Tail-chasing is probably the weirdest, cutest, and funniest thing a dog or pup will do. But why do dogs chase their own tails? For most dogs, this behavior is the right of their puppy-hood. Yet, humans do not understand why this behavior is common in dogs.
Is tail-chasing a normal behavior in dogs? It’s a normal behavior in puppies, but when this continues to adulthood, it can signal a serious problem with the dog.
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As a dog owner, you should recognize what normal and abnormal behavior in your dog looks like. This will help you act fast when any of those behaviors come up.
But as it turns out, there are many reasons why your dog is chasing its tail.
Infographic – Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails:
1): Seeking Attention:
A dog can chase its tail if it wants to seek attention from the owner or people around. Dogs often thrive on getting undivided attention from their owners, whether positive or negative. When you reward your dog with laughter and interest, you will see it chase its tail.
Take note of how frequently your dog seeks your attention. If it seeks attention on a daily basis, a simple scolding will be better than not giving it anything. But in general, always give your dog some positive reinforcement. You should also just try to ignore any unwanted behavior.
Understand that attention-seeking behavior is both common and normal in puppies. In adulthood, pawning, excessive barking, and jumping are behavior that indicates over-dependence. This is abnormal behavior because the dog should have already matured out of it.
2): Parasites and Itching:
Ticks and fleas can cause itching in puppies and adult dogs. This can force your dog to chase its tail to try to scratch the areas it cannot reach. Parasites prefer the base of a puppy’s tail as their breeding ground. This area is ideal because puppies cannot scratch it effectively.
When you see a puppy chasing its tail, do not always consider this as normal behavior. Take your time to examine the area of the tail to determine whether ticks and fleas are breeding in that area.
In some cases, it is not just the ticks and fleas that are causing the itching in your dog. A dog can chase its tail because it is trying to relieve different forms of itching.
Allergies, irritated anal glands, worms, and eczema cause itching in a dog’s tail. These forms of itching can cause much discomfort in a dog forcing it to try to reach the affected area or chase its tail.
Take note of excessive itching and chewing in your dog as it can lead to severe injuries. If your dog scoots it’s behind along the ground, this is also another sign of itching because it is unable to scratch that area. Please click here for our best flea and tick products for dogs.
3): Physical Injury, Seizures, and Other Medical Conditions:
If your dog has an injury at the base of its tail, it will try to lick the injury. This will explain the reason why it is chasing its tail.
Cuts and scratches cause irritation and these can make your dog uncomfortable. Therefore, always check the tail for cuts or scratches whenever it chases its tail. There may be a minor abrasion or something serious at the tail such as a broken bone.
Check your dog frequently to figure out why it is uncomfortable. This will help you determine the source of the discomfort. Apart from injuries, tail-chasing in dogs could also be a sign of a seizure. If your dog starts exhibiting abrupt erratic movements repeatedly, the dog could have epilepsy
You should view any unexplained changes in behavior as urgent. As always, please visit your veterinarian for help and advice. dogs also chase their tail due to medical reasons. High cholesterol in a dog can block the proper flow of neurotransmitters that influence its behavior and mood.
High cholesterol symptoms in dogs include:
– Cloudy eyes
– Hair loss
– Excessive itching and
– Bloated abdomen
Always find out why your dog is engaging in obsessive behavior. This is important to prevent serious conditions from developing.
By their very nature, puppies like exploring. This behavior often sees them fall into holes and even get stuck in different places.
Puppies like exploring their immediate environment and their bodies too. When your puppy sees a shadow of its tail, it will try to go around thinking that they are playing with a toy.
This helps the puppy to learn more about the size and shape of its body. Furthermore, it gives the puppy the ability to differentiate a toy from its wagging tail.
Dogs tend to engage in all kinds of unusual and strange behavior whenever they are bored. A bored dog will do anything to entertain itself or even exercise. Your dog is likely to bark, dig, or pace when bored.
Such activities help the dog ward off boredom, and this can also include chasing its tail. Although such activities may not hurt your dog, they do not offer an effective solution for burning off any excess energy. Furthermore, there is always a high chance your dog could bump or run into something dangerous and injure itself.
As your puppy gets older, it is important to re-evaluate its exercise needs. Its requirements will change as it moves from puppy-hood to adulthood. This will include increasing the length of the dog walks where both owner and dog will benefit from the health benefits that having a dog will bring.
You can also buy your dog a new toy to keep it busy. This will help make the dog forget about its tail for a period and instead play with the toy.
Tail-chasing is not always a bad thing for your dog. This behavior becomes a problem if it continues for a long time. Do not ignore obsessive tail-chasing in your dog.
Always check the tail to ensure there are no ticks or fleas breeding on it, plus any cuts. If this raises concerns, always discuss these with your vet. Also, ensure your dog gets enough exercise to prevent it from getting bored.
We do hope that the information above has answered a common question from dog owners. Why do dogs chase their own tails?
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals or veterinarians on any matter relating to their dog’s health and well-being. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.