My Dog Keeps Biting His Bum And Tail - Causes

By Irene Juste, Assistant Veterinary Technician. Updated: June 12, 2019
My Dog Keeps Biting His Bum And Tail - Causes

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Dogs express their emotions, moods and thoughts through bodily expression. In fact, when communicating with humans and other dogs, canine body language is key when it comes to understanding. However, like dogs use their tails to express joy, they also use certain parts of their bodies to express discomfort and/or pain.

Have you noticed that your dog is chewing its tail more than normal? Or, even worse, is your dog chewing himself raw? This chewing could be a sign of mites, fleas, dermatitis and/or psychological problems in your dog and should therefore, not be ignored!

For more about what causes tail biting in dogs and how to stop it, keep reading here at AnimalWised.

My dog keeps biting his bum and tail

Have you noticed your dog chewing underside of tail or your puppy biting tail and paws? As we’ve already mentioned, if your dog is suddenly chewing its tail raw and/or showing signs of compulsive behavior, this cannot be ignored! The most common causes of tail biting in dogs include:

    • External parasites in dogs: It is possible that your dog has fleas or ticks nesting in its tail area. A dog will then bite this area excessively to get rid of the itch that these parasites can cause, trying to get rid of them entirely. If you analyze your dog’s tail correctly, you may also be able to see these little black visible fleas. Make sure to deworm your dog both externally and internally to get rid of these parasites and to avoid the appearance of additional skin problems. For more, we recommend taking a look at our article where we discuss everything you need to know about external parasites on dogs.
    • Wounds in dogs: Does your dog love to explore the outside world? If so, the reason why your dog may be biting its tail raw is due to a skin wound. We recommend checking your dog’s skin after walks to make sure that there are no present injuries. If your dog is suffering from an injury, biting must be avoided in order to prevent further infection. To help you stop your dog from biting its tail, we suggest taking a look at our article where we discuss how to stop your dog from scratching a wound.
    • Anal gland problems in dogs: When a dog’s anal glands are not emptying correctly, it can result in various anal gland problems, such as inflammation, cysts and other more serious diseases. Anal glad problems in dogs can cause great discomfort and pain to a dog, specifically in the bum area and base of the tail. If you are wondering, ‘‘Why my dog keeps biting his bum and tail?’’ Anal gland problems could be a possible cause. Dogs will scratch and bite this area to relieve themselves of discomfort and pain. If you believe that your dog is suffering from anal gland problems, we recommend consulting a veterinarian as soon as possible to treat the diagnosis accordingly. For more, read ‘‘Why does my dog drag his bum on the ground?’’
    • Skin problems: Dogs will bite their tails and other parts of the body when suffering from skin diseases such as fungus, scabies or allergies. In this case, you can check the tail area for any visible red bumps, dry skin or swelling. Consult a veterinarian if you notice the presence of abnormalities or if your dog biting doesn’t remit. For more detail, we recommend reading our article about skin diseases in dogs.
    • Herniated discs and other canine spinal problems: Dog spinal problems such as osteoarthritis and herniated discs will cause pain in the area, which a dog may try to get rid of through biting. If, for example, the problem is developing at the base of tail or in the lumbar area, you may notice that your dog both scratches, licks and or bites this area a lot more than normal. Additional signs of spinal problems include pain, stiffness, difficulty walking and shivering. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms as well as dog chewing underside of tail, we recommend consulting a veterinarian as soon as possible.

            These above mentioned causes include the most common physical health problems which may explain why a dog chewing tail raw. We also recommend that, in the case of any obvious physical and/or psychological changes in your dog, that you consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

            My Dog Keeps Biting His Bum And Tail - Causes - My dog keeps biting his bum and tail

            Dog is biting tail: a game

            Sometimes dogs chase their tails as a game, because they find it fun! But how can one distinguish dog tail biting as playing from compulsive behavior? If your pup is biting its tail so much that your dog is chewing it’s hair off tail, it’s not a game. In addition, if there are any other additional symptoms which accompany this tail biting, like those mentioned above, it is not a game.

            Is your dog bored? Boredom in dogs can lead to them trying to entertain themselves through games such as tail biting. If you notice that your dog is biting its tail out of boredom, take note! Boredom in dogs is one of the main causes of compulsive behavior in dogs. Don’t forget to offer your dog sufficient mental and physical stimulation. Want some ideas on how to properly entertain your dog at home? Take a look at this article where we list some great dog intelligence games at home.

            My Dog Keeps Biting His Bum And Tail - Causes - Dog is biting tail: a game

            Dog biting tail until it bleeds

            Lastly, and most importantly, one needs to distinguish whether behavioral or psychological health problems are the root cause of this tail biting. What may starts as a "simple game" can soon evolve into a serious problem which can be difficult to correct if not treated in time.

            If your dog is biting its tail until it bleeds or wounds itself, it could be caused by the following psychological problems:

            • Lack of socialization
            • Boredom
            • Confinement
            • Abandonment
            • Fear
            • Stress and or anxiety

            It’s typical for a dog that doesn’t receive enough care, love or attention to bite itself as a way of channeling stress, to distract itself and/or gain attention.

            This type of repetitive behavior is often used as an escape route for canines and is referred to as ‘stereotypy in dogs.’ Stereotypy in dogs is more commonly seen in shelter dogs or animals that have been locked up or confined. However, a dog that does not receive enough daily walks or mental stimulation can also easily suffer from stereotypy. If you believe that your dog is biting its tail as a form of energy relief, we recommend:

            • Socializing it correctly
            • Offering your dog a routine to follow
            • Increasing your dog’s exercise time
            • Offering your dog more attention

            If, however, your dog tail biting doesn’t remit and the cause is not physical, we recommend consulting a canine ethologist or behavioral specialist.

            My Dog Keeps Biting His Bum And Tail - Causes - Dog biting tail until it bleeds

            How to stop a dog from biting its tail

            Stopping a dog from biting its tail will depend largely on why your dog is biting its tail. In the case of any physical wounds, external parasites and/or herniated discs, we recommend consulting a veterinarian to treat the cause accordingly. And as already mentioned, when it comes to psychological problems, in addition to offering your dog a better quality of life with proper socialization, diet and exercise, you should consult a canine ethologist.

            If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Keeps Biting His Bum And Tail - Causes, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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