Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? Paw-fect Facts On Tail Chasing Revealed | Kidadl


Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? Paw-fect Facts On Tail Chasing Revealed

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Dogs have earned an important position in human life with their loyalty, protectiveness, and affection.

A dog's tail can convey you since they use their tails for communicating. Dogs express their emotions like happiness, stress, aggression, and many others with their tail movements.

Dogs are loyal companions to humans and are the first animal domesticated for their affection. Their tail does so much more than just wag; it is an integral part of play and mobility and can tell you the dog's mood. Connected to the backbone or spine, a dog tail is made up of vertebrae. It has 5-20 vertebrae that are bigger at the base and smaller towards the tip. A fracture near the tail's tip will heal on its own, but it can involve nerve damage at the base and could result in a severe injury.

Did you know that some dogs don't even have tails? This is because they are either born without a tail, or their tail may be amputated for aesthetic or health reasons. For example, Croatian sheepdogs, and Brittany spaniels are dog breeds born without tails. If a dog doesn't have a tail, it simply means the dog will communicate in other ways. There is one interesting behavior that many dogs do, which is chasing their tails. Keep reading to find more facts about why your pet dog is chasing its tail.

If you enjoyed reading this article, then also check our other intriguing articles like why do dogs bark at other dogs? And why do dogs shake their heads?

Why do dogs chase and chew their tails?

Dogs are brilliant and playful. Dogs chasing their tails is their way of getting your attention and playing or telling you that something is wrong in their tail area. They can often start chasing their tails for a few reasons.

The first reason for tail chasing may be attention-seeking. Our canine companions are brilliant, and they would probably have noticed if you reinforce tail chasing as a positive behavior. So, they will probably do it again to capture your attention and to get a treat from you.

Another reason is being confined to the same four walls or spending a lot of time indoors and not getting enough physical exercise; then, dogs start to find new ways to amuse themselves out of boredom, like tail chasing.

If your pet dog chases its tail or even chews it, this could be a sign of other discomforts such as an itch or an underlying medical condition. You can check the tail for redness, dandruff, pests, or swelling as they often chew at an irritated or painful area. If you find any health issues, call your veterinarian immediately.

Do dogs recognize their tails?

Dogs are aware of their tail and use them as an effective communication tool to convey their emotions, but puppies do not realize the tail as part of their body and instead see it as a toy. A dog wagging its tail shows happiness and also indicates alertness and the desire to portray dominance.

It is a normal behavioral act for a dog to chase its tail, and it is also natural for them to explore and learn about their body. However, if the dog chews or damages its tail by biting, it can cause severe injury and concern. This kind of behavior is usually due to a range of reasons like from boredom to puppy teething and from curiosity to anxiety. They may also have skin allergies on their tail due to fleas or other parasites, so they chase to reach the itching area. Other underlying health problems like vestibular disease also cause your dog to walk in circles which may appear like they’re chasing their tail. Furthermore, your dog may develop a compulsive habit that is hard to control.

It is not easy to deal with the compulsive behavior in dogs but can be manageable over time. So, if needed, schedule an appointment with your vet to discuss this behavior.

How do you stop a dog from chasing its tail?

Black Puppy chasing its tail.

Being a dog owner, you would have probably seen your pet dog's endless tailspin. At first, it may seem cute and playful, but this dizzying cycle could be the result or lead to a more significant issue. If this behavior becomes repetitive and excessive, it may become a habit for your pet dog and cause injury to its tail, or become a compulsive behavior.

Just like humans manifest obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) such as obsessive cleaning, dogs can also develop canine-compulsive disorder (CCD) such as compulsive tail-chasing, tail-biting, and fur-licking.

These behavioral problems can develop due to physical abuse, separation anxiety, past injury, etc., and thus need to be addressed. Your veterinarian will be able to determine if behavior modification techniques will help in treating your pet's compulsive behaviors and if any required pet medication is necessary.

The best thing to stop them from chasing their tail is to ignore them and divert their attention to some fun training or playing that keeps your dog engaged, like making them fetch a ball, or going for a walk. Distracting your dog with focused training is another way to divert their attention. Your veterinarian can advise you on what to give your dog in regards to tick and flea medications, some skin supplements, and some may also recommend switching to a sensitive skin diet.

Although a dog chasing its tail is not bad and is quite normal. If you ever suspect that the tail chasing is due to a medical problem, as a responsible pet owner, you should give attention to their behavior and try to identify the root cause that triggers your dog to chase their tail. It may also help you and your veterinarian to come up with some management tactics. Your vet can also suggest if your pet is anxious and offer help with their health, mental or behavioral issues. 

Do dogs chase their chase because of boredom?

Dogs need both physical and mental exercise, just like humans. They chase their tail to escape boredom and for attention-seeking. When they feel bored, it is a way to expend some energy and have some fun. So, if you observe your dog doing a lot of tail-chasing, it could be a sign that it is getting bored, and you need to engage it by playing ball or taking them for a walk.

There are no studies to suggest that only certain dog breeds are prone to tail-chasing behavior. However, some dogs have a higher rate of OCD or compulsive behaviors.

As a responsible pet owner, keep an eye out for obsessive or abnormal behaviors to keep your pet healthy, happy, and safe.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do dogs chase their tails? Paw-fect facts on tail chasing revealed, then why not take a look at why do cats hate cucumbers? Are cats afraid? Or is it a cat fear? Or why do dogs’ feet smell like Fritos? Truth about your dog paws unmasked.

Written By
Deepthi Reddy

<p>With an MBA under her belt, Deepthi has discovered her true calling in content writing. Her writing repertoire is diverse, covering travel, movies, pet care, parenting, animals and birds, and more. Her joy of learning and creating has helped her craft well-written and engaging articles. When she isn't writing, Deepthi enjoys exploring new cultures, trying different foods, and spending quality time with her two children aged 7 and 12.</p>

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