Why do dogs chase their tail?

why do dogs chase their tails

Why do dogs chase their tails? This behavior in your dog can be funny but there can be other underlying causes for this behavior that you may want to know about.

The circular movement of your canine can incite laughter even among the most dangerous people. But this could not be a laughing matter since it might stem up to something serious.

We’ve compiled a list of reasons behind the dog behavior so that the dog owner could know when to visit the veterinarian. Let’s find out more.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Chase Their Tails?

Almost all dogs chase their tail at some stage of their life, and for the most part it is nothing to be concerned about.  However, understanding the reason for this particular behavior is important as there can be an underlying medical or mental issue causing them to do this.

If you find your dog chasing its tail more than what you would consider normal for its age and breed, read on to see if you can pinpoint the root of the problem.

Why Does My Dog Chase his Tail?

A dog tail is a very vital body part that helps to convey emotion, bring balance, and even spread their scent. Therefore, a dog chasing the tail could imply something important to note.

Here are some of the reasons why canines tend to chase their tails. They include:

1. Mental Disorders

Dogs are sometimes known to develop the compulsion of chasing their tail due to behavioral issues including physical abuse, separation anxiety, past trauma, and confinement.

If your canine friend has developed a compulsive disorder, we recommend you consult your vet since this could result in a lot of problems like hair loss or severe injuries on the tail.

According to Wikipedia, dogs can have similar mental disorders to humans, causing them to chase their tails.  OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as Autism Spectrum Disorder are the most common disorders associated with dogs chasing their tails.

2. Irritation

Parasitic infestation like fleas and ticks can trigger irritation on the tip of the tail, and this may force your dog to chase its tail for scratching.

Once the intensity of irritation increases, the dog increases the speed of chasing the tail. If you feel this may be the cause of his or her behavior, consult your vet on the best medication or shampoo to help get rid of the fleas or ticks.

3. Boredom

Dogs often chase their own tail out of boredom. Introducing toys to keep them busy is often the best way to relieve boredom in your pet and stop the dog chasing its tail.

The toys will enable them to run and exercise. Often, dogs will stop chasing their tails as they get older and lose the energy of a puppy. However, if the behavior persists well into adulthood, then it may be time to try dog obedience training.

4. Canine Nutritional Diet

The diet of your pooch can cause different symptoms since high cholesterol levels in the body can sometimes trigger behavioral changes like mood swings and chasing of their tails.

Ensure your canine friend gets a well-balanced diet and reduce the intake of foods that have high cholesterol levels. Check if there is a change in the behavior. Again, if in doubt check with your veterinarian to ensure they are receiving the proper diet they require.

5. Neurological Problems

The medical issue typically affects the caudal spine, which triggers the canine to chase the tail in an attempt to bite.

Biting or scratching helps to ease the problem, and this can be why you will notice your canine friend going crazy with its tail.

The issue can be complicated, and that is why we recommend you visit the vet for an examination. While this may not be as common a reason as some of the others, it can be a cause for concern.

6. Anal Gland

Feeding your canine with low fiber foods can result in an anal gland problem. The pooch will start chasing the tail to reach and scratch the booty.

If you notice your canine friend has developed the behavior of scooting and biting their butt, then consult your groomer or vet.

7. Growing Old

Not unlike humans, senior dogs sometimes have mental issues such as having a hard time remembering things. This can be one of the reasons why the behavior of chasing their tail is rampant among them.

Study shows that they tend to forget more about their body parts and suspect the tail to be something behind them.

But don’t believe the old saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks“. It is possible to train your older dog to stop this behavior by using tried and tested obedience training.

8. Seeking Attention

Canines love to see their parents petting and interacting with them. If you tend to ignore them, they may start chasing their tails in order to grab your attention.

The behavior is not necessarily bad, but if this is the reason for their tail chasing, the simple solution would be to pay more attention to them with simple activities such as petting them, taking them for a walk or simply talking to them when they are nearby. Dogs after all are social animals and if they are not receiving the socializing they desire, chasing their tails can be one form of acting out.

9. Epileptic Disorders

Do dogs suffer from epilepsy? Yes, but this is relatively rare. If you notice your canine friend whirl the tail and then have any form of convulsion, this could be a clear sign of epilepsy.

Consult your vet for confirmation immediately if you witness any behavior like this.

When You Should Contact Your Veterinarian

If your canine friend is obsessed with chasing their tail, then you may need to consult your vet since it could be an infection causing spinal abnormality or other medical problems.

If a trained professional diagnoses such an issue with your canine, it can be prescribed with some medication to ease the condition causing the behavioral change.

All-in-all, dog chasing the tail is considered a normal behavior that does not need any medication unless proven by an expert.

Final Remarks

So now you know some of the reasons why dogs chase their tails.

Typically, tail chasing is an indication of a dog’s fun and spunky behavior. Therefore, do not get worried when you notice your canine friend behaving so.

However, pay more attention to spot out the possible cause and seek intervention from a professional vet nearby.

Sometimes, tail chasing could be a symptom of something more serious that might require an animal expert intervention.

I hope the article has been insightful. If you have a furry friend that has the behavior of chasing their tail, feel free to share your stories in the comment section below.

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