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Is your dog constantly chasing his tail? You might be wondering what’s going on. And you may also be wondering if there’s a way to get him to stop!
Here’s everything you should know about your dog chasing his tail.
Why do dogs chase their tails?
One of the most adorable things you may have seen is your dog chasing his tail. Lots of owners love how cute their pups look when they spin around trying to finally catch their tails!
But tail chasing can be cause for concern in some cases. If your dog is chasing his tail a lot or even obsessively, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
While there are some situations where a dog chasing his tail is just your dog being funny, you should be aware of the reasons why your dog might do this:
The most common reason for why dogs chase their tails is boredom. If your dog is still a puppy, he’ll likely outgrow this behavior. If it continues into adulthood, it can also have other reasons, such as stress, anxiety, pain, discomfort or OCD.
Before we dive deeper into the real reasons why your dog is chasing his tail, here are a few related articles about weird dog behavior:
- Why Does My Dog Stare at Me While I Eat?
- Why Is My Dog So Attached to Her Toy?
- Why Does My Dog Bite My Sleeves?
One of the most common reasons why dogs perform unwanted or unhealthy behaviors is boredom.
Boredom can make dogs do a lot of things that they’re not supposed to do. Even things they know they’re not supposed to be doing!
That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your dog is getting enough stimulation every day. This will keep your dog’s behavior in check by preventing boredom.
If your dog does get bored, then he’ll try and find ways to entertain himself. One of the things he might try doing is chasing his tail! While it might seem cute, it’s actually a major signal that you’re not providing your dog with enough daily stimulation.
It might be time to plan for a bit more action in his day!
Another big reason why your dog might be doing thing like chasing his tail is because he’s got too much energy.
You need to make sure that you’re providing your dog with the physical exercise he needs every day. And some dogs need quite a lot of it! If you don’t, he’ll find other, probably less healthy ways to get rid of that energy!
Chasing his tail does give your dog an outlet for his excess energy. But it’s probably not the healthiest thing he could do with it.
This is a really common issue with high energy or hyperactive dogs. If you’ve got a hyper dog, then you’re going to want to take a look at these related articles:
- 9 Hyperactive Dog Symptoms and How to Help Your Dog Calm Down
- Why Is My Dog So Hyper at Night?
- Why Is My Puppy So Hyper? 4 Tips for a Calm Puppy
Stress or anxiety
Just like humans, when dogs get stressed or anxious, they’ll try and find ways to cope with those feelings.
Humans will do things like bite nails to try and alleviate these feelings.
Your dog might do something like chase his tail to try and deal with the stress of what he’s experiencing.
If your dog is feeling stressed or anxious, then he’ll likely show signs other than chasing his tail. Wondering if your dog is stressed out? Check out these 9 signs your dog is stressed.
If you find that your dog is stressed out or anxious, then it’s important to find ways to help him calm down. Here are my best 11 tips to calm a stressed dog naturally.
Itchiness or discomfort
If your dog is chasing his tail, it might be because something’s making him uncomfortable.
If something irritates your dog’s tail or rear, he might try chasing his tail to reach the discomfort and alleviate it.
There are lots of things that could cause discomfort in your dog. For example, he might have a skin infection or parasites around his tail or rear.
If you think your dog might have something going on in that area—especially if he’s also scooting—then it might be worth taking a trip to the vet to get him checked out.
Speaking of the vet: Have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!
When adult dogs chase their tails, it could signal that something is wrong. Your dog might just need to exercise, but he could also be feeling stressed, or his tail might be itchy or uncomfortable.
But if your puppy is chasing his tail, that’s usually nothing at all to worry about! This is a natural way for puppies to play.
At this age, they’re still learning about their bodies. Their tail might seem like a fun thing to chase, so they’ll spin around in circles trying to get to it!
Your dog will probably chase a lot of things when he’s a puppy to try and figure them out. As he gets older, he’ll stop doing this behavior.
Of course, if it continues, that’s a signal that something might be wrong.
One of the things that your dog craves the most is your attention! You’re part of his pack, and getting love and affection from you is important.
If your dog doesn’t feel like he’s getting your attention, then he might put some effort into gaining it.
Your dog might start chasing his tail to try and get you to pay more attention to him. This is especially true if you usually provide your dog with attention when he does this.
That’s true even when you’re trying to tell him “no.” When your dog wants attention, any kind is good.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Yep, you read that right. Dogs can have OCD too.
And while their symptoms will be different than humans, it is still a difficult mental illness to deal with.
Like with anxiety and stress, if your dog has OCD, he’ll likely show other symptoms as well.
Look out for excessive licking or chewing, pacing, staring, and even signs of aggression along with tail chasing.
You may also find that your dog tends to get more fixated on things like lights. Whatever your dog’s symptoms are, if you think he might have OCD, it’s a good idea to see your vet.
Your vet will be able to diagnose your dog and come up with a way to manage your dog’s symptoms.
How do I get my dog to stop chasing his tail?
For some dogs, especially when they’re super young puppies, chasing tails is completely normal behavior.
But if your dog is still chasing his tail a lot into adulthood, there could be something wrong with him.
Or, it could also just be really annoying behavior that just happens to drive you crazy.
Whatever the reason, don’t worry. There are ways that you can help your dog stop doing this. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Hold him still
This is especially helpful to try if your dog won’t stop chasing his tail because he’s overexcited or he’s stressed.
When dogs get stressed out, they tend to lose awareness of their bodies. There’s just too much going on around them, and it’s hard to think about what their bodies are doing!
One easy way to help your dog bring awareness back to himself is to hold your dog still. To do this, get your dog to sit down. Take the back of his collar gently in one hand and hold his chest with the other hand.
Hold him like this until he starts to calm down. It shouldn’t take longer than about a minute or two for him to settle.
Redirect his energy towards a toy
If your little guy has too much pent-up energy, then you can redirect that energy towards a toy. That’ll stop your dog from tail chasing.
When your dog starts chasing his tail as a way to tell you that he needs something to do, grab a toy and try to get him to play with that instead.
It’s important to prevent your dog’s energy from getting pent up like this in the first place. But there will definitely be some situations where it happens.
And your dog has to get all that energy out somehow! So make sure you’ve got some of his favorite toys around that you can use to distract him from his tail.
Ensure mental and physical stimulation
Like I said, preventing unhealthy behaviors like this is the best way to manage them.
One of the best ways to prevent any bad behavior, especially ones caused by boredom, is providing your dog with enough daily stimulation.
And that means both physical and mental stimulation. You can’t forget to work your dog’s brain a little bit too!
As you may have heard before, a tired dog is a happy dog.
There are lots of great ways to give your dog some physical exercise. Here are a few related articles:
If you need some ideas for working with your dog’s brain in particular, take a look at these 10 brains games for dogs to play at home.
Mental stimulation can also be a wonderful training tool if used correctly. Check out Braintrainingfordogs to learn how to train your dog to be the best dog he can be by using mental stimulation! Or have a look at Dogpackr’s review first to see if it’s a fit for you and your dog!
Visit your vet for a health check
If your dog’s tail chasing doesn’t seem to be caused by excess energy, boredom, or anything else you can handle at home, it’s a good idea to visit your vet.
Your vet will be able to take a good look at your dog and determine if the issue is caused by a medical problem.
They’ll look at your dog’s rear to check for anything that could be causing discomfort. They’ll also be able to diagnose your dog with OCD or anxiety if he has any mental health issues.
Dog chasing his tail FAQ
Now you know all the basics about dogs chasing their tails. Still, you may have a few questions.
Here are some of the answers you might be looking for.
Should I be concerned about my dog chasing his tail?
Many puppies will chase their tails while they’re growing up in order to figure out their bodies.
As your puppy grows into a dog, however, he should stop chasing his tail.
However, some dogs do retain this habit well into adulthood, and that might be all that there is to it.
But for other dogs, it’s a sign that something is wrong. Regardless of the reason why your dog is chasing his tail, it’s a good idea to consider if his needs are being met.
Are you giving him enough daily stimulation? Is he getting the attention he needs?
If he’s not, that could make him chase his tail. You might also want to consider the possibility that your dog has a health issue to take care of.
Are dogs that chase their tails dumb?
Dogs may chase their tails for a lot of reasons. If your dog is chasing his tail, you might be wondering if that means that your dog just isn’t that bright.
Your dog chasing his own tail probably looks pretty silly, after all. Doesn’t your dog know that he’s chasing himself?
There’s no need to worry about his intelligence just because your dog doesn’t stop chasing his tail. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is dumb. But it could mean that your dog needs some more stimulation during the day!
My dog chases her tail when in heat, is that normal?
If your female dog is in heat, you might notice some changes in her behavior. She might try chasing her tail as a way to reach her rear and relieve any discomfort.
You’ll probably also notice that she’s overly friendly with other dogs, or that she’s more nervous than usual.
It’s important to get your dog spayed if she hasn’t been already. If you have a male dog, then it’s good to get him neutered.
This is for the health and safety of your dog, as well as for other dogs in your neighborhood!
For more info on this, check out: What Is the Best Age to Neuter or Spay a Dog?
If your dog is chasing his tail, that might seem cute. But you should be aware that this could be a sign that something is wrong with your dog.
Make sure that your dog’s physical and mental needs are being met. If your dog still won’t stop chasing his tail, then it doesn’t hurt to call your vet. Even if nothing is wrong, it’s better to be safe than sorry!