Why Do Dogs Bite Their Tails?

Why Do Dogs Bite Their Tails?

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When you see your dog is biting and nibbling at the region, you initially thought he was being goofy by chasing his tail. You try to stop him from chewing his tail, but he immediately resumes the behaviour. You might even check the tail, but nothing is there. You as a dog owner undoubtedly have several inquiries regarding this odd behaviour, chief among which is: Why is my dog chasing its tail? Is it for enjoyment, to burn off excess energy because they're bored, or both? You alone should read this article.


Dogs who bite their tails may be suffering from a variety of uncomfortable ailments, such as behavioural problems, allergies, external or internal parasites, and more. Dogs' tendency to chase their tails may also be brought on by simple playfulness, ageing, or medical issues.


Smart, my German Shepherd dog, is known for been an intelligent, agile and neat dog. Smart is not used to itching his body or even going as far as biting or chasing his tail basically because Smart takes his bathe every other day in a week that is, if he bathes on Monday the next bathe is Wednesday. With is regular antiseptic shampoo. This is the regular way of keeping Smart clean and free from germs. However, early this year I travelled for about a month and on my return, I notice how Smart was aggressively scratching his body with his paws, licking so many parts of his body and also biting his tail, I check to see his skin to only discover white flakes, I immediately knew Smart haven’t been bathed for the past one month. Instantly, I took him to the vet whom said Smart has a skin condition called mange. He was treated and proper measures were put in place.



There are several reasons why dogs might be biting and chewing at their tail such as:

  • Impacted glands
  • Allergies
  • External parasites
  • Internal parasites
  • Poor hygiene
  • Injured tailbone
  • Behaviour issues

Impacted Glands

On either side of your dog's rear are glands. Glandular fluids mark territory. In a normal poo, your dog presses on glands to leak sacs onto faeces. Unexpressed fluid might clog these glands. Soft faeces can cause impacted glands since they don't apply pressure. The dog's glands are painful. He bites his tail. Your dog's bottom may also move. These glands can become infected and abscessed.


Your dog may be biting at his tail because of allergies, which are making him extremely itchy. Fleas, certain foods, or environmental allergens can all contribute to allergies. Beef, dairy, maize, wheat, and soy are the top five food allergies. Mold/mildew, as well as tree, grass, and weed pollen, can all be environmental allergies.

External Parasites

Fleas, ticks and mites can cause great irritation and discomfort. Many dogs and cats are also allergic to the flea’s saliva, which causes the animal to experience severe itching.

Internal Parasites

Tapeworms and roundworms can cause your dog’s behind to be irritated. Tapeworms can be transmitted by a flea bite or by the dog ingesting a flea, which is carrying tapeworm eggs. Roundworms are more common in puppies, and can be transmitted to humans by contact with contaminated stool.

Poor Hygiene

Your dog's rear region could be itchy as a result of poor cleanliness. Faecal matter can become matted in the hair near the behind of your dog. The skin of the dog may become infected and inflamed as a result. The faecal mats can make your dog sick with maggots and attract flies.

Injured Tail

The tail of a dog may sustain fractures, dislocations, abrasions, or lacerations. Injury risk is higher in dogs with long tails. Pain might be severe if your tail is hurt.

Behaviour Issues

There could be a behavioural reason why your dog is biting at his tail. In times of stress or anxiety, dogs may bite, gnaw, or lick at their owners' skin. Fireworks, a household relocation, a new pet or human, or any of these things can be very stressful for a dog.


We've put together this guide to explain the most frequent causes of dogs chasing their tails and when consulting a veterinarian is a good idea.

  • Boredom

Bored dogs chase their tails. This may be because they spend much of the day alone or aren't mentally or physically stimulated. They can briefly occupy themselves by chasing their tails, which helps them release energy. Boredom-related pursuing is easy to quit. Increase their daily activity by walking more and playing physical and mental games. Dogs can't resist a game of fetch, so brain challenges keep their minds occupied.

  • Puppy playfulness

Like human children, puppies explore with their lips. Puppyhood may explain why dogs pursue their tails. They discover their anatomy as they grow. Puppies are energetic and may regard their tail as a toy to chase, but they'll likely outgrow this. 

  • Fleas and ticks

Fleas or ticks may make dogs chase their tails. Infestations can make their tail irritating, so they may chase it to bite it and relieve the irritation. If you suspect fleas and ticks, check their skin for evidence - you may find minute, dark brown to black specks (flea faeces) and in some cases, bald patches from excessive licking or scratching. Our guide explains how to identify and remove dog fleas.

  • Attention seeking

Tail chasing may be attention-seeking. Most dogs will chase their tails if they don't get enough attention from you. To your dog, all press is good press, so they'll perceive being reprimanded as a success. It's crucial to spend time with your dog every day; they're gregarious and need attention.

  • Medical conditions

A hidden medical problem, like as seizures, pain, an infection, or even cancer, may be the cause of your dog's apparent obsession with chasing its tail. Always contact your veterinarian, who will be able to inspect your dog and determine the cause of the issue, if your dog frequently chases its tail. It is advisable to rule out any medical difficulties first.

  • Anxiety

Anxiety might manifest itself as tail chasing. Dogs may find comfort in repetitive behaviours like this, and if it works as a stress reliever once, they may start to do it every time they feel anxious.

Concluding words

It has been mentioned that there are a variety of causes for dogs to bite or chase their tails; therefore, it is crucial for a dog owner to determine the cause with the assistance of the veterinarian so that appropriate precautions may be taken to reduce the hazards.

Dr Marvelous Ibiniyi, DVM

A pet enthusiast and young veterinarian in the making, who loves writing and giving educative information about pets especially dogs and cats. Dr Marvelous has a German Shepherd dog named Smart and likewise a Persian cat named Rolex.

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