Dog Chasing Its Tail


May 5, 2013 posted by Sara B. Hansen

By Karen A. Soukiasian

At one time or another, most puppies or dogs chase their tails. It’s something to do, and its fun. Many dog owners find it amusing. However, if it is not corrected early enough, it can become an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Tail chasing/biting is a behavior most often found in dogs that are

  • high in chase or prey drive
  • not exercised enough
  • lack mental stimulation
  • over stimulation
  • endlessly crated or kenneled
  • tethered

The behavior usual surfaces in when a dog is still a puppy. When corrected then, it is easier to resolve.

If ignored, it can and often does become a serious behavior disorder. Dogs so obsessed will literally chew themselves into a bloody mess and infections. Some secondary infections have been so serious that the dog’s tail had to be amputated!

This doesn’t mean you have to freak out if your dog happens to spin around and nibble on its tail. It could simply mean they have an itch, or feel something crawling around. What you need to be alert to is, if it is becoming something they do habitually.

Things you can do if your dog show signs of being a tail chaser/biter:

  • Have your veterinarian check for allergies.
  • Check and treat your dog for fleas.
  • Exercise your dog more often. Get them too tired to chase anything!
  • Stimulate your dog mentally…it keeps their mind off their tail!
  • Do not crate or kennel them unnecessarily.
  • Never tether them…dogs have strangled themselves chasing their tails.
  • If over stimulated, calm them down with obedience commands – it’s hard to chase your tail, if you are sitting on it!
  • Enroll in Puppy Kindergarten or obedience class – it keeps your puppy or dog both physically and mentally stimulated and socialized.

It has also been recently discovered dogs with higher cholesterol tend to chase and bite their tails more than dogs with normal or lower cholesterol. If all else fails, have your dog tested. A change of diet or medication could solve the problem.

Bottom line: The sooner you address this behavior problem, the happier you and your dog will be! Don’t put it off. Don’t wait until they become OCD.

Follow Karen A. Soukiasian on Facebook

This article is posted and shared with the permission of Sara Hansen of Dog’s Best Life