Dog Tail Biting: How to Stop It

So, you’ve recently noticed that your dog has been biting at his tail nonstop. He’s never had this behavior before and now you want to know what’s causing it and how to stop it. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Tail biting could be caused by a few different things, and there are ways to stop it.

Dog tail biting

Common Causes of Dog Tail Biting

The key to stopping your dog from biting his tail is to figure out what’s causing it. Once you have the cause, treatment will be easy enough.

Parasitic Infections

The first reason, and one of the most common explanations for the behavior, is that your dog could have a parasitic infection.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks cause an itching sensation that your dog cannot resist. These parasites need blood to survive and often find that dogs are an excellent host. Ticks carry dangerous diseases like Lyme disease and they’re hard to spot until they become huge from filling up with blood. It’s important to know that ticks are more active in the summer months and after a rainfall.

They’re also most prevalent in wooded areas, although your dog could get them from just being in your perfectly manicured lawn. So, if you’ve taken your dog for a hike, make sure to perform a thorough check on him when you get home.

How to Remove Ticks from Your Dog

If you find a tick, you need to remove it safely. This means taking careful measures to get the head as well as the body. Sometimes, the body will pull off while the mouth remains latched and this can still cause disease and infections.

While using a pair of fine-point tweezers, spread your dog’s fur and grip as close to the skin as possible. Then pull straight up and be slow and steady. This will remove the entire tick from your dog.

Finish by wiping the spot with a bit of rubbing alcohol and you’re good to go!

Mites

Fleas and mites are also blood-sucking parasites that can cause discomfort. Flea bites are especially painful, and the critters can get everywhere. If you suspect fleas, check your dog’s bed and use a flea comb to brush her. If you still can’t see them, try giving her a bath. If the water is a reddish-brown color, she’s probably got fleas.

Mites are similar and cause skin infections as well, one of the worst being mange. Mites are typically diagnosed by your vet taking a skin sample and studying it under a microscope. Make sure to wash any fabric surfaces your dog has laid on after confirming a flea or mite infestation.

Treating Parasites

There are several treatments for parasites, but it is more ideal to start a preventive regimen early on. Talk to your veterinarian about the best options for you and your pup. Some include flea and tick collars, shampoos, and sprays.

Each one is effective in keeping parasites away so that your dog can play outside to his heart’s content.

Allergies

The second most common reason for dog tail biting is allergies. These can be either food or environmental. Like us, dogs can be allergic to pretty much anything out there.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are less common than environmental.

Determining and Treating Food Allergies

When diagnosing a food allergy, the vet will usually use a diet trial. This is similar to your doctor asking you to isolate out certain foods to see if you’re allergic, like gluten. You need to make sure your dog follows the exact diet so that nothing messes with the results. No unapproved treats!

Once the culprit has been isolated, your vet can recommend a new food and diet.

Environmental Allergies

Examples of environmental allergies are pollen, mold, dust, and dander. The severity of these allergies is varied as well as the treatment for them.

Treatments for Environmental Allergies

Some dogs can get away with taking oral medication just during a few months while the allergy season is bad. Others need desensitization shots or steroid injections.

There are also some preventative measures you can take. Try wiping your dog’s feet and belly after he’s been out for a walk. If he’s been outside all day, a better option could be a bath with products that remove pollen and minimize the irritation. It’s easy to overdo it on the baths, though, so be cognizant. Overbathing can also cause dry, itchy skin.

Hot Spots

Another reason why your dog is biting his tail could be that he has a hot spot. This is an area where repeated biting and scratching causes an open wound to appear and, in turn, your dog will lick, bite, and scratch at it more.

If a hot spot develops, call your veterinarian to get a treatment plan together. These can easily get infect and cause an even worse situation.

Other Potential Reasons

There are some other reasons your pooch can’t stop biting at that tail. One could be anxiety or boredom. If your dog is upset, it can trigger a sort of obsessive need to scratch and bite at her skin. Some dogs can even do this when they’re bored.

Make sure he’s getting adequate exercise, has plenty of toys, and is given attention and love. Work on training him to chew on toys instead of his skin as well.

Consult a Veterinarian for Your Dog’s Tail Biting

As you can see, once you’ve discovered the source and reason for the dog tail biting, you can come up with a way to stop it fairly easily. Most dogs just want the pain to stop and their natural reaction is to bite and scratch at the area that’s in pain. If you’re having issues discovering the cause on your own, your vet will be able to help get your pooch straightened out.

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About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.

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About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.