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Tail Biting in Dogs — What Are the Causes?

Closeup of a dog tail.

Since canine can’t speak, they can’t make their wants or wishes plain to us in any easy or intelligible means. It’s straightforward to get annoyed when our canine interact in behaviors which are repetitive, troubling or damaging. All of us take a point of delight, on the different hand, once we see a canine chasing her tail. When an occasional canine tail chase turns right into a behavior, although, and when that behavior ends in tail biting or tail chewing, it may well sign a variety of potential points.

What’s much more troubling is the sheer quantity of people that not solely ask, “Why does my dog keep biting her tail and whining?” but in addition finish that query with “for no reason?” Simply because we can’t instantly isolate the supply of the odd conduct doesn’t imply that it’s purposeless or with out basis. Obsessive or compulsive canine behaviors, like chasing and gnawing at the tail, all the time have a root trigger.

The most typical causes of tail biting and tail chewing in canine are:

Closeup of a dog tail.

What are the commonest causes for canine tail biting or tail chewing? Images ©ulkas | Thinkstock.

  1. Parasites: fleas, ticks, or worms
  2. Environmental and pores and skin allergic reactions
  3. Scorching spots and different secondary infections
  4. Stress, boredom, or confinement
  5. Damage
  6. Impacted anal glands

Let’s take a better take a look at every of those points under.

1. Parasitic infestations

Fleas and ticks are widespread sufficient seasonal afflictions for canine. We’ve all seen a canine scratch at a spot on his physique the place fleas are bouncing round or a tick has hooked up itself. With medicated collars, common baths, and prescriptions, these pests are pretty straightforward to deal with. In the similar means that people are allergic to the saliva of cats or canine, so too are some canine allergic, to not the presence of ticks and fleas, however to the saliva in their bites.

A canine with an undiagnosed flea allergy might chew repeatedly at the website of an allergic response till they break their very own pores and skin to seek out aid. Tapeworms can even trigger such bodily discomfort in the space surrounding the anus that a canine feels compelled to gnaw at the base of her tail. Finally, it’s the ache she’s inflicting herself by fixed chewing that leads her to whine as properly.

2. Allergic reactions

Irritation of the pores and skin, or dermatitis, brought on by fleas and ticks just isn’t the solely allergy that may lead a canine to chew at her tail. Environmental allergic reactions — something from pollen outdoors to family chemical compounds inside — may give rise to allergic reactions. Whether or not the supply of your canine’s allergy is mites, mould or contact with different animals, the reactions are most extreme in a canine’s early years, between three months and 6 years previous.

A human’s first intuition to a pores and skin allergy is to scratch at it, and it’s the similar for a canine. Apparently, making an attempt to deal with one allergy can result in the discovery of a unique one. In case your canine has delicate pores and skin, one thing so simple as the shampoos or soaps you employ to wash her also can spur an allergic response.

three. Scorching spots

A scorching spot is an space on a canine’s physique the place repeated scratching or chewing results in the creation of an open wound. Heat and moisture are the optimum circumstances for decent spots to type. Ought to a stray micro organism discover its option to the website earlier than it’s correctly handled, a secondary an infection is a typical end result. Acknowledge a scorching spot by the presence of blood, pus, and matted hair.

In case your pet or canine is biting at the base of her tail so steadily that she attracts blood, then secondary infections are usually not the root reason for her drawback, solely one other symptom. A veterinarian will help you identify whether or not the true purpose has to do with hygiene, vitamin, or one other issue.

four. Stress and nervousness

Stress, nervousness and tedium can lead canine into a number of damaging and repetitive behaviors: tearing up your favourite footwear, your most snug sofa pillows, and so forth. Out of necessity, some individuals crate their canine once they depart for the day. If canine spend an excessive amount of time confined, they could flip their attentions inward and search aid the place they will.

The identical applies to canine who don’t get adequate train, interactive play or psychological stimulation. Some individuals might imagine a canine turns to self-destructive actions like tail biting as methods to get consideration, and in these instances, who can blame them?

5. Damage

Any sort of rear or hindquarters damage — a damaged or fractured tail bone, as an example — is one thing a canine can’t inform his proprietor of, and should go unnoticed underneath regular circumstances. The depth of the canine’s ache might lead her to behave on or draw consideration to it by extreme chewing, biting, or licking at the affected space. Solely veterinary X-rays will be capable of correctly diagnose such a problem.

6. Impacted anal glands

A dog sitting and looking back.

Anal gland points might trigger canine tail biting. Images ©Fly_dragonfly | Thinkstock.

Lastly, one other widespread cause why a canine could also be biting at the base of her tail till it’s bleeding is an impacted anal gland. A canine’s anal glands are as necessary to a canine as our arms are to us, and, socially, they fill comparable wants. Simply as we shake arms once we meet people, canine anal glands secrete fascinating fluids that canine odor once they meet one another. That is one purpose why canine are so intent on sniffing at one another’s rear ends at any alternative.

One apparent signal that a canine is having an anal gland difficulty is scooting, when he sits up and drags his butt throughout the floor. Different signs embrace a fouler-than-normal odor originating from a canine’s behind, hassle defecating (you name it constipation), and, in extreme instances, blood or pus in the feces.

How have you ever been coping with your canine tail biting?

As you possibly can inform, canine who’re giving loads of consideration to chewing their tails — notably the base of the tail — could also be troubled with all kinds of issues. Actually, it’s fairly a wealthy tapestry of causes that may result in compulsive tail biting.

However, excellent news! Whether or not it’s training higher hygiene together with your canine, discovering whether or not they’re allergic to some factor or creature round the house, addressing small wounds earlier than they develop secondary infections or just ensuring they get out extra, all of those points are treatable.

Inform us: Have you ever ever had a pet or a canine who appeared to fixate on her tail space? Have been you or your veterinarian capable of isolate the key drawback and tackle it efficiently? Share your experiences with canine tail biting in the feedback!

This submit was initially revealed on Might 1, 2018. 

About the writer: Melvin Peña educated as a scholar and instructor of 18th-century British literature earlier than turning his analysis and writing expertise to puppies and kittens. He enjoys making artwork, climbing, and concert-going, in addition to dazzling crowds with operatic karaoke performances. He has a one-year-old feminine Bluetick Coonhound combine named Idris, and his on-line life is conveniently encapsulated right here.

Thumbnail: Images ©Mike Watson Pictures | Thinkstock. 

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