Dogs are renowned for their antics, and there’s no cliche quite like the one that goes “like a dog chasing its tail.”
If your pup is constantly spinning around and trying to catch its tail, this could be indicative of a more serious condition. It could even be indicative of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Have you ever observed a dog chase its tail and wondered why? Usually, they’re simply bored and trying to burn off some energy.
A dog that’s left alone can become destructive, chewing up items they shouldn’t, such as your shoes or furniture. To keep your pup happy and healthy, provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
Another sign of boredom in a dog is frequent licking and scratching.
While this behavior helps clean teeth and strengthen jaws, it could also indicate your pup is feeling overwhelmed in their current environment.
A dog that becomes obsessed with chasing its tail could have an OCD problem or medical condition, but it could also simply be a sign of boredom. If you notice your pup spending too much time focused on tail chasing, try distracting them by playing with them or feeding them something delicious to keep them entertained.
They’re seeking attention
When dogs chase their tails, it is usually to gain attention. They may have noticed something intriguing such as a squirrel darting across the yard or an exciting new toy they want to play with.
Though not always indicative of an underlying mental or physical disorder, tail chasing can be a warning sign of something more serious. If the behavior changes from occasional to obsessive, there could be cause for concern.
It’s possible that a dog may be suffering from an illness which causes them to itch and feel discomfort, and they may chase their tails to try and relieve the pain. For instance, if they have fleas and are itching excessively, they may chase their tail in order to bite it and stop the itching.
They’re trying to relieve anxiety
Dogs frequently chase their tails to relieve anxiety. This could be after an upsetting event or simply trying to distract themselves from a stressful situation.
Some dogs are genetically programmed to chase their tails, such as German shepherds and terriers; however, it’s also common in many other breeds.
Tail chasing can sometimes be indicative of an underlying medical issue, such as fleas or skin rashes. If your pup is exhibiting this behavior frequently, make an appointment with your vet to get to the bottom of it.
Once you identify the source of your dog’s anxiety, treatment can begin. Your veterinarian can suggest anti-anxiety medications and other measures to reduce stress levels in your pup.
They’re trying to relieve pain
Dogs have an instinctive need for hunting and eating, so tail chasing can be a way they stay mentally sharp and physically fit. On the other hand, it could also indicate that your pup has some medical condition like arthritis, flea bites or neurological issues.
Dr. Capitanio of the San Antonio-based Veterinary Spine Institute recommends speaking to your veterinarian about any potential neurological issues in your dog’s tail area. “Your pup may experience pain from an injury there,” so it’s wise to discuss management options with them,” he advises.
Another reason dogs chase their tails is to soothe a wound or other injury in that area. They may chew on it to relieve itching or discomfort, similar to how people rub an arthritic knee.