In this article we take a look at some of the most common reasons why dogs chase their tails and what you can do about it.
At first glance, a dog chasing their tail can be super cute. They always look like they are so happy and having fun. And most of the time this is the case and there is nothing to be concerned about.
However a dog who regularly chases their tail may be hinting that there’s a deeper problem, either behavioural or physical. And in some cases you might want to check with your vet to see if there are any issues that need treating.
Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?
#1. It’s a puppy thing.
Before we delve into the problems that may exist that lead to tail chasing, let’s talk about puppies. It doesn’t matter the breed all puppies are adorable. And if you have ever had a puppy you have probably seen them chase their tail at one time or another.
Tail chasing for puppies is normal because puppies are just discovering their bodies, including their tail.
For a puppy their tail is just like one of their toys – it moves so it must be chased!
#2. Is it a compulsive disorder?
Although not a common problem among dogs, tail chasing can be a sign of a compulsive disorder which some dogs suffer from. If your dog is feeling anxious or excited their first reaction might be to chase their tail.
It could just be a repetitive habit and so if you can identify what sets them off you can try and distract them when you think they are going to start chasing their tail.
It can take time and repetition but this type of distraction technique can work well with behaviours like this that you want to change.
#3. Does your pooch have fleas or a skin problem?
Dogs sometimes chase their tails when they have fleas or other skin problems. If you have ever noticed your dog biting down on their tail, as if they are trying to scratch at an itch, schedule an appointment with your vet to have it checked out.
Left untreated this would be very painful and uncomfortable for you dog and could lead to further complications.
#4. They are bored!
Does your dog have enough to do? Regardless of your dog’s age they still need plenty of mental and physical stimulation to keep them healthy and happy. Your dog may well be chasing their tail because they are bored.
Make sure they have plenty of attention and toys to keep them challenged.
You might enjoy reading: Games To Play With Your Dog At Home
#5. They are doing it for you
Dogs are very clever when it comes to getting our attention so if they think you interact and notice them more when they are chasing their tail they will do it every time they want your attention.
If you want them to stop it’s best to ignore them when they are chasing their tail and only praise them when they stop/aren’t doing it.
What should you do if your dog is chasing their tail?
Unless you think there is a medical condition attached to your dog chasing their tail it’s unlikely there is anything to worry about. However, if you are at all concerned in any way then also have a chat with your vet. They will be able to assess your dog and see if any treatment is required.
We’d love to know if your dog likes to chase their tail. Let us know in the comments below.