Why Does My Dog Chase His Tail?

Man’s best companion can offer all kinds of laughter and fun just by being a pooch. One of the most entertaining things your dog does is chase its tail, but why exactly does it happen? The behavior, while humorous for the most part, it can be a signal for underlying issues.

Most people always assume that it does so because it wants to play and is bored. Surprisingly, there’re many other reasons why pooches chase their tails.

It is essential pooch owners learn the different causes since some may mean it is time to visit the vet. Some of the reasons behind the harmful behavior include:


Pooches commonly chase their tails when they feel bored. Just like humans, dogs need fun and exercise each day. If they do not get it, they try to amuse themselves by chasing their tails.

The behavior is specifically common in young dogs since they are active.

Exercising your dog regularly will help eliminate the behavior as it will spend its energy on something else.


As pooches are social creatures, they depend on affection and attention from their owners. If it’s getting a positive response by engaging in the act, it may start doing it whenever it wants attention.


For unknown reasons, dog breeds like German Shepherds tend to engage in the act more than other dog breeds. Other breeds, like the bull terrier, are usually prone to underlying disorders, which can cause them to develop the behavior.

In most cases, there is no remedy for the behavior. After all, you can’t change your pup’s genetics. But if it’s a disorder causing the issue, you can treat it.


Pooches can get tail infections, which can be very painful and itchy. The problem can subsequently result in the puppy trying to gnaw and bite on his tail. Some pooches are more vulnerable to bacterial infections than others.

Puppies with corkscrew tails are prone, especially if the tail digs into the dog’s skin or is tight. In such cases, the tail needs treatment and, in some, they cut it off. If your canine pal suddenly starts chasing his tail, maybe it has a bacterial infection.

Mental illness

Unfortunately, sometimes tail chasing can slip into being a compulsive, abnormal behavior. Compulsive behaviors are behaviors pooches have little or no control over.

Normally when it gets to this point, tail-chasing started for another reason. However, repetition makes it to disconnect from the initial reason. And so, it continues happening when the trigger is not there anymore. The cycle, vets refer to it as compulsive tail-chasing can be hard to break.

It can also come about for a number of reasons: separation anxiety, trauma, past injury, physical abuse, and confinement.

Compulsive behaviors typically become more distressing for pooches performing them overtime. It then results in more behavioral changes, such as an increase in aggressiveness. So, while the behavior is often seen as cute and funny on social media, it can be a serious issue.

Parasite infestation

Parasites such as flea and tick can cause your puppy to chase its tail to scratch or bite it. Visit the veterinarian for great treatment options in case you notice your canine companion frequently biting at its tail.

Old age

An older dog may chase its tails because of the reduced awareness of its body. When its mind isn’t as sharp as it once was, a dog might return to the repetitive acts of its youth. If you think old age is the cause of your dog’s chasing tail behavior, see your veterinarian.

Anal-gland issue

A dog may appear to be chasing its tail when it is attempting to reach and scratch its butt. In case you notice your pooch attempting to bite and scooting its butt on your carpet, visit your groomer\vet. A routine groomer or a vet will help express the anal glands.

Neurological issue

A neurological issue affects the caudal spine. It often causes a pooch to try to bite the tail in an attempt to ease the issue. See a vet whenever you see your canine pal suddenly biting or chasing its tail.

Discovering their bodies

A puppy might chase its tail as part of a phase. Like human kids are constantly discovering their different body parts, pups could be doing exactly the same thing. Eventually, your puppy will become familiar with its tail and stops chasing it.

Don’t laugh when your dog chases her tail, just attempt to redirect her with a toy. If you laugh, she will keep it up, and the behavior may get to be an actual fixation.

When to take your canine pal to a vet

If you think your pooch is chasing its tail for a potential mental or medical reason, visit an animal behaviorist. Seeing a professional can help break the cycle. An animal behaviorist or vet can prescribe medication if necessary.

They can also teach you behavioral medication techniques, which you can reinforce with your canine companion.

Additionally, try to pay attention to your puppy’s behavior to inform the professional what causes are behind it.

How to stop the behavior

Acting upon the behavior early is the best way to stop it. It means if it does it from a younger age, don’t encourage it and attempt to stop it.

  • Enhance its activity levels
  • Do not give the behavior attention, simply ignore it
  • Introduce interactive play toys to distract them

The final verdict

If your dog is continually chasing her tail, she can cause severe damage by chewing and biting on it. Many dogs have been known to encounter hair loss on their tails because of such harmful behavior.

What it boils down to is in case you notice your dog doing it excessively, see a vet. He may be fine. However, if he is not, an excellent way to diagnose the issue is with the help of a professional.

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