of the thyroid hormones might be the culprit for dogs chewing their tails. Hypo or hyperthyroidism can lead to skin infections. If one develops on or near the rear, your dog will nibble at it to relieve the discomfort. Hormonal imbalance is one of the potential causes of hot spots that we mentioned earlier.
How to Stop a Dog from Biting Its Tail Due to Hormonal Imbalance
Doing complete blood work and additional hormonal tests will help your vet determine whether something’s wrong with your dog’s hormonal system. If there’s an imbalance, the vet will prescribe medication.
Various parasites, such as fleas and tapeworms, may cause your dog to bite its tail. Parasites cause severe itchiness and discomfort. If you don’t see any on your dog’s skin, don’t move on to the next chapter. Parasites are sneaky!
Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. That’s especially true if your dog has thick fur, with plenty of hiding spots that fleas and ticks will take advantage of.
Tapeworms can also cause itchiness and, thus, biting of the tail. They release their eggs through the dog’s digestive system. They are relatively easy to spot, as they resemble rice grains. Therefore, if you see something that looks like rice stuck to your dog’s derriere and it won’t stop obsessively biting at its tail, consider tapeworms as the main suspect.
Fleas and ticks are no strangers to dog owners, especially during warm seasons. Hence, most dog owners know that flea control is vital. Protect your dog from those pesky insects and save its tail from persistent chewing.
But pay attention to the reactions your dog might have to the parasites. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva. That means that their immune systems will have more significant reactions. If that happens, pay a quick visit to the vet to see what you should do.
In the case of tapeworms, the medicine of choice is usually praziquantel. It can be taken orally or via an injection. You must follow through with the treatment and give your dog the total prescribed dose. Just like with fleas, just because you can’t see them, that doesn’t mean they are entirely gone. A total medication dose will assure the destruction of the parasite.
Stress and Anxiety
Tail biting can be one of the repetitive behaviors your dog engages in due to stress, anxiety, or boredom.
Boredom and Attention Seeking
If you leave your dog alone for too long or aren’t stimulating it enough, it may turn to other means of entertainment, such as chasing its tail. And, once it catches said tail, chewing is just around the corner. That may lead to hot spots and other serious issues.
Another reason why your dog might be chewing its tail is attention-seeking. Imagine you’re left in a crate all day. Not only would you be bored out of your wits, but you’d also try to find any way to capture someone’s attention. That’s precisely what dogs do with tail biting.
If our dogs notice that we pay attention to them after they’ve nibbled on their tails for a while, it’s only natural that they employ this behavior in the future when they are lonely, anxious, or want to play. By constantly leaving them alone and then paying them the much-needed attention once they chew their tails, you are enforcing this behavior and encouraging it.
Separation Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior, and Excess Energy
Leaving your dog alone can have more significant consequences than just boredom. Your dog might get anxious because it’s alone or stressed because they think you’re never coming back. And because our pups might not know how to deal with these feelings, they might engage in an activity we are less than fond of, such as tail biting.
Obsessive-compulsive tendencies and excess energy — all fueled by separation anxiety, boredom, and loneliness — can also cause tail biting.
A Few Parting Words
Just like people, dogs differ pretty significantly in behavior. That’s why we must approach any issue on an individual level. If your dog is biting its tail, figure out the cause and try to find the solution that’s most appropriate for your dog.